The New York City Trifecta

They say when you live in New York City, you’re constantly in search of one of three things: the dream apartment, perfect relationship and a successful career. If you manage to nab each of these, you’ve officially made it. If you don’t – well I’m not so sure what that means exactly. Maybe that you should just throw in the towel, start taking the bus and give up ordering a skinny at Starbucks. Until that time comes though, consider this your reference guide to ensure you actually make it in this city (and coming from someone who’s snagged 2 out of 3, I figure I’m just as entitled as any to post this).

The Dream Apartment
How you know you haven’t made it:

1) You get in a cab, tell the driver your address, and he replies “sweetie, you sure you wanna go all the way over there?” – like all good real estate, NYC apartments come down to three things: location, location, location. I won’t get into the east side-west side debate here, since we all have our preferences, but if your parents visited and got nervous walking around your new ‘hood, you’re still missing this key piece of the trifecta.

2) You live on the 5th floor. And there’s no elevator. So I live in an walk-up (I know, it’s not easy in the heels sometimes, as evidenced by my near death experience last week when my heel got caught on a step and I almost Jack-and-Jill’ed it down the stairs) but I live on the second floor. When I was looking for my new digs, I knew I wasn’t going to be living in an elevator building based on the neighborhood I wanted to call home. But I laughed at my realtor when she suggested anything higher than the 3rd floor. I knew I’d end up sleeping in the stairwell some nights or just never leaving because of sheer laziness. I don’t care if it’s the penthouse apartment, if your daily workout includes hiking up 5 floors, keep looking.

3) You have a fake wall and/ or your closet is in the hallway. Welcome to NYC, land of the converted apartment. I think everyone at one point or another will call their living room a bedroom. Consider it a right of passage. I did it. My bedroom was actually pretty big. But one of my walls wasn’t supposed to be there. And I was often standing in a towel picking out my clothes while my roommates were in the kitchen making breakfast. Because my closet was next to the kitchen. This is acceptable for a little while, but if you really want to complete the trifecta, you have to turn in your faux wall for something real. (Note: studios are totally acceptable. No walls are better than fake ones).

The Perfect Relationship
What he has:

1) A job (read: a bank account that he puts money into and some place to go between the hours of 9am and 5pm, roughly). Spending time with someone who doesn’t have a job isn’t dating. It’s babysitting. Listen, I get it, okay? It’s a tough economy out there. Jobs are hard to come by. It’s FINE to be between jobs. It’s fine to be going back to school to start doing something you’re passionate about. It is NOT ok to sit around your apartment and get stoned all day, not looking for a job, and call yourself a “freelancer”.

2) An interest in spending time with you. Duh, right? Not so. I know too many girls who waste their time clutching their phone, hoping some guy they’ve slept with a few times will call or text and ask them to go on a proper date. And then when this doesn’t happen, they are devastated. They are crushed. They are crossing out the doodles of their first name and his last name from the Post-Its on their desk. If you’re “seeing” someone who doesn’t actually want to see you (like with clothes on), keep looking.

What he doesn’t have:
1) A psycho ex. Trifectas travel light. No baggage.

2) Any of your deal breakers. Every person has them. The one or two (or three) things they swore they’d never settle for in their significant other. But sometimes it happens that we end up with people who possess those qualities nonetheless. I don’t mean something vain like “they must be 6 feet tall with blue eyes” but something like “they have a sarcastic sense of humor and don’t end every make out session with ‘OUCH, that hurts'”. So if you wake up one day next to someone who’s crying because you’ve made a sarcastic comment in jest or chomped on a bottom lip too hard, well, you’ve settled. So you can settle for being one element shy of the trifecta.

3) A hook up buddy. Likely your perfect guy isn’t sleeping with anyone else. Details.

Successful Career:
How to make sure you get it:

1) Don’t leave when the work day is over. Now, some might argue that I work too much, but I’d rather put in a few more hours than others deem necessary than punch out at 5pm every day. Guys, this is New York City. No one goes to happy hour at 5pm anyway. You’re not missing anything. This city, for better or worse, is full of alcoholics and workaholics. No one works as hard as New Yorkers and no one plays as hard either. But if you’re just doing the latter, you can be sure you won’t get that dream career any time soon.

2) Be better than everyone else at what you do. You might think this is impossible to achieve, but that’s okay. The point here is to always try to be better than everyone else at what you do. That means you’re constantly learning, constantly thinking outside the box, and constantly going a little bit further than you used to think you could go. If you stop doing this, you’ll get stuck in whatever level of success you were at when you gave up. Success isn’t a one time shot, like “oh, I got a promotion and now, TA-DA, I’m successful”. You have to keep working at it.

3) Love what you do. If you hate your job, it won’t matter if you have the most amazing apartment and significant other in all of New York.

So I’m honestly not 100% convinced the trifecta exists anywhere but in movies and TV, but like most things in this amazing city, the journey to achieving it is half the fun anyway.


Posted on January 3, 2012, in new york city and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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