Operation NYC

By | April 18, 2016

The first two weeks in April, I hung out in Manhattan cat-sitting for several friends. Astute readers know that I’m a big fan of random projects, so I’m pretty thrilled to announce that I absolutely SLAYED the one I undertook during that period. I called it “Operation Enjoy N-Y-C. Yeah, You Know Me.” It involved me going out in New York and doing stuff. The bad news is that while I was kicking so much ass in Operation NYC, my “Be a writer” resolution lay neglected in my brain only popping up guiltily on the subway.

All of this is to say that I don’t have a long post for you today, but here’s a happiness-related insight that I keep learning and that you probably already know because you’re better at life than I am and because I’ve written about it before.

Good Relationships are a Key Aspect of Happiness

According to my journal, today is the anniversary of the day last year when I started “Operation Enjoy the Crap Out of Sydney While I Still Can.” I am SO MUCH HAPPIER with my life now that I understand this skill. Ask people to do things with you. Go do things with people. Have close friendships. Look forward and enjoy the days. Be happy. Like your life.

I love New York. It’s not about the food or the public transportation or the walkability or the sheer amount of options for entertainment. I love New York because I know a lot of people there that 1) like to hang out and 2) are keen to hang out repeatedly with hastily-planned interactions.

If you’ll recall, the research shows that close friendships exist when you have:

  1. Repeated, unplanned interactions
  2. A setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other
  3. Close Proximity

Law school friends, work friends, college friends, trip friends, family, family friends, friends of friends all reside in close proximity to me when I’m in NY. I asked them to do things with me. They asked me to do things with them. We did them. We became closer. This is how life works. I know this is a single data point and I’m just one voice in the void shouting at you (SORRY ABOUT THAT), but I’m fairly confident that asking people to do things with you is the new Prozac.

Now I just need to figure out how to weigh the “close proximity” thing against my deep-seated and almost pathological wanderlust.

Here are some pictures to pad out this article a bit more and because I’ve been told repeatedly that real pictures are better than my treasured clipart.


I was cat-sitting her, but she made it pretty clear I was a poor substitute for her parents. “Get out of my house.”


I wonder if people pole dancing on the subways is a real problem.


Felix is the only one who didn’t despise me.

My sister walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. No, we're not twins.

My sister walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. No, we’re not twins.


I take really terrible pictures. The view of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. Some guy was selling tickets to the Ferry outside my apartment. The Staten Island Ferry is free. Don’t engage with people who approach you. I should have said something to the tourists who were buying his tickets. :-/


Okay, Yoko tolerated me too.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

6 thoughts on “Operation NYC

  1. ambertreeleaves

    That sounds like a nice way to be in NYC. It is a city I like as well. It is high on my visit list.

    I guess it is ok to be less of a writer when having so much fun in a great city.

  2. Thriftygal Post author

    Huh, I used to see signs for “No durian eating” on the subway somewhere in Asia. I guess each place has it’s own set of unexpected cultural norms that people need to be told sternly in sign form.

  3. takalak

    Wow those are some pleasantly plump cats. I’m pretty sure the last cat is actually a dog but I wouldn’t bet the farm. I need to get better at asking people to do stuff with me. Blame it on being too busy with work. Maybe after FIRE it becomes easy to create the prozac feeling.

  4. mr. wells

    yes, pole dancing is a HUGE problem in nyc (also known as “showtime”)

  5. Rob

    How do you manage costs and being thrifty when visiting fam and friends? My wife and I go out to eat sometimes, but hardly ever go out drinking anymore, and i know we’re a lot more thrifty than many of our friends and fam. When you are hanging out do you ever feel pressure to go out and spend more than you would normally (especially when in a city like NYC with it’s $9 beers, etc!) on food, expensive activities or transport and nights out?


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