lauren t taxi-001How the heck have I survived living in NYC!?

Learn from my sensation of facts, lessons, and outlines below:

Traveling the world, quite often gone for months at a time, I’ve lived in over 5 major cities which include: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, London, and Paris.

As charming and spectacular as the core of these world famous towns remain, nothing ever compares to the metropolis vibe of New York City. No matter where I step foot, there aren’t less than 50 people I meet with dreams of living in the big apple. From France to Britain, Germany to Morocco, and of course, all across the USA, our lusts for life in New York City stirs from its history of international sensationalism. Partially due to movies and TV shows like Home Alone II: Lost in NYC, Crooklyn, and Living Single which started in our childhoods, and continued onto Sex & The City, which reigns on as a subculture in our adult lives.

No matter where I go in this world, I meet people with dreams of moving to New York City. – Tony Triumph

I’ve been queried endlessly by people wondering: How have you survived in New York for so long? How were you able to move to Paris? What was it like living in Los Angeles? How were you able to live in London? Etcetera, etcetera- the list goes on. Ultimately, I’ve overcome living in each of those major cities through the endless life lessons of the experience itself, and I want YOU to do the same- starting with NYC. Learn from each of my facts, lessons, and outlines below:

1.) Stack a 4 figure capital-stack your money

Reluctantly, I moved to New York City with $350 in my pocket, and the majority of my belongings stuffed into my 98′ Volkswagen Passat. It was a freezing cold February smack in the winter of 2007. Luckily, the week before I had visited and made a deposit on a room going for $150 per week, and after paying the remainder and picking up my key, I thought I’d have just enough left to hold me until my first paycheck. I was wrong, and ended up calling home for money in three days. Lack of proper planning and funds had left this little brown boy scrambling for cash! So unless you have an investor, trust fund, or some type of guarantor, I urge you to stack your money and stack it high. As for my artist, a hungry night will come quicker than an expected pay day, and rent rolls around just as often as you see rats in the subway. A burger with fries and a milkshake cost $15 here, and Walmart is nowhere to be found. Simply put, NYC is a city of mark-ups, scams, and schemes, so if you expect to live any decent quality of life in the big apple, please come financially prepared.

  2.) Have a niche-

Black male chefWhen I first considered moving to NYC, all I saw for myself was having billboards in time square, walking on runways, and posing for fashion magazines. I had a niche! I wanted to be a model, and eventually a budding news reporter. I didn’t just move to New York, expecting to dibble and dabble in every industry until I became rich, famous and met celebrities- all too often what young people do nowadays! Find your market, study your market, and if you find that it’s super saturated- then take a nontraditional approach. If you’re doing music, mailing off demos to record labels probably isn’t the best approach. If you’re a model, modeling agency open calls are more than a waste of time. If becoming a top chef is what you want, hurry and get your ACF certification, then get in your kitchen and create your own opportunities. As I mentioned in my editors letter entitled,”Renovate, Revive, Restore, and Redeem: YOU“, dig deep back into all the things of the past that originated as inspiration for the start of your journey. Whatever it took to quit your day job and move to a major city, to drop out of school and chase a dream with nothing more than a dollar, to pack your bags, leave your hometown and pursue music, modeling, make-up artistry, entrepreneurship- whatever it is that you’re doing. Recover every bit of drive that has been stolen from YOU! Dig deep, back into all those files and notes and goal sheets from years past and restore all that was, and bring to life all that isn’t.


3.) Secure opportunity first- Handshakes

There couldn’t be anything worst than scrambling for work after moving to a new city. Unless you’ve got number 1 (from above) on lock, and already have a place to stay, I highly advise against moving to the big apple just yet. Survival antics are a dream killer, but what other choice will you have? I’ve waited tables with 60 year old’s who were once fresh, thriving dancers, aspiring opera singers, and self-proclaimed Picassos. The problem with these people is that they got so caught up with the stresses of living in NYC, that their survival shenanigans have literally killed their potential. Please, don’t let this happen to you. Stay put, wherever you are, and only make the move when your skills & services are in demand, or you at least have #4 in place.

4.) Transfer jobs (don’t quit!)-

IMG_7609 Even if you one day plan to make millions, and won’t work a job at all- keep one for now! Finding even the most random, clothes folding, floor sweeping jobs in NYC are competitive. Before I moved to NYC, I worked for Banana Republic in Maryland, and I was easily able to transfer to The Gap (their sister company) once I expressed interest in moving to New York. However, one day I got a big head from all the modeling I was doing and decided to up and quit. Boy was I silly. Back to square one I went! Being broke is not a joke! Learn from my mistake and always keep your money rolling, very much up until you have another way to replace it.

5.) Lose Yourself-


First there was Myspace making people famous, now it’s Instagram, Youtube, and Vine. Listen up, if you have a huge level of following, please ignore it when you move here- and lose your ego! NYC is full of popular people, folks with thousands of social media followers, millionaires that look like bums, TV stars riding the metro, famous authors, news anchors, you name it. Everybody’s special here. You’ve gotta think on an entrepreneurial level, and face the fact that you have now relocated your entire business. You will need new local supporters, new followers, customers, connections, and interactions with people who will keep you progressive. Your hometown fans can’t really do much for you here. As Issac Newton said, “We build too many walls, and not enough bridges.” Don’t let your ego burn your bridges. Or it may just have you peddling back across the one you took to get here.

6.) Avoid nightlife-

2982_526333836339_7152936_nThe nightlife does NOT make you. It will only destroy you, your looks, and make you look gross if you over-indulge. I’m very passionate about this because it became a huge problem for me between ages 19-21. Think long and hard before stepping into any club. Drinking is fun, and amazing parties stretch all the way from Harlem, down to Soho lofts, across the meat packing district, and way back over to Williamsburg. This is great for making homies, of course. Yet sooner than later, the joys of parting velvet ropes will act as your main squeeze of validation in NYC. Trust me, you are worth more than this. It kind of works the same way as that saying, “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll still land within the clouds.” So shoot to avoid nightlife, because even if you indulged every once and a while, you still wont be nearly as bad off as you would if you’d partied every night.

7.) Start on the homefront- o-MAN-LEAVING-HOUSE-SUITCASE-facebook Make sure your dreams can’t be fulfilled, or at least started in your local market. New York is an intense city, and living here is absolutely not for everyone. Based here for over 7 years now, I’ve had more than my fair share of unnecessary dramas, altercations, and enough indescribable craziness to have me in a nut house. I think I’ve made my point clear enough in #3 to support my cause.

8.) Obey your heart-

single-person-thinking.jpg Parents, partners, and siblings sure give some awesome speeches about what they feel we should be doing with our lives. Remember, this is your career, life, and journey. It is always about YOU! People should never ever control you, your life or influence your actions for their good(unless you have a known inability to do so on your own). No matter how overwhelmed you are, don’t allow people to have a negative impact on your life by controlling it. If you have the burning desire to get up and see the world for yourself, it’s best you just do it!

9.) Reap the resources-

stock-footage-water-pouring-into-womans-handsAs I mentioned New York being a city of mark-ups, schemes, and scams, it can also be a great city of everlasting freebies. As I continue to update this article, the below list will also continue to grow:

Starbucks Coffee Has free Wifi and the best public bathrooms.

Lyft- Donation-based taxi rides. How it works: “Lyft is your friend with a car. Drivers are matched with passengers who request rides through the Lyft iPhone or Android app. Drivers are screened with DMV and background checks, and Lyft’s platform has a first-of-its-kind $1M per occurrence excess liability insurance policy. Once a ride is complete, passengers are prompted to donate seamlessly through the app.

Beacons Closet & Buffalo Exchange Need money for clothes, a metro card, food to eat? Don’t be ashamed to sell some of your gently used digs for a little extra cash! Both companies have stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Freebies always help: There’s a ton of bloggers out there who specialize in finding free events, giveaways, coupons, etc.  It’s their niche! 😉 Don’t be ashamed to ball on a budget. It’s all about surviving at this point.

10.) Become a DIY’er 86500415 As for people in NYC- they aren’t selfish, but it is in their nature to be self-centered. Ok, ok- well, I guess that is being a little selfish. Nevertheless, being self-reliant on others is a sure way for you to fail here. I’m not saying to replace your barbers, beauticians, manicurists, personal stylist, etc. However, be prepared should they fail you! And if your faith is in their loyalty, prepare yourself should a rainy day come where you can’t afford them! Though I don’t cut my own hair on the regular, when I’m overseas or on a set budget the month, for instance when I’m living in London or Paris, I do trim my own mane.

Be sure to read up on the following (some links below):

* How to braid your own hair

* How to do your own Manicures

* How to be your own barber

* How to tailor your own clothes

* How to work out at home

My hope is for this article to be used as your own personal reference guide and resource, and to act as the key to unmasking the unlimited potentials in your own life. Especially when it comes to travel.

If you have any questions, need more tips, or other first hand scoop regarding moving to New York City, feel free to reach out to

Good Luck! – Triumph