Big in the City: My Life as a Plus-Sized Man in NYC

Reggie in NYC
Meet Reggie Wade

New York City: the city of dreams, and my hometown. As the largest city in the United States, many people would think it’s the perfect place for a man of size to set up shop – unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong, the shirt doesn’t lie—I Love New York, but it can be rough on guys like us. Though there’s a lot of real estate crammed into these five boroughs, it’s not the amount of land that makes New York big—it’s the people. So many people and so little room can be a nightmare for a bigger man. Just walking on crowded sidewalks is an ordeal—but it’s worth the adventure – you never know what you’re going to see. 

Let’s take a trip around New York, and I’ll show you what it’s like to be a big man in the big city.

A Big Man Rides the NYC Subway
The subway can be a bit cramped when you’re a big guy

Getting Around NYC

The first stop on our trip is something that New Yorkers get acquainted with very quickly: mass transit. The subway is the primary way people get around, and despite the hateful relationship most New Yorkers have with the MTA, the subway is truly amazing! You can literally get from one end of the city to the other in less than 2 hours for less than $3. The biggest problem we big guys run into on the subway is that there’s not a lot of space, and things can get cramped really quickly.

You’ll learn to practice something I like to call “big man etiquette.” Basically, it means you make sure you’re not taking up any more room than you physically need. Subway seats aren’t very large, so —it’s easy for a guy with some girth to take up two at a time. When I’m on the subway, I make a point not to sit unless I’m sure there’s enough room for other people to sit. If it looks like things might get a little cramped, I’ll stand for the duration of my ride. Thanks to benches, it’s not all doom and gloom on the subway. Instead of individual seats, some lines actually have bench seating, which is much more forgiving for those with a larger physique. If I have to take the subway, I try to plan my trip so that I can take a subway line that features bench seating.

Big Men in Little Seats at the Game
Enjoy the view at the Barclays Center

Entertaining Yourself in the City

When it comes to entertainment, you just can’t beat the Big Apple. We’ve got it all,  from Broadway, to Boardwalks, and everything in-between. Experiencing some of that entertainment can be an issue for guys our size. With so many people to accommodate, the already tiny seats at the movies or theater can be jammed tight.  This can be alleviated, however, if you find the right theater. Need more space? Try an IMAX theater for much more forgiving seats.

Yankee Stadium is More Plus Size Friendly
Yankees Stadium

If you’re into sports, the Big Apple is the place for you. Many major cities might only have one team per sport—in NYC, we have (at least) two! Attending a game in New York is an experience you’ll never forget. You won’t find fans like ours anywhere else in the country. We’re loud, and sometimes obnoxious, but man, do we love our sports. Whether it’s the taunting of opposing players, or the fans screaming “Don’t do it!” when an marriage proposal shows up on the big screen, sometimes the fans are more entertaining than the games.

Seats can be a problem for the big man at many stadiums, and New York is no exception. Most of our major league teams have newer stadiums with bigger seats,  but they still can be a bit tight.

The Barclays Center Luxury Box
You won’t have problems finding a good seat in a Barclays Center Luxury Box

Luckily there are plenty of extra roomy areas at these stadiums that will allow you to post up and lounge around a bit.

Cafe Con Pan Bakery
Time to dine!

Time to Dine in NYC

New York is known for many things,  but one thing that stands above all else is its food. The city is home to some of the greatest restaurants in the entire world—places that have the power to turn a big man into an even bigger man. Though the selection is amazing, it can be a double edged sword. Many of the trendiest spots aren’t very plus size friendly. It’s treacherous trying to maneuver around tight corners and awkwardly placed seating. Sometimes I want to be as trendy as the rest of my fellow New Yorkers, eating my cronut at a chic cafe, but the seating and lack of space usually forces me to take my food and go.

Because of this, I like to stick to the unpretentious 5th Avenue when it comes to food. No, not the 5th Avenue you’re thinking of. I’m talking 5th Avenue Brooklyn. I’m half Puerto Rican, and I can say without a doubt that NYC has some of the best Spanish Food this side of San Juan. My favorites include ‘La Isla Cuchifrito’ ‘International Restaurant’ and ‘Cafè Con Pan’ bakery. You can get everything from Flan, to my absolute favorite Dominican cake.

NYC Has Tasty Food in Spades

Now you’ve gotten a little taste of what it’s like to be a big man living in New York City. I would personally like to thank Bruce and the Chubstr team for allowing me to join such an amazing site. I look forward to adding my two cents on a variety of topics.