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Wikipedia of life in New York: how to survive a newcomer in the capital of the world

This post will be boring, but useful. I gathered in one place everything that I would like to hear a few years ago when I was in New York. On taxes, apartment search, medicine and other features of New York life. Each of these points could be a separate article, but I love the monumentality, therefore, as much as possible, I put everything in one post, writes in your blog Elena Zakharova.

Taxes and everything around them

Once a year, posters in the subway are switched to tax topics. In the area "grow" agency filling out the documents. Spotifay between tracks advertises tax software, simultaneously sorting out which expenses relate to the business, and which do not. This year at the bus stop hung a poster that fearless New Yorkers scared only one thing - the time of taxes. Unlike most nationals (including Russia), every April, Americans file a tax return.

What it looks like. Need to fill out the form 1040 and send to tax by email or regular mail. If it is simplified: enter the amount of all money earned during the year, indicate the expenses and calculate the tax. It is NOT necessary to attach neither checks for expenses, nor a source of receiving money (contracts, bank statements, breakdown by customers / projects). All on trust, check on the audit, which may happen tomorrow or never.

You can contact an accountant, fill in yourself or use some service assistant like turbotax. Here You can read why accounting programs are accused of lobbying a complex system of tax surrender. Tax offers free tax support for those who earn less than 54 thousands per year, disabled people and people older than 60.

When. Deadline - April 17. If you do not have time, you can mail a notification and “win” another six months.

The form itself is called tax returni.e. tax refund. The main intrigue is to fill out all the papers and find out that taxes have been overpaid and you are entitled to a refund. Then within a few weeks a beautiful receipt with a tax logo for an overpaid amount arrives at the post office.

Working relationships are governed by two main forms. W-2 - for full-time employees when the employer pays taxes.

The freelancer (self-employed) himself takes into account incomes / expenses, reports to the tax authority once a year and, preferably quarterly, pays taxes. If the fee from one customer exceeds 600 dollars per year, the customer company must send 1099 to the tax form. This is the task of the customer, even if the form is lost or not sent, the freelancer must take into account all the amounts and pay the tax.

By the way, freelancers can do business without additional registration. The company is opened to protect personal property from the court: if the customer sues, the company (even if it is from one person) will respond with the property of the company, not its owner. In the States, the customer does not pay taxes for freelancers - in Russia it costs the discovery of individual entrepreneurs. Moreover, if I (whether it is a company or an individual) ordered a job from a freelancer, then I write it off as a business expense. Clever whitewash scheme freelance.

Who gives taxes. In most cases, any person who has lived in the US for more than 180 days per year. In fact, there are a few more exceptions, you can read here. Citizens and holders of green cards are accountable for taxes in any case, even if they reside in another country. Moreover, if their income exceeds a certain amount (this year 100 thousand dollars per person), then for everything above that, you will also have to pay tax in America. For example: an American permanently living in Switzerland and receiving 150 thousand dollars there, declares the full amount and pays tax to America on the 50 thousand.

It is not necessary to file a tax return if annual earnings are less than $ 10 400 on W-2 or $ 600 on 1099.

What is difficult. Super-detailed instructions are published on the tax website, covering almost any scenario: how to write off expenses correctly, how to file a declaration, if you lived in different states for a year (or, God forbid, countries), how to separate business expenses from personal expenses and so on. . From the oversupply of these rules, many go crazy and turn to accountants.

The main feature after Russia is opportunity to write off expenses (we will have a special form of reporting some business here for all by default). Write-offs reduce the taxable base, i.e. earned 200 thousand, written off forty, paid tax from 160. For example, I’m a freelance photographer, so I’m subtracting photo lenses purchased this year, studio rentals, props (even if these are very strange things, like a bag of rice), model fees, and lunch with incomprehensible people I discussed with work In addition to working expenses, medical bills are written off (under certain conditions), dependents (dependents in Russian?) - for example, in America it is “more profitable” to have a baby in December 2015 than in January 2016, since a tax deduction can be made immediately for two of the year.

And yes, the salary in America is usually called for a year and more often before tax. 60 thousand means that a person earns 5 thousand dollars per month minus tax.

Life and housing

Finding housing looks like endless browsing of apartments and negotiations with agents or - rarely - owners. I made a template letter with a short story about us (work, the presence of animals, annual income) to respond to interesting proposals. You can specify the desired areas, price ceiling and attach a photo. To convince you of reliability and solvency, they show bank statements, paychecks (if you are paid a salary at work), a certificate from work (if you want), a credit score (in my experience, its absence is better than a bad credit score).

Several apartment search sites. Their content is often repeated, but the search for an apartment is always a war, and I would advise you to be present on all fronts.

  • Naked apartment - in my opinion, with the largest base.
  • Streeteasy - about their advertising (witty and very beautiful) you can write a separate post.
  • Zillow
  • Trulia.
  • Sublet on craigslist - an option to reshoot someone's rented apartment / room. This is usually a short-term lease, but sometimes there are cool options when someone moves out before the end of the lease, so you can enter without a fee and it is possible to extend the contract. Take over my lease - keywords in this case.
  • Newsletter from the Listing Project - a personal project by New York artist Stephanie Diamond. Anyone can submit their rental offer, and on Wednesdays, subscribers receive a filtered selection of apartments and rooms. This is usually a very good offer, but most often a bit more expensive than the market. Also works on finding a sublet.
  • Useful group on facebook 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - Again, posts can be duplicated, but it is worth monitoring all groups.

Rules may vary from state to state, but overall rent is well settled. Some interesting, in my opinion, domestic and near-documentary questions:

  • Annual income must be minimum 40 rentals. If an apartment costs 2 thousands of dollars, then the income should be no less than 80 thousands.
  • New York law will always prevail over any lease agreement. I think this is a super-useful item in litigation.
  • New York is especially friendly to shooters, for example, there still exist Action to stabilize the lease. It was originally federal initiativein order to fill the housing crisis in the post-war period: the owners were sure that they would be paid, and the tenants did not worry about the sudden rise in prices and were more willing to rent. it happens rent-stabilizedwhen the owner can not raise the rent more than a certain percentage. Getting into such an apartment is always a great success, but it is still possible. A rarer version is rent-control. A program for those who rent regulated housing from July 1 and 1971 of the year. Rent can not be increased by more than 7.5% every two years (and most often remains unchanged), and, most interestingly, the lease agreement is inherited. That is, the only way to get into such an apartment is to be a relative of the owner of such an agreement. Although today it’s more like an urban fairy tale, in New York it still exists around 27 thousand rent-control apartments. Most often, people pay no more than a thousand dollars, and when you impose prices on a location, they become an urban legend. You can read about sweet lady35 for years rented a three-room apartment overlooking Central Park for 500 dollars. Or more beautiful jenchtlemanwho lives in Soho for 55 (fifty-five!) dollars a month.
  • Rented apartment can retake for more than thirty days and with the permission of the landlord (for example, during a long vacation). In theory, the owner should have very good reasons for refusal, but in practice, many do it without asking. By the way, according to the law, it is possible to retake on 10% more than the usual rent - for furniture, dishes, etc.
  • All apartments are rented empty. with the exception of the built-in kitchen with stove and refrigerator. I think this is great happiness. Furniture can be found free on the street or in special group on craigliste. Or cheaply - through group in facebook. New Yorkers often move and say goodbye to things, you can write a whole novel about what and how got into my apartment.
  • Owner cannot evict without court decision., even if you stopped paying rent. This is bad and good. On the one hand, it can be a rescue in a difficult life situation, on the other hand, it complicates the process of settlement, it is important for the Land Dord to make sure of your solvency and reliability. In New York, trials are slow, so the previous tenant of my apartment lived for free for nine months until the court issued an eviction order. This in turn greatly spoils the credit history.
  • The winter months, especially December and January, are the slowest for the rental market. There will be less offers, but lower prices and more chances to get to the desired apartment.
  • You can complain about a landlord by 311 number. For example, if the heating does not work and the landlord does nothing with it. Cool story about the record holder for complaints in Brooklyn - 2000 calls for 2017 a year.
  • When signing a contract to a landlord, it is not customary to show the right to property (shock by Russian standards). All data on property owners are publicly available, so with the address and name of the owner you can easily check the information. I found the history of the sale and purchase of our home over the past 50 years, including the cost, the banks that issued the loan, and the names of past owners.
  • In New York, many small townhouses. Usually these are old houses (mine already from 1899 of the year), built for one family, but transformed by the popularity of the city into two-three-flat. In my house there are three floors, three apartments. Some minuses and pluses from my experience: 1. Often the owner lives on the first floor (or in the basement) and rents the upper floors. I would not want to live with a landlord in the same house, but to whom how. 2. In New York, each house is responsible for heating and water heating. If this is a small house for two or three families, then an oil boiler is most likely installed in the basement, and the owner of the house himself controls when and with what intensity to sink. My landlord loves to save during the daytime, every three to four months the oil always ends, and we sit half a day without hot water and heat (but the oil supplier drives around the area on a truck with a barrel and a long hose street pipe, I called him a cheerful milkman). 3. All issues are resolved directly with the owner. In the case of an apartment building, this will be the management company. Here, as lucky, in both cases, the defendants may not be the most conscientious. In my opinion, it would be better to break a landlord than a similar management company — negotiating with a specific person is easier than fighting a bureaucratic machine. From personal experience: if you deduct a few times from the payment days when something was broken, then next time all the work will go faster. 4. The house itself is responsible for taking out the garbage, cleaning the snow, broken roof and frozen pipes. In our house, the landlord made arrangements with a neighbor on the second floor, but sometimes I volunteer with snow cleaning or rubbish. This year, half of New York's pipes were frozen, including us, so for three days we lived without hot water. 5. In such a house, the last floor may have an exclusive entrance to the roof (like mine), and the first floor may have a courtyard (I envy you very much).
  • Отопление There are several types. The most common option is steam heat, when steam goes through the pipes, the batteries make frightening sounds, but the landlord pays for everything. Another option - electrical panels around the perimeter of the rooms, guaranteed plus 100-200 dollars to the electricity bill. Central heating (central heating) - built-in air circulation system, which heats the air in winter, cools it in summer. Conveniently, because two in one, it’s bad, because it adds to the price for electricity, it dries the air and sometimes it makes a loud noise.
  • Recommend to have renters insurancethat insures property both in the apartment and beyond its borders around the world (for example, the phone stolen on holiday). Damage caused by pipe leaks, fire, robbery, sometimes a natural cataclysm (depending on location) and damage from accidents, if your dog bites someone or your friend stumbles on the stairs, is covered. Worth within 5-15 dollars per month.
  • The apartment is an apartment. Flat is something very British and funny.
  • 1-bedroom apartment is an apartment with a living room and a separate bedroom (what in Russia would be called a two-room apartment). The studio comes with a separate kitchen (the equivalent of a Russian one-room apartment) or with a combined one.
  • There are mice and cockroaches in the apartments.. Every newcomer in New York has a story, as he first saw a cockroach. The second such story is not, because then it repeats every day and becomes commonplace. In a couple of years, total calmness is produced. To understand the scale of the problem, my favorite article from New Yorker with the classification of domestic insects. But the worst is, of course, bed bugs. Some kind of sofa bugs that everyone fears. According to rumors, the only way to deal with them is to burn the house, change the name and leave the country.

Фото: Depositphotos

Utility payments, Internet and telephone

Average bill for electricity - $ 50-70 per month for a one-room apartment. You can spend much less, you can five times more, as my neighbors (I suspect that the matter is in additional heaters and 24-hour use of air conditioners). Electricity and gas are most often issued in the name of the tenant on the basis of a lease agreement. Water is included in the rent.

Internet expensive and costs around $ 50-100, most often sell packages with a TV and phone. I found out that every provider should have a cheap rate that they do not advertise on the site, I called and after a half-hour reassurance that I really didn’t need a TV and I understand that the speed of 20 MB is very small, I achieved the plan for 30 dollars.

Mobile telephony on average, it costs from $ 50 dollars per month and includes limited Internet packages and minutes. Two years later, I learned that the minutes (I have 100) are considered both incoming and outgoing. If you think that it’s impossible to spend 100 minutes a month - you didn’t live in America. You can make free calls to any American numbers via Google Hangouts.


In America, there is an inexplicable fear of a washing machine in an apartment, so residents of one of the biggest cities in the world are washing their underpants and socks along with other similar adapters of communal benefits. You can look for an explanation of this phenomenon. here и here, but more often it is a complete bulshit and a tribute to tradition, as a reference to the Russian basin, for example. Landromats have their own trade union, although their number is still decreases.

In apartment buildings there are common washing machines in basements, which is very convenient. But more often, New Yorkers go to Landromat, who themselves romanticize. In my for the absurd set the machine with the purchase of bitcoins, very progressive. Many hand over laundry in the laundry by weight - I gave it in the morning, took it in the evening. A regular wash costs about $ 1.75, about $ 1 per drying and an hour. My routine looks like this: throw the laundry into the machine, come back in half an hour and start drying, go for a run, after another half an hour pick up the dry laundry. The fact that it is to divide the laundry into light and dark, you forget somewhere in the second month. A year later, I still gave up and bought white bedding to justify the washing of two white T-shirts. Drying is a fire in every sense, the main thing is not to dry lacy linen and woolen clothes at high temperatures.

Medicine and insurance

In America, there is no customary medical insurance. They get insurance at work or buy themselves through the marketplace, the site aggregator of available and approved plans in this state.

If the employer does not submit a plan (eligible with a staff of less than 50 employees) or you are self-employed, then the buying process looks like this: go to the local site for each state, indicate the number of people in the family, annual income, index and choose a plan. The marketplace opens once a year, usually in December-January, did not have time to a certain deadline - left without insurance for the whole year. There are a number of exceptions when it is allowed to buy a plan outside of this period.

Obamacare, or officially ACH (Affordable Care Act), is a set of rules governing insurance companies. For example, one of the biggest changes in ACH is a ban on discrimination against existing diseases: previously, an insurance company could increase the cost of insurance for a person with diabetes or refuse to cover it at all. Other significant innovations are: children can stay on the parent plan for up to 26 years, one free check-up per year (for women, a gynecologist is added to the usual therapist) and free contraception.

Medical insurance consists of:

  • PREMIUM - monthly payments to the insurance company.
  • DEDUCTIBLE - the amount you pay yourself until you turn on the copayment and coinsurance.
  • OUT-OF-POCKET LIMIT - the amount you pay yourself until the insurance company starts paying for everything.
  • COPAYMENT - fixed cost of services, after payment deductible.
  • COINSURANCE - the percentage that the patient pays after the deductible payment.

There are several insurance companies that recommend avoiding religious issues. Plans differ in deductible and premium amounts. The higher the monthly payments, the lower the amount that will have to be paid before the inclusion of insurance, and vice versa. The main task is to find the optimal balance between these two values ​​(impossible).

Example (more or less realistic figures, if you buy a plan on the marketplace): monthly payment - 350 dollars per person. Deductible - 4 is thousands of dollars, which means that for all medical services up to this figure I pay myself. My out-of-pocket limit is 7 thousand dollars. After paying 4 thousand dollars and up to 7 thousand, we share medical bills with the insurance company. If the coinsurance is 50%, then this means that for a procedure costing thousands of dollars in 2 I will pay 1 a thousand dollars. It may be that my plan prescribes copayment for drugs or certain services - for example, a doctor's visit will cost fixed 20 dollars or prescribed medicine 70 dollars. After that, one usually wonders why live in America. By the way, most Americans have insurance plans from the employer, they are usually more humane: with a deductible about a thousand or two dollars.

Spoon of socialism. Medicare - free insurance for Americans older than 65 years. Medicaid is free or subsidized insurance for low-income people. In New York, free for a family of two with lower income $ 22,715. Subsidized (figures for a family of two) 1. essential plans (almost free, about 20 dollars per month) before income in $ 32,480 2. Partial help paying up income in $ 64,080. For example, if a plan costs 800 dollars per month, then the state takes on 500 dollars. Five hundred dollars of aid in this case are called tax credits.

Medicine without numbers. If you drop the cost and if you can say that at all, then I think there is no better country to get sick, especially with something difficult and rare. I went to the Emergency Room once, went to the dentist several times, I have a personal doctor, a cardiologist and a gynecologist. Not a super-great experience (fortunately), but here are a few of my observations (both good and bad):

Instead of calling an ambulance in case of emergency they turn to Emergency Room, this is a whole department at large polyclinics, where people come with everything from the cut finger to the fights. Calling an ambulance is very expensive and is used only in extreme cases when every minute is critical or there is a danger of transportation (broken bones, for example). There are pros and cons. The emergency room is not misused, as in Russia, where grandmothers measure pressure from boredom, and people, like me, bypass the bureaucracy with registration not by place of residence (if anyone did not know, then the fastest way to get to a hospital in Moscow is to call an ambulance ). But you can also lose time and not have time to help. Well, in general, this is an unhealthy situation in which it is financially scary to call an ambulance. They writethat the call for an ambulance was reduced by seven percent, because it is cheaper and faster to call Uber. Funny and bitter.

Фото: Depositphotos

I really like the practice of a personal doctor. In fact, it is a therapist who knows you (and sometimes your family) and manages your health. I have a very cool doctor. He has a dog and a husband, they live under New York, in America he is on a work visa, originally from Turkey, so he also needs visas - I shared tips on getting a Schengen, he gave a link to a weed-boat tour in Amsterdam. Good enough to be his friend with medical knowledge and enjoy the meetings.

A doctor's appointment begins with a nurse. She measures pressure-height-weight, briefly asks about problems, then invites a doctor. A conversation with a doctor is usually one-on-one, and he comes to know your situation. It is quite common for a doctor to greet the hand or hug each other.

Cost of services and coverage - dark wood and inshalla. Find out in advance what it will cost, almost impossible. After the last visit to the doctor, I have been receiving letters for half a year, which I understand as a dialogue between the polyclinic and the insurance company. At first, the insurance company refused to cover 100 dollars for what was not clear, then 120, in the third letter, it seemed to have covered everything. In any case, the doctor sends the bill, and the insurance company only notifies what they cover and what does not.

I noticed a special delicacy in the relationship between the patient doctors. For example, such a complex topic as inspection and nudity. There is always a disposable shirt or gown (even if listening to the chest will take five seconds), and the doctor leaves the office while you are changing. Maybe I, a child with heart diseases, are too traumatized by Russian practice (strip to the waist and wait here. So what, that everyone comes, we are doctors, we should not be shy. A window without a curtain? - So it looks at the morgue, who will see you there), but I really like it.

Local medical practice does not take pain and discomfort. The peak of the absurdity is when the dentist lubricates the gum with something anesthetizing, so that it is not painful to stick the syringe with anesthesia. In fact, in most cases it is good. For example, common anesthesia is often used here for minor, but nasty things like gastroscopy (God save this country) or removal of wisdom teeth. In this case, the anesthesia is very easily tolerated, somehow my friend drove to my place for lunch after the morning operation under general anesthesia. When I complained about a week of insomnia, the doctor suggested a plan of action (examination, possible treatment), but the first thing I wrote out was the strongest sleeping pill. Because discomfort is not American. My favorite quote is an American Dumas who moved to Berlin: I’m trying to keep away discomfort. The German doctors were telling me that being uncomfortable is OK article for the New York Times, she tells how in Germany after removing the uterus, she was advised to have herbal tea and breathing exercises, and Ibuprofen was recommended to be left in case of emergency: “I didn't mention that I use ibuprofen like candy. What else would they come in for such American jumbo sizes at American warehouse stores? " Comparison with sweets is generally perfect. Ibuprofen sell in buckets in supermarkets (I exaggerate, of course, but in reality banks 1000 pieces) or by prescription in the dosage of 600 (six hundred!) mg. After two such pills and a small procedure, I lost all sensations for the whole day. In an emergency, this is a real salvation, but I suspect that many are neglecting.

Separately about the wisdom teeth. A common practice is to remove all four at a time and under general anesthesia. Even the most difficult teeth. Eyewitnesses say that it is transferred easily, and doctors do not understand at all what surprises me.

She learned that according to plan (without complaints and risk factors) the gynecologist is not visited annually, but once in three years. It turns out that the whole thing is in "normal" oncocytological screening. And later came across Article in the Playbill, where the Moscow obstetrician-gynecologist explains everything: “... if we“ imitate ”some European countries and do the HPV test plus high-quality, good cytology, then we can safely go to testing every 3 – 5 years”.

Continuing the conversation about women's health. 1. After a mastectomy - surgery to remove the breast - the insurance company is obliged to pay for implants. 2. From contraception today IUDs are especially popular. Hung a couple of years ago subway advertising: “You spent the night in Brooklyn. Staten Island. Maybe the IUD is right for you. ” Today, the IUD, like any other contraception, is completely covered by insurance, but in America Trump so often discusses the cancellation of Obama's reforms that the IUD has become something political and symbolic (like being able to control your body). Therefore, after the election there was another surge in popularity of the IUD, and I endlessly saw headlines like "go to the doctor before it is too late."

There are separate insurances for eyes and dentistry. If you are also interested, why not to divide the whole body into organs and not to sell separate plans for them, then this is about done with the kidneys.

When the doctor prescribes the medicine, he asks the address of the pharmacy. In the selected pharmacy, it is enough to show the ID, and the pharmacist will find you in his database. It may be silly to describe it, but for the first time I was very confused, and then I forgot what I indicated and went to all five pharmacies in the area.

Contact lenses need a prescription. Glasses can be bought without a prescription, my favorite site for ordering online.

Useful near-medical links

Planned Parenthood deals with men's and women's health, including accepting patients for free without insurance and those who cannot pay. The process of attachment is as painless as possible and without restrictions on visa status.

Zocdoc - A convenient service for writing to doctors. You can set your plan, location and choose a doctor by reviews.

Psychological Today - A portal dedicated to psychological health, with the search for psychotherapists like Zokdok.

Фото: Depositphotos

Banks and checks

Checks are still running. Mainly for the payment of any state fees or issuance of fees. The salary process is sometimes called cutting checks. I perceived this phrase metaphorically, until I learned that the checks are really cut — there is a big book that is filled and cut into individual checks (aaaaa). Normal people almost stopped communicating with checks, with the exception of conservative landlords.

A regular check is actually the permission to debit a certain amount from a certain person to your account. Therefore, money has to be “kept” in the account until the recipient credits them. But there are cashier's checkwhich are distinguished by the fact that money is withdrawn from the account at the time of the creation of the check. They have no limit, they are drawn up in the bank for 5-7 dollars. For amounts up to 1000 dollars, it is cheaper to make a money order that works on the same principle and is bought, for example, by mail.

Progress has reached the point that checks can now be written out through a mobile application - you fill in all the data from your smartphone, and the bank prints a piece of paper, puts it in an envelope and sends it to the specified address. Moreover, progressive banks also allow credits to be credited through the application - you take pictures of it from two sides (not forgetting to sign it on the back) - and the money in the account.

Sometimes it is enough to pay a bank account number, so it is secret information here and is even closed with asterisks in the Internet bank. Between banks, there are Zelle transfers by phone number or email. For transfers to each other for coffee lunch, everyone uses Venmo, it is a subsidiary of Paypal, but super comfortable and friendly.

To the main account (checking) almost always open saving. If more than five times a month to transfer money from a savings account to a personal account, the bank will send a warning. It turns out that the state teaches to save money and regulates transfers between these accounts.

Overdraft almost all banks impose a fine. It’s almost impossible to prohibit a card to go into a minus - I couldn’t, but I paid $ 30 twice for recklessness and late write offs of Internet purchases.

No category

I am sure that I will nevertheless turn on the perfectionist regime and will add new points once a week.

  • The pronunciation of numbers is usually simplified. Plus one to what is not taught in schools and tutors, and in life more important than irregular verbs and present perfect. 1,300 is thirteen hundred (thirteen hundred), not one thousand three hundred (one thousand three hundred). The 626 house number will be read as six-twenty six without a hundred or even six-two-six. Four-digit numbers read as years: 1385 - thirteen-eighty five. Instead of thousands, K is often used (which actually means kilo, but in this case is pronounced like a letter, key): $ 100 000 - hundred [key]. Zero is often pronounced as the letter O (oy). My house number is one-oy-seven.
  • The letter Z in American English is read as zi instead of zed.
  • Phone numbers can be specified without the code + 1. Enrages, but in another way you just do not understand. Companies like to write numbers with words, for example, 1-800-HELP-ME - when you call a letter you need to type in numbers.
  • When something is offered to you, and you want to refuse, instead of “No”, it is correct to say “Thanks, I'm good.”
    “Would you like to ride an alligator?”.
    “Thanks, I'm good.”
  • Do you need help? vs Can I help you? The first is an offer of help. The second is the polite version of “what the fuck?” Or “what are you doing here?”. What you need to say, if you found someone riding on your crocodile.
  • “Registration”, proof of address, looks much more humane than in Russia. The address can be proved by a rental agreement or an electricity bill. Confirmation of the address may be required for obtaining car license, opening a bank account or writing to the library, for example. Actually everything that I could not do in Moscow after almost ten years of life and white work, here it turns out super-easy.
  • The American ID, known as State ID, is a plastic card that is much more convenient for life than a passport. These are usually car licenses, which most Americans get at the age of 16, but there is a version that says non-driving license. You can take a theoretical test and get a learner permit, with which you can learn to drive, i.e. drive in the presence of another person with a license in the passenger seat. To obtain any ID, you need a simple set of documents and a couple of hours at the DMV office.
  • Slightly easier to get citywide New York City ID. Officially, it should not be taken as evidence of age, for example, when buying alcohol, but in practice it works. This card gives some discounts, free membership in museums.
  • There is a good waste separation system here and not the most beautiful one for its removal. Three times a week, every home puts garbage bags on the sidewalk. One bag for paper and cardboard, the other for everything else recyclable: plastic, metal and glass. Some areas have brown organic bins, or the compost can be collected in the freezer and taken to a community garden. Furniture and other large rubbish is collected free of charge. Schedules for each house and other rules for garbage collection can be found on the city portal.
  • Life hacking savings on the subway. Within two hours you can change from the subway to the bus for free and vice versa. Sometimes I go somewhere on the subway, and return by bus to spend only one trip.
  • Americans love abbreviations. FYI Native Speaker would write this post three times shorter, OMG. There is only one rule: google and memorize. Without them, nowhere, so remember ASAP that BYOB is bring your own beer (bottle, booze).
  • An international debit card is best carried out as a credit. In this case, the index is most often asked, you need to enter any five-digit one - Russian cards do not issue an address, and America does not know about the existence of six-digit indices.
  • Local libraries are an excellent free co-working with good Wi-Fi, free entrance and beautiful interior (in the library areas more intimate, but in Bryant Park it’s almost like a palace). If you have a “library card”, you can cheaply print and take home books and even CDs with movies and music for free, and libraries have a cool catalog in many languages.
  • Most museums have a day of suggested admission, when instead of the usual fare you can pay any price.
  • You can take cashback from American debit cards - by paying at the checkout, add 10-50 dollars to the account and get them in cash. Ubiquitous ATM without a fee.
  • Traditional telephone booths have been replaced with fast Wi-Fi poles and free calls to all American numbers. In my area, these pillars are very popular, sometimes office chairs roll out to them and arrange negotiations.
  • At each metro station (not in the train) there is free Wi-Fi.
  • Let it be the only aggressive advice - learn to formulate search queries in English, and then life in the United States will become easier.

The original column is published in блоге Elena Zakharova.

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