I know its been forever, and I have tons to talk about...and will have more once I get back from France/Spain on the 3rd.
Anyway, I met up w/my cousin last night who's starting her freshman year at FIT. She's not a city girl, and she's really nice and I assume overwhelmed. I created a list of rules for her to follow in NY. I think they apply to most people:
1) Always carry at least $20 cash on you. Sometimes you need to go home w/o a subway, sometimes the bodega's take only cash, and sometimes your friend is puking in a club and you've got to take her home. You just need it.
2) Support your local bodega. On almost every corner there are little stores w/food, appliances, flowers, drinks, beer, and umbrellas. While shopping at a supermarket may be cheaper, you'll just be driving the bodega's out of business. And someday you'll need them, many days actually.
3) Don't freak out if you don't have an umbrella. Umbrellas are $5 and are everywhere. They will break easily, but they are easily dispensable.
4) Make the closest bank to your apartment your bank, or find one that reimburses ATM fees. Those fees add up, and you can save 100 a year just by avoiding them. Do it.
5) The good restaurants are on the cross streets, not the avenues.
6) Don't eat at chain restaurants. That's what you can do when you go home to the suburbs. The only exception is if your friend is having a birthday party there.
7) Keep your common areas clean. The biggest problems between roommates are frustrations over common areas. Your roommate will forgive you for not inviting you out, stealing her boyfriend, but not for leaving your socks everywhere.
8) Always have $ on your metrocard and fill that card upon EXIT. I don't want to miss a train b/c you don't have cash on your card, but I don't mind waiting on the way out as you fill.
9) Most busses go up and across, they're pretty easy.
10) If it makes you uncomfortable, don't do it. Feel free to use rule #1 to get you home safely.
11) 46th street is restaurant row.
12) The best dessert places are Lalo, Serendipity, and Max Brenner. Seek them out.