Greetings from New York City
Salary and Benefits
-- average annual income $29,000.
yeah one would think that in NYC everybody's rich but this is what the latest census found. As for myself, this is not applicable as I run my own business and am always in the red.
-- minimum wage $6. an hour; probably $3 or less per hour or 30 cents per piece if you are an illegal worker
-- health insurance/benefits (public or private)
not every US company provides health care to their workers nowadays and if they do, there's usually a $100. deductible then 50-70% coverage. If you visit the hospitals' emergency rooms, you will be billed on a sliding scale according to your income which translates to roughly $0-400. per visit, tests and medicine not included.
-- unemployment insurance/benefits
I think it's 60-70% of your last earned wage, for 1.5 years. I may be worng since I have never been unemployed (!) My friend in San Francisco had horror stories though--he was told the bad news by the company at 6 AM and was not allowed to collect his personal belongings until after 8 PM the following day. His software designer's job was outsourced.
Food and Drink
-- how much is a cup of coffee or tea? $1.25 in my neighbood diner with free refills; 7 times that at the Ritz-Carlton, no refills.
-- how much is a glass/bottle of beer? $2. per bottle at the market; $3.50-5. per galss at Mustang Sally's in Chelsea.
-- what is the cost of a pint of vodka? $5. at "The Library" (the most awesome place in town so sayeth Time Out magazine) but if you don't care about quality and the company you keep, a larger but definitely more inferior bottle can be found in East New York, Brooklyn for $2.99.
-- how much is a scoop of ice cream? small $1.50 medium $2.50 large $4.(yeah this is NYC and it is usually "no enough cold")
-- what is the average cost of lunch and what does it consist of?
from 50 cents for a barbecue pork bun in any Chinese bakery to $75. for a pseudo chic chow in SoHo.
-- and the avg. cost of a dinner out at a restaurant for 2 people?
if you know where to go, you can do it for well under $55. (incl beer) in the FIT area; the upper upper east side; Williamsburg, Brooklyn or Long Island City, Queens.
-- how much does gasoline cost? $2.29 per gallon, and rising.
-- what is the Taxi fare from airport to centre of town? $50. or more if you run into them gypsie cabbies.
-- how much is fare for public buses/trains/underground (from home to work)? $2. each way for both buses and subway trains with free transfers; if you put $10. on your MetroCard (fare card) for a bonus of 2 extra rides.
-- what is the cost of a pair of socks? 3 for 99 cents at King's in the south Bronx; or $15.99 for a pair of Anna Sui hot socks.
-- and the cost of a pair of shoes? $19.95 for a decent pair of Doc Marten knock-off at King's (second pair half price); or $300. for Prada's.
-- average price of clothes for work/school? about $20-40.
-- and price of fancy clothes? I usually forgo that thought and put a down payment on art instead.
-- how much is a bunch of flowers? $6-10 per dozen roses or 50 cents to $2. per stem (NYC always reminds people of "Maria Full of Grace").
-- how much is Gazzetta dello Sport? $4.
(but once a week I can get it from my friend Ali at the newstand, with the logo cut off--hey that's ok because they usually feature Milan news near the logo.)
-- how much is an iPod? $299.95 but cheaper if you try craigslist.
-- what is the admission cost to a movie? $10-12. although the Carroll Gardens cinema in Brooklyn has a Sunday morning special of $5 for a double feature. The only draw back is having to get up for the 9 AM showing of "Bowling for Columbine."
-- how much is the new Harry Potter book? $19.95
-- and, how much is a voume of Michel Foucault's The Order of Things? $19.95 also at Borders last time I checked; $9.95 [if available] at the Strand and $3. on the sidewalk tables at 116th Street and Amsterdam if you don't mind a stained cover.
-- what is the admission fee to the art museum? Ranges from $6 at the Brooklyn Museum; $12. for the Met, Frick, Whitney and $20. for the Museum of Modern Art. Most musea have free admission periods--usually on Thursdays or Fridays between 6-8 PM.
Departure and Arrival
-- how do you say hello? a kiss, "Yo!" or some unprintable exclaimations
-- how do you say goodbye? "Bleed me dry baby." Or, to quote my commie pinko colleague: "Give 'em hell."