7 Safety tips for a solo-girl exploring NYC


Housemate Advice comes from an Our Place Housemate with knowledge to share. Here, Tania Quiros from Costa Rica shares safety tips for exploring NYC on your own.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘common sense isn’t always common’? Some of the following tips may sound obvious but a simple reminder can go a long way. Keep them in mind before heading out to explore the BIG city!


1. Act, look, BE confident

Look like you know where you’re going, even if you don't! It's a fast-paced city, walk confidently, head high, with a smile on your face ;)

2. Blend with the locals

There is nothing wrong with being a tourist or visitor, and you may want to stand out with a chic outfit, it’s New York, right? But we are talking about minimizing risks, you don’t want to have all eyes on you when trying to find your way around, so, dress comfortably and appropriately for the day’s activities.

3. Don’t carry a big bag

We girls manage to carry a million things in our bags, but do we really need all that? Not in NYC! Essentials things only. Carry a copy of your ID and passport, your phone and money in a safe small bag. Don’t forget your lip balm!


4. Taking the subway…

can be quite the adventure but it can be a little intimidating if you’re not used to it. To avoid looking like you’re lost you want to know where you’re going. Phone apps like Google maps or Citymapper can get you around, but if you can memorize where the stations are and which trains you need to take you won’t have to be looking at your phone the entire time.

5. Once on the subway

Keep your belongings at sight, don’t put things in your back pockets, look around, see who’s next to you. Be calm, confident and if something odd is going in the subway car you’re in. Switch to the next car at the next stop.

It’s wise to have your wits about you at all times of the day and night, but be particular alert if you must ride the subway alone late at night. If you do have to travel alone, choose the car with at least 5-10 people on it. There is power in numbers, even if they are strangers to you.


6. Careful with your money

If USD is not your currency, there’s homework to do. Research and ask around to get an idea of what are reasonable prices for the things you want to do/buy.

Don’t carry all your money with you and only take it out when you’re at the register to make a purchase - never in the middle of a crowded area.

7. Out at night

Nightlife in NYC is very exciting and a must-have experience. We’ve all heard about Times Square and the trillion bars and clubs there are, right? If you’re into checking it out, enjoy it! Just be sure to be aware of your surroundings and yourself. Drinking is fun, but make sure you are well enough to navigate your way back home at the end of the night. Be mindful who you befriend, and use your better judgment when considering leaving the bar/club with new friends.


Bonus: If you’re feeling uneasy and not confident enough to go out and about on your own, join a group! There are many tours and activities for travelers. Not only will it make you feel safer, it will also give you the chance to meet new people and make new friends!


Keeping safe when traveling should be your No.1 priority but that should not keep you from enjoying your trip! Don’t be afraid to go out and explore the amazing city of New York; just Trust Your Instincts, and use your street smarts!


Broadway without going Broke - 6 Tips


#HousemateAdvice comes from a current or past Our Place Housemate. Liedewei, from Belgium, shares her tips for seeing Broadway one the cheap.

Hi! My name is Liedewei. I’ve been living at Our Place for quite some time now and for me the most exciting thing in the city is the amazing variety of musicals and plays. You could spend every night at the theatre and still see a different show every day. “Yeah right, maybe if you have an unlimited bank account”, I hear you say as you read this, but going to the theatre doesn’t have to be expensive. Read on for 6 different ways to see a Broadway show and still have money for groceries.


1. Download an app

There are a few apps to help you find discounted tickets. I always use TodayTix. This app lists numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as other select types of shows across NYC (and other cities). Browse through their offerings or search for that specific play you’ve been dying to see and check out their discounts for the next couple of weeks. If you can’t find a nice deal today, maybe something will pop up tomorrow. Be aware of the additional fees as you budget your night out - most of my purchases had a $12.50 fee per ticket.


2. Rush hour tickets

If you want to avoid fees (which come along with most tickets), try rush tickets. These tickets are usually $29-$50 and sold at the box office on a first come first serve basis. True fans might be standing in line hours before the box office opens! I “rushed” once to see Jason Mraz in Waitress… I arrived at the box office 2 hours prior to opening and was the last one to get a ticket, leaving lots of people behind me empty handed. If you’re considering rushing, come prepared! Dress according to the season, bring food & drink and a friend to keep your spot when you need a bathroom break. These tickets might not be the best seats in the theatre, since they are generally the last ones to be sold, but your wallet will thank you.

3. Standing room tickets

For some shows you can buy a standing room ticket. These are generally a few dollars cheaper than the rush hour tickets. Most of the shows will only offer these tickets when the theater is sold out. In other words: it’s a nice way to sneak into the popular shows, if you are willing to stand the whole evening.

4. Broadway Lottery

Some shows give you the option to enter for a chance to win up to 2 cheap tickets ($10-$50) to a same-day or next-day performance. Depending on the show, you can either enter in person or online. Participating in the lottery is free, but if you win you’ll need to pay for the discounted ticket/s.

In person: Frankly, I have never done an in person lottery. From what I’ve heard, you show up at the theatre at a certain time, enter your name and the number of tickets you want (1 or 2) and wait for the lucky names to be drawn. An Our Place housemate won an in-person lottery for Book of Mormon, and paid $32 per ticket to sit in the front center row.


Online: The majority of Broadway shows I have seen were online lottery wins. There are 2 websites that give access to a variety of lotteries: Lucky Seat and Broadway Direct. If you win, both sites give you exactly 1 hour from the announcement to purchase the tickets before they get passed onto the next person in line.

Lucky Seat hosts $30-$42 (per ticket) lotteries for musicals across America. You can enter anytime for the next 7 days and you can even arrange for a text message to notify you when you have won. This is handy since you may not be looking at your email when the announcement as made and you don’t want to miss that 1 hour window to purchase.

To win $30-$42 tickets from Broadway Direct, you’ll have to enter for each show during the period that the lottery is open which is generally the same night or next day as the show. They will email the results when the lottery closes, which is at a different time for every lottery. I’ve missed a lot of wins due to this system, so now I set an alarm whenever I play on this site.

Hamilton: If you’re one of the many people who want to see Hamilton without emptying your bank account, there are two ways to win the opportunity to purchase their $10 tickets. You can enter Lucky Seat, AND on Hamilton’s very own app! The app also gives you access to a lot more content about the musical such as merchandise, news, trivia and karaoke, just through a few clicks on your smartphone.

Visit this post from Playbill.com to learn which shows have rush hour tickets, standing room tickets and lotteries.


5. Broadway Roulette

If your goal is to see a Broadway show and you don’t have a preference or particular show in mind, Broadway Roulette might be for you. For $49-$59 you choose a date and they let you know what show you will be attending. Interested? Give it a shot ;)

6. Broadway Week

Last but not least, ‘Broadway Week’ happens twice a year. During this time period (which is often longer than a week), select shows offer 2-for-1 tickets. Sales start a few weeks in advance on Broadway Show Tickets, NYC Go, or on a regular ticket sale website with the BWAYWK promo code. For the specific period and rules, Google will tell all!


Hopefully you’re already on your way to a Broadway show at discount, but if you still have questions, www.playbill.com can be a very helpful website. Keep an eye out for show-specific offers such as discounted tickets, 2-for-1 tickets, second ticket for $10, free anniversary performances, and more. I often stumble upon these offers on social media. In any case, best of luck with the lottery! And please take me as your +1…


Where to Start When Moving to NYC


#HousemateAdvice comes from a current or past Our Place Housemate. Magda, from Illinois, shares what her experience was like as she prepared for her move to New York City and provides some insightful advice to those who may be considering taking the plunge.

Sowing Gypsy Roots

The concept of gypsy spirits moving to new, exciting cities is a fairytale notion rooted in the American culture of how we view ourselves. Yet if you dare try to live up to it, you’ll find that most people haven’t done it, the idea terrifies them, and no one seems to have any idea of how to do so successfully.

When I dropped out of college in 2016, I knew with absolute certainty that I would move to New York City. But as I headed home and watched the frozen cornfields stretch behind, I struggled to develop a checklist of things I needed to do. I had never lived on my own before, I had never been to NYC before, I didn’t know anyone there, and I didn’t dare breathe a word of my scheme to anyone in fear that they would believe I’d officially become insane.

Now five months in the city, I’m certainly no expert, but people have commented on how well I’m adjusting here. No two stories are the same, so I can’t give you that surefire checklist we all crave, but hopefully the following advice will help your daydreams turn into a reality.


Setting a Date

The first step is to set a goal date for when you want to arrive at your destination. While seemingly redundant, this is extremely important for it develops your fanciful wish of moving into more of a concrete goal. The date, at first, can be an abstract notion, like how I planned on being in NYC some time in 2018. This was vague enough to allow myself flexibility for realities but set my brain into believing that I was moving.


Financial Goal

As I’m sure you’ve heard and will hear a thousand more times, NYC is super expensive. You need to have money saved before coming here.

How much really depends on your needs. For example, how good are you at budgeting? Do you have/how are you with credit cards? Do you have a job lined up? Do you have loan payments? These questions and reviewing your spending habits will help shape your financial goal, but bottom line, it should be no less than $5,000 which does not include your first payment in housing.

After figuring out a financial goal, calculate how much money to save in accordance with your time goal. These two goals should complement to make your moving plans accomplishable, so use them to keep perspective.



The sad fact is that nothing prepares you living in a place better than actually being there. If you’re like me and don’t have the luxury of scouting ahead, moving may be particularly intimidating, but research helps to calm the nerves, and here are two things I did to prepare:

1. First off, I asked as many people as I could about living in NYC. Everyone’s NYC experience is so different that unfortunately there’s no set guide on how to make it. Your sources may not give you the information you want, but keep trying, and when asking for advice, give specific questions to avoid vague answers. Tailor them to your needs. Two more general questions I recommend asking about NYC are:

  • What form of advice did you wish someone gave you before you moved to New York?

  • Any neighborhood specific questions.

2. Since you’re reading Our Place’s blog, you’re already doing the second bit of researching through written sources. I found that these were as unhelpful as the spoken word but look anyway. Hopefully this blog helps, and if you have any questions, or suggestions for links to other helpful sights, please share them in the comments below!



Housing in NYC operates differently than anywhere else, so much so that it warrants its own blog post, but what I’d recommend for newcomers is subletting. It’s a great way to set up, as you’re not tied down to a lease. You can explore neighborhoods at your leisure, and since subletting can work on a month-to-month basis, you’re not tied down to NYC if you end up hating it.

With rent costing generally around $1,000 a month, newcomers should also brace yourselves with the reality that most of your paycheck will go towards rent. Affordable housing, like Our Place, is out there, but finding these rare gems requires digging and fast action. Figure out your living needs before apartment hunting, so you don’t sign onto an apartment that will drain your spirits and money.

Some housing sites to consider are Craigslist, EasyRoommate, and Facebook groups like Gypsy Housing and New York Sublets and Subleases.



If you’re also moving on a whim and arriving without a job, have enough money saved that you don’t feel pressured to work for at the least the first month. Your first month will be exciting as you’re more a tourist than resident. Accept it and spend it as a tourist with the freedom to explore without a routine.

Having a money cushion allows you to calmly decide on employment. You shouldn’t feel forced to jump on the first job you get as you could hate it, which would drain your spirits fast. Also, the NYC job market moves quickly, so don’t feel discouraged if it does take you a little while to find work.

Lastly, NYC isn’t very big with training, so if there’s an industry you’re interested in, even if it’s just restaurants or retail, get some experience in it before coming here to better your chances of landing a job.

Best ways to look for jobs are through Craigslist, Indeed.com, or just walk ins.



There are many crafty ways to get around NYC, but for a newcomer, the best way to get around is walking. You get acquainted with neighborhoods and stumbleupon places you might visit.

But of course, you can’t really live in NYC without using the MTA. The bus system usually intimidates newcomers, but the colorful, straightforward subway map is more welcoming. If you know how to read the map and the signs in the stations, navigating the subway is easy. There are unlimited ticket options for those who take the train a lot. For newcomers, I suggest getting the unlimited monthly, as it works both on trains and buses, makes you worry less about the amount on your card, and lets you focus on just navigating the city.

For more information on the MTA, here’s a link to Fares and Subway Map



While often painted as a flurry of time which storytellers hate to divulge in, I feel that my last bit of advice needs to be on waiting. After all, it is half the battle of getting what you want and the thing you’ll find yourself doing most while preparing to move. It’s the hardest state to be in when the only action you’re capable of is marking a day off the calendar. Despite the pressing restlessness, keep in mind that when perspective pushes through, one day you’ll find you did more than only that.

Being patient gives your subconscious time to figure things out.  For me, this happened one early 2017 June evening. I had locked up my job, and as I walked across the parking lot to my car, suddenly, as if I breathed it in through the cool dusk, my NYC arrival date popped into my head. It was a nonsensical date, March 12, but it locked into my mind, and that date ended up being the perfect time for getting in order everything I needed. If I had rushed or narrow-mindedly stuck to an early decision, I wouldn’t have been open for the puzzle pieces to fall into their places.

Being patient builds your perseverance. Things come up. While adaptability is important, don’t let anything get in the way of what you need and want. Money is unfortunately essential, and not dipping into saved earnings is hard. Honestly, you most likely will—I certainly had to. But despite each apparent setback, you will always be able to earn more. Don’t look at money as your deciding factor that permits you to move. Money will always fluctuate and make you doubt, but time’s more concrete, and when you feel like it’s time to go, it is.

Lastly, being patient builds your confidence. No person’s an island, and we all have ties and relationship obligations. While they may at first come off as adverse towards your plan, people who care about you will understand and be supportive in your decision. Their lack of enthusiasm stems from worry, and they’ll try to make your decisions for you in their attempts to have you avoid pain, but in the end, you know what’s best for you, so stick with it and believe that you know what you’re doing.  


They say if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere, but I’ve found that NYC isn’t about making it. It’s about taking from it. It’s a pulse point of humanity, where so many ideas, passions, cultures, and individuals come to wander. No wonder so many gypsy spirits at some point end up in New York, for the indescribable sensation of what makes life worth living can be found swimming in its veins. So as you make your plans and find yourself impatiently marking one more day off the calendar, as you dream of New York, expect for things to go horrifically wrong here, expect to be wonderfully surprised, expect to be completely broke, and most importantly, expect to be living in the middle of something extraordinary.



How to Have an Amazing Summer of Dance and The City


#HousemateAdvice comes from a current or past Our Place Housemate. Jet, from the Netherlands, shares her advice for dancers coming to New York City.

New York City: a true heaven for dancers. From age 14, my biggest dream was to go to New York and experience the dance scene I had been watching in my favorite dance movies like Honey, You Got Served, Step Up, Fame and so on and so on…

My name is Henriëtte Robert and in the summer of 2017, after graduating with my Bachelor of Dance Education in The Netherlands, it was time to make this dream come true. My plan was to visit New York for 4 weeks. It was going to be my first trip alone, ever. Are you about to do this too? Well then here are 10 tips to help you make the best out of your trip to Dancers Heaven aka the Greatest City in the World aka New.York.City.

Dance friends at Gibney.jpg

1. Find good and stable housing

You have found this website, so I guess you’re doing a good job on this one already. When you travel alone, good housing is the foundation of a pleasant stay. At first, I struggled with finding the right housing in New York. I was able to arrange an apartment in Manhattan, but although it would be in a hot spot location, it didn’t feel right to be there all by myself, in a big city I didn’t know. So I started searching every website I knew and eventually found the advertisement of Our Place. As soon as I read it, I thought: this is perfect!

Bowie cuddling up in my bed on my first night at Our Place

Bowie cuddling up in my bed on my first night at Our Place

Out with Our Place housemates

Out with Our Place housemates

Our Place seemed to be a house where people want to connect with other new people, the international vibe and, of course… there was the cat. The cat convinced me that there must be very sweet people living inside that house! And it turned out to be true. As soon as I arrived, I immediately felt at home. What a beautiful and nice place. I remember lying in bed the first night, Bowie (yes, the cat) laid by my side and I just knew: This is going to be the best trip of my life so far!


2. Join a dance program so you get to meet other dancers

Out with friends from my dance program

Out with friends from my dance program

But of course, even with how much I liked spending time with the cat, I was there with the goal of dancing as much as I could.

Because I was there on my own, I wanted to meet new people. I thought it would be helpful to join a dance program. This way, I could train with the same group of people for a whole week (or more) and therefore get to know them much better than if I was just taking random drop-in classes. While still in Holland, I had applied for a short summer intensive at Gibney Dance Center in Manhattan. For one week, it gave me a structured day-to-day routine and I was surprised how little time it took me to feel as if I had been living in the city forever. I met the most amazing people, mostly dancers that were also traveling alone and staying in New York for the summer. So even when the intensive was finished, we kept meeting up with each other.


3. Arrive a few days early before your program starts

This way, you can explore the neighborhood, and practical things like the supermarket, the laundromat, the route to the dance studio and how much time it takes you (or the train) to get there. This way you won’t be late on your first day, which is always my biggest fear when I am new as a dance student. Luckily, Our Place is located right next to a train stop that will take you to downtown Manhattan in 30-45 minutes. If you need to get to mid- or uptown it can take you a little longer, so be aware of that!


4. Drop-in Classes

When your summer intensive is finished, you should take the chance to explore the rest of the dance scene in New York City. There are so many exciting dance studios that offer daily drop-in classes in every dance style. If you like the more commercial dance world, you should definitely visit Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. If you are a little less outgoing, you might like Peri Dance, which I found to be a little more quiet & easygoing. At Gibney Dance they teach all kinds of contemporary styles. And of course there’s Alvin Ailey…! So.Much.Choice!

Finding teachers that are right for you is always tough. So ask around among people that have been dancing in NY before and see if they know nice teachers you should go to. But also, don’t be afraid to try something new or to pick ‘the wrong’ teacher. You will always learn something, right?

Don’t feel the rush to do it all, it’s better to dive into one or two schools and get the chance to really explore it. Leave something to explore for when you come back to New York next time (because you probably will).


5. Don’t forget to also play the tourist-role

With Matisse in MoMA.jpg

Of course you want to dance as much as you can, but I definitely recommend to combine your classes with doing touristy stuff. It’s so easy and fun! For example, visit a museum and afterwards take the train to one of the dance studios. Or start the day with a morning class and spend the rest of the day exploring the city. That’s what I did most of the time, and the freedom I felt was so amazing! Make a list of things you want to see or do, and of course don’t forget to see a Broadway Show!


6. Easy going days to give your body some rest

You may feel tired from all the dancing or the busy city-life, so don’t forget to take a break. Here are some restful considerations:

  • Stay in Brooklyn. There are so many nice areas in Brooklyn where you can walk around, visit shops and drink great coffee.

  • Visit Prospect Park. (also huge! And not so crowded when I was there) and read a book or fall asleep. (Great tip if you feel hangovered after doing #7).

  • Have a beach day. There is a beach where you can go by train (I didn’t know that, but I was so happy when I found out about it!) Relax on the beach and give your body some rest. Governor’s Island is also very quiet.

  • And if you really need to get away from the city, it’s perfect to make a 1 or 2 day-trip to another city nearby. Just take the bus and you’ll be in Washington in 4 hours, or another great place!


7. NYC, the city that never sleeps

Of course, you love dancing so you HAVE to experience the New York party scene. There are so many nice bars, clubs and you know what the best part is? EVERYBODY DANCES! Or at least, in the places where I went.

I’m from The Netherlands so I’m used to people doing the husband-step or people throwing one fist in the air the whole night. But New York is FILLED with talented people and they are not afraid to show it on the dance floor. So dancers… show them what you got! You can ask around what nice bars are, or if you like silent disco there is an app called Silent Clubbing that shows you the upcoming parties in New York.


8. Let the city decide

brooklyn bridge.JPG

One thing I can definitely recommend you doing: don’t make a plan. Take the train to somewhere in Manhattan, and start walking around. This city is so full of interesting and inspiring people, locations and events, that the city will take you to amazing experiences and sights, without you having to plan it. There really never is a dull day in the City. Let the city take you to where you should be in that moment and have a little adventure!

Ice Coffee at Gibney entrance.jpg

9. Have lots of great (ice) coffee

Finding good coffee is important! And in New York you typically don’t have to search long as great coffee is usually right around the corner. And that’s certainly the truth for Our Place! There’s a great coffee spot called Stonefruit that has the most delicious muffins I ever had (seriously) and the greatest coffee I still miss ‘till this day. So check it out! Laura also knows many other great spots for you to try.


10. Dare to connect

If you are a dancer and aspire a professional career in the dancing field in New York, then don’t forget to network while you are here. Put yourself out there, also during classes. Dare to ask questions, show them your motivation, and be open and fearless. Speak with as many people as you can about your dreams and don’t forget to bring your business card (if you have one)! You never know where it will take you… I found New York dancers to be very open, interested and willing to connect with other dancers around the world. So don’t miss out on that opportunity!



Love, Henriëtte