Not that I need to convince you, but here are 5 reasons to love NYC. We’ve got the hustle, the theater, the live shows, pop-up art and, of course, the food!


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Whether you’re a Native New Yorker or if you’re just passing through, there are so many reasons to love NYC. The options here are endless and you’ll never run out of experiences. It seems overwhelming at first, but then it gets addicting. You keep coming back for more and eventually, everything you hate about this city – the rats, the crowd, the overpriced everything – doesn’t even phase you anymore.

The Hustle

As a child of immigrant parents, the hustle is all I know. We all endure the daily grind for one reason or another. For me, it’s to ensure that their sacrifices and struggles were worth it. New York City is one of the few places that forces me to unearth my fullest potential. It’s harsh. It’s cut throat. It’s unyielding. But as they say, diamonds are made under pressure. Those of us who are here – whether we’re born here or moved here – we’re here to shine in our own way.

A huge pet peeve of mine are people who claim to be “New Yorkers” after living here for a few years. No. You’re not. Just no. This is one of my favorite descriptions of a real New Yorker.

Real New Yorkers are the people who come from somewhere else. It’s these people who have the ambition to elbow their way into New York City life and, in the process, juice it up with their energy and native culture. ‘Native’ New Yorkers, like me, are just fortunate to be born in the right place.” – Bob Castro, 79, East Village (NY Times New York Today: Who’s A New Yorker, According to New Yorkers)

Thank you, Bob.

The Theater

Opera. Broadway. Off Broadway. Off Off Broadway. Public park. Doesn’t matter. Theater is theater. Nowadays, I much rather splurge on tickets for the theater than $30 at the movies. TodayTix is my favorite app to hunt for discounted theater tickets and some of them cost as much as the movies. TKTS booths are also an option, but like a true New Yorker I don’t have patience to stand in line.

Live Shows

I love anything live. Live theater. Live comedy. Live music. I appreciate the rawness of the art. Anyone who braves the stage knowing a crowd full of people will be judging them has my respect. Plus, comedy is a great way to deal with the pain of living in NYC. (That’s another post.) Sometimes when the city really wears you out, there’s nothing else to do but laugh.

With all the talent hidden in the city, open mics are a great way for everyone to get a chance to shine. As with laughter, music is good for the soul. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to splurge on a concert, open mics are a great way to get your fill of live music and often times for free.

Pop Up Art

It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re grinding every day. However, the city occasionally surprises me with pop up art – something out of the ordinary that makes me pause, be present and say “oh, gotta Instagram that!”.

Most New Yorkers are too focused on what’s next – the next move, the next promotion, the next big purchase, the next set of bills. Sometimes, I just need nights and lights like these to remind me that the city still wows me even after living here all my life.

The Food

Duh. There’s no getting around this. I don’t even know where to begin so I’m not even going to start. Just do as Big Daddy says. Eat. Whether it’s a Michelin star restaurant or a hole in the wall, delicious food is available at every price range. It’s one of the top reasons why I love NYC!

All the things I mentioned above are not exclusive to NYC. There are plenty of other cities that have the hustle, the theater, the nightlife and the food. New York just takes it to a whole new level. Not everyone makes it here. Not everyone enjoys living here. But everyone wants to experience what it’s like to be here. It’s a place filled with options and opportunities. So come experience this city with me, a Native New Yorker, and check back often for updates on my NYC Like A Local series. Hope I can make you love NYC the way I do.

NYC Like A Local is a weekly series that helps you experience NYC like a local by featuring local spots to add to your travel itinerary for more authentic New York moments.

Monica reflects on her travels by sharing her thoughts on A Cup of Moca. She writes about her journey as she experiences the destination to encourage others to marinate in the moment instead of just checking things off a bucket list.