Fake It Until You Make It – The New York Way

New York is the kind of place where people say “I’m an actor,” “I’m a model,” or “I’m an artist” like it’s no big deal. If I didn’t know any better, living in the City would make me feel like I’m failing at life. Thankfully for my self-esteem, those surreal introductions are often part of a typical New York game called “Fake It Until You Make It.”

It’s very rare to meet New Yorkers that only do one thing, which is why life in the Big Apple is never boring. Your waitress might be a Broadway singer, your cab driver a business owner or your bartender an art critic. If you met them at a party, they might not even mention the job that pays the bills and keeps them the busiest. Nope, New Yorkers let their dream define them instead.

As much as I admire a good hustlin’ spirit, I am the kind of person who says “I blog,” not “I am a blogger” and I get annoyed at girls claiming to be “in fashion” when they are really just “into” it. In a town where speaking things to their existence is a religion, I’m still unsure whether I despise the bullshitting ways of the”Fake It Until You Make It” mentality or if I simply envy its daring state of mind. Believing that the kind of energy you put out there has a direct influence on the course of your life is the quintessence of the American Dream. New Yorkers may be the best keepers of this philosophy as they apply it to their careers, relationships and life decisions on the daily.

In the City, the act of pursuing a dream makes it a reality, no matter what’s actually in your way. New Yorkers are eternal optimistic people: it’s just a matter of time until you get where you want to be, so you can either dwell on the long road to walk or skip that part and own your dream. Just think about the opportunities that would come along if you said you were who you want to be to random people! Beyond the hustlers themselves, the ones powerful enough to give your dream a shot actually play that game too for a very simple reason: they invented it.

So why not play it? It seems like a no-brainer: besides the few party poopers that think you wouldn’t be serving drinks if you were indeed the next Beyonce, “Fake It Until You Make It” allows you to multiply your chances of making the right connection. I guess my cynical and pessimist European upbringing always comes back to the surface when I’m about to say “I am a creative writer” to strangers at a cocktail party. Instead, I usually end up talking about my twisted relationship with corporate America. Not very glamorous, I know, but at least it’s honest. Or is it?

I guess it really depends on what honesty means. What’s more real and self-defining than the dreams we live to see come true? “Fake It Until You Make It” might just be New Yorkers’ way to achieve life’s greater purpose. After all, don’t we all want to become the person we truly are?


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5 Things You Should Know While Visiting New York

Any foreigner takes the same pledge the day they move to the City: thou shalt show a good time to every single friend visiting you. I am no exception to the rule. I’ve definitely been missing in action for the past couple of weeks, but I have the ultimate New York reason for it: first time visitors!

In ten days, I feel like I got a complete tourist experience with my guests: I went to a Brooklyn Nets game, Motown The Musical, Top of the Rock, a Gospel mass in Harlem, and ate out every single night. If I didn’t have to work during the day, I would have felt on vacation myself.

So while it’s still fresh, I thought I’d share some “Hustler in Heels” advice with those of you planning a trip to New York:

#1 You can’t see everything

Even if you are in New York for a good amount of time, there will always be something that you are going to miss and it’s okay…just make your peace with it. Sight-seeing is one thing, but walking around the City and making random discoveries is EVERYTHING: “Oh my God, this is where Big and Carrie went on a date in Episode 5 Season 4!” Of course, some touristic spots are really worth it – I would put the Brooklyn Bridge at the top of my list – but if you spend your whole trip chasing the next attraction, you will miss the “real” New York. So instead of waiting in line for two hours at the Empire State Building, why don’t you save your time and money and go to a rooftop bar like Jimmy’s? On top of a breathtaking view, you will sip delicious cocktails and won’t be surrounded by tourists. Just a thought…

#2 Travel guide books will only get you so far

Travel guides are definitely helpful, especially when you don’t have Wifi access while you are out and about. But remember that whatever Lonely Planet or Routard suggested – it was also recommended to thousands of others. If you stick to guide books, you should expect a line everywhere you go, and not just any line…a tourist line! The only constant thing about New York is change, and a guide that is published once a year can’t really convey that dynamic. By the time it gets in your hands, that so called must-go restaurant may have changed owner, chef, or scene. The web is your best friends when it comes to picking the perfect event, brunch place or plan a fun night out. Use the same websites that New Yorkers swear by: Yelp, Time Out, or the Gothamist…and you should be good.

#3 Fast food doesn’t always equal junk food

Just because McDonald’s or Burger Kings are American doesn’t mean that they are part of the New York experience. For one thing, McDonald’s is better in Europe, I don’t know how to explain it, but every single friend who tasted it in the US confirmed it was garbage. Most importantly, New York is the ultimate city for Foodies and there are so many ways to eat cheap and fast quality food if you are on a budget or on a schedule. Whether you have a crave for bagels, burgers, dumplings, or pizza…New York can feed it to you! For a fast yet delicious meal, try Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Mamoun’s falafels, Asia Dog, Shake Shack, or Naruto‘s authentic  ramen.

#4 Follow the New Yorkers

The presence of New Yorkers is a great indicator of the level of interest of a place. The amount of options in the City can be confusing for first time visitors, but the people of New York pretty much tested everything already, so following them can save you a lot of time and guarantee the fun. For example, The High Line might be a famous destination for tourists, but you will also find a lot of  locals in the summer time, enjoying a cold Newyorkina popsicle and catching some sun – unlike Times Square, that 99% of New Yorkers try to avoid. Don’t get me wrong, it is a must see destination despite the chaos that comes with it, but it’s not the most enjoyable area where you should hang out if you want to get a good feel of the City.

#5 Being alone in New York City is underrated

One of my theories about New York is that the best things happen when you are hanging out by yourself – or as I like to put it… WITH yourself. New Yorkers are easy to talk to and making friends with the person sitting next to you at the bar is not unusual. When you are traveling with a group, it can be difficult to experience that, so don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone! While your friends or family are on that 2 hour walking tour, why don’t you get lost in the City? Pretty much all Manhattan is safe for anyone and you can’t actually get lost because of the way streets intersect. From start up founders to Palestinian refugees, I met the most interesting people when I was wandering around New York, because being alone allows you to be open and connected to the environment around you. It’s up to you…

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