3 Truths and 3 Lies About Studying in New York City

This post comes from friend-of-the-blog Jose Navarro, who studies at Berkeley College in New York and writes the very good Berkeley College Life blog.  He has been home in Spain for the summer, and shares some of the most common questions people back home have asked him about New York.

Empire State Building

These two months that I have been around here, I have met with a lot of people. It’s funny how many people ask the same questions about New York. This city has so many stereotypes! I’m going to make a [list] with the “Frequently Asked Questions” about the big apple. Some of them make me laugh a lot, some others are actually true! Let’s see what many Spaniards wonder about the city:

Are there celebrities in the street?
I must say that’s the one I get asked the most. Why are people so concerned about celebrities? Well, the answer to this one is YES. I was actually surprised of how ridiculously easy it is to find celebs around the city. To be honest with you, most of the times I recognize them because some of my friends do. At first I never know who they are!

A Muppet Christmas movie filming on a stoop in New York (Creative Commons photo by Flickr user ego technique)
A Muppet Christmas movie filming on a stoop in New York (Creative Commons photo by Flickr user ego technique)

Do they film in the streets?
That one is also a classic, and also related to the previous one. There are so many movies and TV shows that take place in New York, that it’s almost impossible not to see a shooting around the streets! So, I guess this one is also true!

Do they eat eggs for breakfast?
The meal schedule we have in Spain is completely different to the American one. In fact, our breakfast is usually a cup of coffee and maybe a couple of cookies. That’s why Spaniards are so surprised when they see the real American breakfast on TV shows or movies. They’re also shocked that some of them even have fried eggs (which is something left for lunch or dinner in our culture). However, I must say not all the New Yorkers do that… in fact, I haven’t met any. I usually see people running around the streets in the morning with a huge cup of coffee and a bagel, I would say that’s the classic NYC breakfast! Nevertheless, I must confess I do have eggs for breakfast! I tried it once just to feel a bit more American, and haven’t stopped since then!

Batman in Gotham City

Is it true that the city doesn’t sleep?
Well, don’t expect to find it as busy at 4am as it is at 4pm. However, it is true that there are plenty of 24h businesses like supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. Plus, the subways is opened 24/7 too (even though it slows down in frequency at late nights).

Is it a dangerous city?
Many people think New York is a dangerous place, packed up with criminals. However, I must say this is not true. I never had a problem at any time of the day. I would say you just need common sense and you’re fine. It maybe depends on the neighborhood as well. Most of the time I’m around Manhattan, so I can talk about this one. I guess this image of a dangerous city comes from the movies or old times, but trust me, Manhattan is a safe place!

Are New Yorkers rude?
I get this one a lot too, and I don’t understand why! Yes, they might be very busy people and almost everyone in the city is always in a rush. However, New Yorkers are actually friendly people! Of course, you might find all kinds of people (it’s a huge city with a huge variety!), but generally I would say people there are really nice, open minded and not rude.

Thanks to Jose for letting us re-post this blog.  The original is here. What places in America have lived up to their stereotypes for you, and which have surprised you? Share your stories in the comments or using the form below.

VOA StudentU