1. Passionate, driven and outgoing people, who all seem to have hidden talents and amazing life stories to share. It is rare to find an uninteresting person in New York, and most people are also really accomplished in something or another. Fashion, technology, finance, media, law, sports, medicine, performing arts...you name it. There are activities and social groups in every field, and most people love and are excited about what they do. People are young here, so they have that wide-eyed hungry look, willing to do anything and everything to follow their dreams. Of course, just like any other city, you'll find plentiful arrogant douches around town, but you come to love the people here for who they are, both good and bad. And the best part? Everyone is down to have some fun and are super open to making new friends.
2. How everyone is somehow connected to everyone. It could have been your best friend's college roommate's sister, but somehow, hitting that Facebook "mutual friends" button is always either a really pleasant or really horrifying surprise. It's also extremely likely that the new friend you just met at the bar was also involved in some similar social event as you. "Omg, do you know [xx]????" "Omg, YES." Two drinks later, you guys are now BFFs.
3. NYC Nightlife. More often referred to as just "going out" - usually beginning with a casual dinner turned into two drinks at a bar, then a drunken wait-let's-go-dancing followed by drunk food in K-town at 4 in the morning, and finally a really expensive cab ride home in which you gradually sober up and try to remember what happened. "Going out" is a rite of passage everyone must go through. Some places are classy like The Press Room and Sky Room that will give you sweeping views of the city champagne in hand, some are in hip underground tight spaces where most people would prefer a beer over a cocktail, and then there are of course the giant warehouses turned club venues that will have enough people, energy, booze, and music that'll keep you up until dawn. You will get a rush, a mind blowing rush from the lights, the music, the alcohol, the sweat, the glow sticks, the fact that it's 3 in the morning and you're in New York, and for that moment in time, nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, is on your mind, except for the experience you are having with the people around you. In a city when rush hour is a 24-hr phenomenon, there's no better way to relax and unwind than to hit up the clubs. But clubbing is a rite of passage, and it's just that - a passage. Watch out because if you stay more than your due time, it will only go downhill from there.
4. Don't let #3 fool you into thinking New York is just about the nightlife. There is a mind blowing number of festivals and cultural activities in town, especially in the summer. I went to the biannual Jazz Age Lawn Party here at Governor's Island last August. Everyone was dressed in 1920s attire, and we danced to live music in broad daylight. It was one of the best cultural experiences I ever had. (Below is a video, click to play! :D)
5. The Food. New York may not be world famous for its cuisine, but only here will you find the delicious inventions of cronuts, ramen burgers and the likes. Venture far enough into the Lower East Side or Williamsburg, and you'll find a whole new world of dangerously indulgent new flavors. Consider yourself warned. ;)