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The New York Scene

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The NYC Scene


Dominant Occupations: One of the most incredible things about NYC is the variety of people that it attracts. Opera singers, med students studying neuroscience, investment bankers and Juilliard dancers are just some of the young singles who share the pew out here. So while it’s tough to nail down, there are four main buckets:

1) Guys: Finance/accounting, lawyers, or marketing/advertising. They are usually ballers.
2) Girls: Finance/accounting, HR, or PR/advertising. They are usually ballers too.
3) The Liberal Arts: Fashion/photography/Broadway/singers/dancers. They are usually traveling/on tour somewhere.
4) Students: Columbia, NYU, Fordham, Juilliard, FIT and many others, as well as grad students in medicine or law.

Average Age Range: 23-35.

New York State of Mind: Ambitious. If you live here, it means you’re smart, driven, and really good at something — otherwise you wouldn’t survive. The city gives off an energy and electricity that can’t be matched anywhere else, one of excitement and possibility, and it fuels those of us that live here. Plenty of people move out here with high hopes of stardom and success…only to leave after a month. It’s not just a catchy lyric: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

Girl/Guy Ratio: Roughly 2:1 girls to guys. Real talk — for a while, one of the wards had two relief societies to its one elders quorum. But things are evening out.

Hobbies: Eating out all the time (you could spend multiple lifetimes checking out a new fantastic restaurant every day), running/cycling (people spend more money on their road bikes than a lot of people do on their cars), traveling (three major airports and lots of great East Coast destinations within driving distance), getting cultured, hating on tourists.

Local Hangouts and Hotspots: Central Park, Riverside Park, the Highline, Pier 25 (sand volleyball courts, mini-golf, kayaking, beautiful views), 16 Handles, Shake Shack (way better than In-N-Out), Patsy’s, Numero 28 Pizza (Grimaldi’s is overrated), Magnolia Bakery (forget the cupcakes & get the banana pudding), Levain Bakery (best cookies in the world), Smorgasburg (food truck heaven), Doughnut Plant, Rockaway Beach in the summer,  the Hamptons, anywhere your bike will take you, anyone’s apartment that has a rooftop, balcony or backyard. Avoid like the plague: Times Square.

Typical Night on the Weekends: Since people work so hard during the week (and often on Saturdays/Sundays as well), we New Yorkers cherish our free weekends like Gollum cherished the Ring: those things are precious. Many of them are spent leaving the city for quick getaways — Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, the Hamptons, upstate, etc. But make no mistake: we love our city. Since people work later, most evenings begin/end later as well. Most nights start with 1) Dinner, which never starts before 9pm, 2) an activity such as a Broadway show, comedy club, Knicks/Yankees game, TV show taping, art exhibit, outdoor movie in the park, concert etc., followed up with 2b) dancing at the Jane Hotel or one of various clubs in the Meatpacking District (optional), and capped off with 3) dessert, always at a different place than where you had dinner.

Sports Scene: This city LOVES its sports. Face-painting, yelling in your face love. We have the obvious hometown teams: Yankees/Mets, Knicks/Nets, Giants/Jets, and Devils/Islanders/Rangers — but New York also hosts the US Open (Djokovic, Federer and Nadal are even better in person), the Belmont Stakes (large hats are a must for the ladies), and a number of other prominent sporting events. We also have the Red Bulls, our MLS team, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single YSA that has ever attended one of their games.

Cultural Scene: This isn’t just a cultural mecca — it’s a cultural epicenter. Things BEGIN here, and if they’re good enough, sometimes the rest of the world gets them. Besides the vast array of Broadway and off-Broadway musicals and plays, there’s The Met, the MOMA, the Guggenheim, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, The New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater…just to name a few. NYC is home to world-famous museums, art exhibits, concert venues, musicians, comedians and performers. It’s not fair, really.

Diet: Eating out. All the time. No — like ALL the time. No time to cook, small kitchens + way too many incredible and diverse places to try. However, in the rare case it’s not from a restaurant or Juice Generation, it came from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Myth Bust: New Yorkers aren’t mean; they’re actually really nice! Most tourists just don’t know how it works out here so they annoy the crap out of us.

What It’s Missing: Plentiful Mexican food and legit beaches. The closest ones we have are an hour away by train, and while they do the job, they’re only OK.

Ward Breakdown: Six choices:
1) Lincoln Square YSA: covers the western half of Manhattan up to the top of Central Park. The “cool” ward. It’s the biggest, the most social, it meets in the same building as the temple on the Upper West Side, and it’s the one visitors go to when they’re in town. Very diverse members who are also very friendly and welcoming. While it was once known as a cliquey ward in years past, those days are all but gone.

2) Harlem YSA: Everything above Central Park. While it skews younger and has more students, many attending Columbia, there are also plenty of working professionals who prefer the larger apartments and cheaper rent that living north of the park can provide. Church here is less about socializing and more about church.

3) Manhattan YSA: Eastern half of Manhattan. For some reason, the perceived great divide of Central Park keeps the East Siders and the West Siders from interacting very much (plus the only subway line over there is the 4-5-6; no easy transfer from the UWS). However, it’s a vibrant ward that although smaller, is very tight-knit. Most NYU students fall into this ward’s boundaries.

4) Brooklyn YSA Branch: An entire post could be dedicated to Brooklyn itself; it has a very different vibe than Manhattan. While many of the hipster stereotypes are true, the Brooklyn contingent is full of friendly, down-to-earth people who enjoy living at their own pace. Less office jobs, more freelancers. As it stands, the YSA scene there is still pretty small — but it’s growing. Small waves of YSAs are starting to make the move to Brooklyn, and the once wide chasm that separated BK from Manhattan is shrinking.

5) Queens YSA Branch: The suburbs. Like the borough that bears its name, the branch in Queens is notable for its diversity: a lot less BYU transplants, a lot more varied ethnic/cultural backgrounds. It also contains more locals — members who grew up here and whose families still live in other nearby wards. It’s a bit of a trek outside the city, and thus requires more work to attend social events held on the UWS, but its members are nice and inviting.

6) Manhattan Mid-Singles Branch: Specific for anyone 31+, and meets in the Lincoln Square building on the UWS. Attendance is optional, so you have plenty of mid-singles who go to another ward instead, some who attend their geographic ward AND this one, and some who attend this one exclusively. Still fairly new and trying to gain some steam.

Temple Proximity: The Manhattan temple is right in the heart of the Upper West Side. Five-minute walk from Central Park and no more than a 30-minute subway ride from anywhere on the island.

Dating NYC Guys: NYC guys are motivated, successful at a relatively early age, and hard working. Financially, they’re probably doing pretty well. But chances are they work too much and make a lot of sacrifices for “worldly” achievement (the finance types might throw down more for a new tie from Brooks Brothers than on your Valentine’s Day gift). But don’t let that deter you! The guys here are intelligent, more-cultured-than-average, and going places. And even though their late nights at the office may not show it, they want to date — it’s just tough with work sometimes.

Dating NYC Girls: NYC girls are ambitious, career-driven, and not content to sit around and do nothing until they meet Mr. Right. They’re the type to stand beside their husband, not behind him. And since they’re also successful and doing interesting work, they’re not impressed by fancy titles or big salaries — because that describes basically everyone out here. They’re looking for more than just another suit (and don’t let their busy lifestyles fool you — they ARE looking).

Classic Ward FHE/Activities: Picnics in Central park, hearing from prominent Mormons doing interesting/inspiring things, Yankees games.

Resident Mormon Celeb: Taza (and a bunch of other famous bloggers)

Common Vice: Sunday brunch. Some combination of having to work on Sundays, the constant stream of friends who come to visit, everyone’s cramped apartments/kitchens, and the fact that brunch places here are so GOOD has ingrained the acceptability of Sunday brunch into the cultural psyche. It’s a New York thing.

Traveling by Subway: Is the only way to go, and it’s actually pretty awesome. You’ll miss your car at first, but you’ll grow to love having practically everything easily accessible and nearly always within walking distance. Sure, some subway lines are better than others (the 1-2-3 dominates all other lines), and getting home late at night means a lot of waiting at the station, but overall, it’s a great system. Goodbye traffic and goodbye parking.

Weather: Can be all over the place sometimes. You’ll have the worst winter of your life followed by one of the mildest and most pleasant summers you’ve ever experienced. Then it will rain for a few days straight with no warning. But on the whole, it sticks to four well-defined seasons.

Intern Season: Not only does spring bring new life, it brings new blood — intern season means dozens and dozens of students coming out here for a few months testing the waters and trying to land jobs. Which very often means…well, JT knows what I’m talking about.

NYC Might Be For You If: You have a need for excitement and achievement, want to be where the action is, and are cool with paying at least $1000/month for rent.

Housing Link

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Add yours
  1. 2

    RE Lincoln Square YSA: “The ‘cool’ ward. It’s the biggest, the most social…Very diverse members who are also very friendly and welcoming. While it was once known as a cliquey ward in years past, those days are all but gone.” Recent experiences by many people would argue that this is a complete lie.

    • 3

      These profiles were gathered a few years ago, and I am not surprised to hear they are no longer current as singles wards dynamics are always changing. I’d be more than happy to have you or someone who knows the current New York scene update it.

  2. 4

    @kjhqyksr what part is a complete lie? The “cool” part? The friendly and welcoming? The cliquey part?

    @Rebbie it’s mostly still accurate but I’ve been here 3.5 years (I’m no jason w) and would be happy to add a few updates if needed.

  3. 6

    What a cool website! I’m looking at a bunch of different colleges and this is really helpful to learn more about the YSA and culture.

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