Summer and the BIG City: Tips on Navigating NYC

modalogoby Courtney Pelot, Summer Columnist and Madalyn Manzeck, Summer Columnist

Last summer, this dynamic duo spent their time crossing items off their bucket list as they spent a summer in Madison. This year, the pair is headed to the Big Apple for their summer internships. Each week, Courtney and Madalyn will bring you insight into their intern lives and what it’s like to go from living in Wisconsin to living in New York.


“The Big Apple.” “The City that Never Sleeps.” “The Concrete Jungle.” “The Urban Playground.” Whatever you may call it, New York City is a world of its own. Everything is fast paced and competitive; however, the rewards are much greater. It takes an elite few who can make it here. But if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. We dived head first into the New York lifestyle and learned a few helpful tips along the way in addition to getting some advice from New Yorkers themselves.

The Beginners:


Courtney Pelot
1. Buy groceries. I quickly found out that everything in New York City is more expensive, food especially. I spent the first couple days eating out the majority of my meals as I was settling in, which cost a pretty penny. Take the time to find a grocery store. For me, I located the closest Whole Foods. I stocked up on all of my go-to items so I could eat my meals and snacks at home or on the go. I’ve decided to reserve eating out for those special nights out with friends and trips to those cafes and bakeries that I’ve been dying to try since my favorite blogger or celebrity posted about them on Instagram.
2. Learn how to use the subway. It took me a few days to conquer this. Once a fellow intern showed me how to get my Metrocard and helped me out on my first ride, I felt so much more comfortable. I couldn’t get around without the app Hopstop, which shows exactly which subway lines you can take. This option is definitely cheaper and quicker than the cabs I took the first few days in the city.
3. Take advantage of the city. As of right now, these next two and half months are the longest I may ever be living in New York City. Therefore, I quickly realized that I need to take advantage of all the things I may only get one chance to do. So when I do eat out, I try something new that I can’t enjoy back home in Madison and Manitowoc. Last weekend I hopped at the chance to go to the Miss New York pageant and saw two Miss America’s.
4. Meet new people. Connect with your roommates, hang out with your friends from home and meet up with those you haven’t seen in a couple of years. Go listen to people speak and soak in information from panelists. Network and make connections—you never know what an interaction may lead to.
5. Don’t get all excited about Shake Shack. Honestly, if you’re from Wisconsin, Culver’s is way better. These New Yorkers all need to try a butter burger, crinkle cut fries and a concrete mixer. Even after a week of living in New York City, I’ve come to appreciate quite a few things about Wisconsin more than I had in the past.


Madalyn Manzeck
1. The city is loud. All day and all night. Obviously it depends on what neighborhood you live in, but for me, the honking is constant. What does honking even accomplish? Make sure to do your research and visit the area before you move there!
2. Learn to be aggressive. Whether it be walking on the sidewalk or fetching a cab or snagging that last spot on the crowded train, learning to be aggressive will help you not only get where you need to be but it also will help you look more like a New Yorker.
3. You’ll quickly grow to dislike tourists. For most of us, we have all been in the tourist’s shoes when we visit NYC and most of us can agree that New Yorkers are known for their grumpy demeanors; however, living and working here has given me a totally new perspective. It is not that New Yorkers hate tourists, but they are just trying to live their daily lives. Most of them would enjoy being able to walk home without getting caught behind a group of tourists that move slower than a snail.
4. Plan ahead. Going to buy groceries or basic items is not as easy as hopping in the car and driving to Target. Living in the city it is necessary to plan ahead where you need to go, what you need to buy, and how you are getting there. My mom and I made the mistake of buying more than we could carry at Kmart our first day and needless to say our arms got their workout for the day!
5. Treat yourself. Even though NYC is very expensive, it is important to treat yourself here and there. The city is known for its world-class shopping so why not take advantage of that? Whether it be Laduree macarons or a Henri Bendel charm bracelet (guilty of both!), make sure to treat yourself like Blair Waldorf every once in a while. You deserve it after all that hard work!


The Experts:

Zach Mueller: You are not that special. You may have been the coolest, most interesting person wherever you were before. But in NYC, you are just some kid who still thinks Steve Madden is cool and can’t fill a Metrocard. So staying humble will actually help you stand out. I am told constantly that Midwesterners do really well in the city and in my experience that holds true.

Zach Mueller just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in addition to the Fashion Institute of Technology. He has been living in NYC for about a year and recently accepted a position as an Assistant Designer with Paul Andrew.

GaBrielle Pedriani: Don’t think losing your enthusiasm and excitement for life makes you a “true New Yorker.” The true New Yorker does whatever they want. You did not move here to blend in.

GaBrielle Pedriani the founder and head blogger for Look, Sharp Sconnie, a fashion blog, she started in 2012. She has been living in New York City for about a year.

Amy Bohnenkamp: Living in New York is very competitive lifestyle. Every day you are battling with someone for the same thing. Anything from your living space, to a job, to finding a spot on the subway is a competition.

Amy Bohnenkamp just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in addition to the Fashion Institute of Technology. She interned with Marie Claire and Michael Kors this past year and recently accepted a position as Fabric Coordinator with Victoria’s Secret Pink. She has been living in New York City for about a year.


                                   Zach MuellerGabrielle PedrianiAmy Bohnenkamp


Graphic by: Leyan Xu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *