Wherein We Try to Help the Little People

You.

Remember this phase of your life? Your college yearbook does.Photo: iStockphoto.com

Late last week, the Times published an article directed at New York City’s newest denizens, those brave college students who have decided to try their luck at Columbia, NYU, or any of the city’s other fine beacons of higher education. The Times piece was a “don’t” list for the newcomers, dispensing wisdom such as “don’t fall asleep on the subway” and “don’t buy condoms” (the latter sparking a debate on the fortitude — or lack thereof — of the city’s safe-sex freebies). Helpful as these basic New York no-nos may be, we felt that the list was lacking in lessons on some of New York’s finer nuances. As such, we’d like to give our new youngsters some practical advice.

Don’t bother going near Bryant Park right now: Yes, you’re in the big city, and oh! it’s so shiny and exciting — but far be it from you to attempt to experience the real glitter of Fashion Week on your own. Unless you’re an Olsen (Mary-Kate, we know you’re still enrolled) or walked into your FIT orientation carrying a letter of recommendation from Zac, you’re not getting in. You probably won’t even recognize that underfed model hailing a cab without all of her makeup, anyway. Fashion Week from the outside is kind of soul-crushing, and we’d hate for you to start your NYC experience like that.
Don’t buy your drugs on the street: Though even the grittiest of downtown environs are now clean enough for luxury condos, wander around the right blocks at the right hour, and some enterprising young thing (seriously, they’re like 12 these days) just might offer you a treat. Our advice: Don’t bother. There’s no need to bump baby powder (or, more likely, Ex-Lax) when that hot girl down the hall is probably selling the real deal.
Stay out of Billy Joel’s way: New York is wrapping up a summer completely free of any drunk-driving incidents from the Piano Man, which means we’re overdue for some ugliness. Be alert! The student hospital is less cool when you’re not there for alcohol poisoning.
Don’t go for the “decal” option on the fake I.D. you got on Sixth Avenue: Not a bouncer in any borough is going to fall for that lame “keys” hologram. Not that we learned that the hard way, or anything.
The meatpacking district is your friend: Seriously, if we could keep all the underage scamps to one confined area, wouldn’t the city be a better place? Just remember, the smaller your top is, the more realistic your I.D. looks.
Start your day with cigarettes and coffee: The quicker you can get on the local diet, the more your soft, midwestern body will thank you. And by “midwestern body,” of course, we mean “we.”
Stay away from “Page Six” reporters: If you’re ever in the position to talk to one, you’re probably somewhere you should get out of. And if you’re in any other position with them, it’s probably too late.
The city is NOT your campus: Your campus is the three-block radius around your dorm. The city is where the rest of us live; please stay out of our way.
Don’t walk in herds: See above. Seriously, we will decapitate you if you get in our way.
Start a blog: Post frequently and inanely; you’ll get a book deal and be able to drop out in no time.

Advice to Freshmen: Don’t do it [NYT]

Wherein We Try to Help the Little People