Crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge or exiting the Holland Tunnel leads to something extraordinary. Looking around, you see skyscrapers that look like they go on for miles, the hustle and bustle of the average New Yorker, and the confusion and awe of a tourist. There is something so magical and appealing about the Big Apple that catches the eye of many, drawing them to the city. Shows such as Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City and 30 Rock all highlight life in the Big Apple. Central Perk was the hang out everyone wished was accessible to them, audiences empathized with Ted as he found love in the big city and girls today fantasize about finding their own Chuck Bass and living on the Upper East Side. These fictional shows depict a picture of what living in Manhattan is like, but what is it really like? To find out I went to Ms. Faust, an Upper West Side resident and New York Experience Trip coordinator.
Ms. Faust first moved to Manhattan in May of 2006 for graduate school at Columbia University. Since her return in August of 2012 for her position at SIA, she has resided in a townhouse apartment with 2 roommates on the Upper West Side, walking distance to Central Park. Having gone to the Upper West Side and Central Park with Ms. Faust on two occasions (NYC Trip and AP English trip), I can honestly say that the area is beautiful. Ms. Faust says that the Upper West Side is her favorite place to live in the city, as opposed to were she lived when she first moved back, the Financial District. Many must be wondering how her commute is in the morning, but she insists it’s not that bad either way.
Having grown up in a house my entire life, I always wondered what apartment living must be like. When I asked Ms. Faust how she has adjusted to living in an apartment, she said “After a while you really get used to living in an apartment.” As a follow up question I asked about closet space and she added that it’s just another thing you get used to, however if she could expand her apartment, she’d expand her kitchen. She enjoys cooking and baking and wishes her kitchen were just a bit larger. On the topic of food, I had to ask her about her favorite restaurants and were she goes to eat, to which she replied “There are so many good restaurants in Manhattan, that you rarely wind up going to the same place twice.” Diverging from the topic of food, she talked about living with roommates. Unlike Friends, neither of her roommates are former high school friends of hers who ran out on their wedding day, but nonetheless they are like sisters to Ms. Faust.
Aside from her apartment Ms. Faust also talked about things she likes to do in the City and tips for anyone who plans on living in the city. When describing her average weekend she said: “Normally, I’ll run errands in the neighborhood, and then I may go to a museum or to an art installation or a special event.” Her favorite museum is the Met, and she enjoys the fact that it’s just across the park from her apartment. Back in December, Ms. Faust said there was a snowboarding contest in Central Park, and anyone who’s in her class probably has heard about the snowman she and her roommates built after the “blizzard.” For anyone who is looking for a place to shop, Ms. Faust recommends the boutiques in the West Village. The one neighborhood Ms. Faust avoids is Spanish Harlem, mainly for safety concerns. She also jokingly said how she’s never in the Lower East Side because it’s hard to get to from the Upper West Side and it’s full of young, crazy students. If there was a negative about living in the city, Ms. Faust says it’s the smell.
So why places such as McClaren’s Pub and Central Perk may not exist, there are still plenty of fun things to do. While Monica and Rachel’s apartment is much more money than the show led on, they were accurate when they depicted the dynamic of roommates. Overall, the portrayal of life in New York City that is depicted on TV shows truly is great.
By Andrew B. ’16