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  • Writer's pictureDante

Dear Dante, Season 4

In which a newcomer to the city receives a warm welcome.

Dear Dante,

I’m an incoming freshman from a small midwestern town, and I’m so excited to move to NYC! But should I be? I’m getting worried about coming to such a big city with so many new people. I consider myself an extrovert, but I still feel like I’m gonna be overwhelmed by Manhattan and its scene—do you think I am?

Please let me know/reassure me.


CC ’25

Illustration by Aeja Rosette


There’s a phrase that comes to mind whenever I hear a story like yours. It goes: New York doesn’t want you. It sounds harsh, and it is harsh, but the number one rule of living in this city is to shut up and take it. Showing up with expectations for anything but a terrible time is, to put it plainly, laughably stupid.

The city takes, it does not give, and the second rule of living in it is that you shouldn’t want to be here. Excitement is tacky, and optimism is a pre-Y2K thing. Being an “extrovert” (which is repulsive, by the way) won’t do you any good if everyone in the club views you as a kid on take-your-child-to-work-day, just there to see real leather for the first time in your life. Keep blabbering about meeting people, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and enjoying yourself, and people will avoid you like they avoid the water-bottle guy’s bulge (which is to say, by a thirty-foot radius). So leave your Nebraska goggles at the door—or just don’t come at all.

Whatever barley-wrapped textbooks they had you using back home in the City of Ember clearly missed a few lessons. Because if you’d ever read anything authentic about the island of Manhattan, this would all be old news to you. Since it’s clearly not, your best bet might be to try living someplace with a bit less bite. Maybe swim across the river and “make the most” of Hoboken. It’s a nice town, and I’m sure the Cake Boss family would be happy to have you.

Consider yourself reassured.

Best of luck,


P.S. And just a tip. You’re clearly a curious and foolish kid. But Buddy (the reigning Cake Boss) gets angry when asked questions. So I’d drop the whole Katie Couric routine unless you want a frozen brick of fondant to the face.


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