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New York: STILL the City Where Dreams Are Made?

By Rachel Burt
Edited by Sarah Baker 

New York City is "the city where dreams are made." But is it all that it used to be? Have times changed? Have young adults in their 20s changed their thoughts and patterns? 

Frank Sinatra Records "New York, New York" in 1979
The traditional old-fashioned cycle seems to have gone away. It’s not like when our parents came to New York, planted their feet down, settled in a house, found a low wage paying job and got married. 


By no means has it ever been easy, but I feel that the difference from then and now is commitment, or lack thereof. More young people are not tied down to relationships and leases. They are going back to school for lack of ideas or better options. They are traveling to avoid commitments. Instead of trying to establish a career, they are competing for unpaid internships or temporary jobs. You may have been a big fish in the small pond where you came from, but now you're swimming in the biggest ocean in the world. 

There seems to be a lot more pressure on young adults these days. A college degree is way more expensive and doesn’t guarantee a job anymore, leaving us with a whole lot of loans and debt and no way to pay it back. If you are lucky enough to graduate debt free with a job, you will probably find that companies are looking for more education like a master’s degree or certificate. 


A bit clueless of what to do in life? Why does a young ambitious 20 year old come to NYC?

“Because,” like Jay-Z quotes.


The simple fact of knowing you can do it. The idea of "finding yourself," or just for the experience. The majority of those who come here are in the creative field, like arts, public relations, music, film, publishing and media. But these industries and companies are looking to pay the least they can get away with. Because of this those in their 20's are waiting in line for these temporary "stipend," internships and jobs. Why? Because it means no commitment. 

Meeting cool new interesting people, trying out for as many acting and modeling shows you can, going out to all the hip concerts and venues, interning at random companies, and dating all the singles while you are "young."

I read in the New York Times that one-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year and forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. People go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s. Two-thirds of them spend at least some time living with a partner without being married, and marriage is occurring later than ever! 

Our once big dreams of Frank Sinatra moving to old New York, falling in love, marrying, and finding your dream job seems to slowly be fading into other dreams. What people in their 20s would rather be doing is meeting cool, new and interesting people, trying out for as many acting and modeling shows they can, going out to all the hip concerts and venues, interning at random companies, and dating all the singles while they are "young."  

The new crop of people coming to New York may have no secure job, no relationship, and no house. We have no idea where we are heading in the next couple months, not to mention next couple years, but that’s just what we want. 

Despite all of this, we still come here for the same reasons, only now it is harder to make it in our dream field. Therefore, we are left unattached, because we don't want to settle for less. We young adults don't feel so content marrying young, having a 9-5 job, or staying home all day cooking and taking care of the kids. I know I'd rather live my life as a nomad, taking all I can in now, then waking up when I'm 30 and regret not doing it. 

It's called a fear of missing out, or FOMO. We are full of energy, creativity, passion, and have all this technology to see what is going on out there. Not committing to anything feels like the only way to experience everything that is out there and believe me, we don't want to miss a thing!

Me with My Boyfriend




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