“Start spreading the news I'm leaving today I want to be a part of it New York, New York”
These famous lyrics by Frank Sinatra perfectly capture the age-old allure of moving to the Big Apple in search of a new adventure and better opportunities. As a result, “New York, New York” has become the city’s unofficial anthem.
But the song fails to mention how living in New York City is not for the faint of heart. It takes grit, ingenuity, and a thick skin. While the New York of today is a far cry from the crime-ridden days of old, it remains one-of-a-kind in terms of urban living.
Those thinking about moving to New York need all the help they can get. That boils down to having fair warning about the important things to know before making the move.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at six things you need to know before moving to New York City:
Space is limited
When it comes to living in New York, the first thing you need to remember is that there’s limited space available. Every inch is accounted for, especially in Manhattan. With this in mind, it’s no surprise the apartments are small, personal space is in short supply, and you can’t go far without running into someone else.
Being mindful of this prior to moving to New York will prove essential in your ability to adjust. Those used to quiet nights alone and open spaces are in for a rude awakening if they aren’t prepared.
Expect to pay a premium
First off, living in New York is expensive. Rent prices are sky-high, and even small apartments can cost thousands of dollars per month. Additionally, many buildings require a broker fee, which can amount to several months worth of rent.
Unless you earn six figures or more per year, chances are it will be hard to afford your own New York apartment. Even a humble studio will run north of $1500 per month, so be prepared to start thinking of ways to Save More Money and Free Up Your Budget.
The solution, for many, is to have roommates. Fortunately, coliving in NYC comes in many forms. For instance, there are services that help individuals find co-living arrangements in all five boroughs. Alternatively, you could rent a room in someone’s apartment or live with friends or family members.
But it’s not just rent that will cost a pretty penny. Groceries and amenities are also more expensive in New York City compared to other cities. The cost of living may be offset by higher salaries, but it’s important to consider the overall financial impact of living in New York.
No lollygagging allowed
There’s a general understanding that New Yorkers have a low tolerance for lollygaggers and listless pedestrians. While most stereotypes are untrue, this one is pretty accurate; stop and stand still for a few seconds on the streets of NYC, and you’re almost guaranteed to get shoulder-checked by someone passing by.
Generally speaking, New Yorkers have little patience for out-of-towners rubbernecking around every corner. The sooner you learn to move fast and be mindful of your surroundings before slowing down, the better.
Public transportation is convenient (and often necessary)
New York City boasts one of the best public transportation systems in the world, making it easy for residents to navigate the city without a car. In fact, the average New Yorker does not own a car. They take the subway. In rare instances, they hail a cab. Additionally, parking can be difficult to find and expensive when available.
With this in mind, many New Yorkers rely on public transportation. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the New York City Subway map and schedules before moving to New York City.
While you probably won’t be utilizing every line in your day-to-day life, having a general understanding of which ones take you to which stops will prove beneficial over time. You may also want to memorize a dozen or so key intersections in the event you call a cab to take you to your destination.
Trash on streets
Sadly, it’s true: trash on the streets of New York City is an all-too-common sight. The city deals with a considerable amount of waste and often struggles to keep up with the volume. This means that you may encounter overflowing garbage bins or bags left uncollected on sidewalks.
Particularly in Manhattan, the lack of alleyways means garbage is collected in the streets. As a result, mountains of trash accumulating along the curb are a common feature of New York.
Fortunately, the waste management system generally does a great job collecting the city’s trash on a reliable basis. Apart from the occasional garbage workers’ strike, the only thing you need to worry about is the smell of garbage as you walk by. But that’s life in the big city!
Safer than ever
New York City may have a reputation for crime, but the truth is that it’s safer than ever before. Violent crimes and property crimes have decreased significantly over the past few decades, and neighborhoods that were once deemed dangerous are now thriving with activity.
There was once a time when even the most hardened New Yorkers were scared to walk the city streets at night. While there are still high-crime areas to avoid, New York is far safer than it was 30 years ago.
Of course, as with any major city, there will always be certain precautions to take. Don’t flash expensive items or walk alone in dark and deserted areas at night, and always trust your gut if a situation feels unsafe.
True, you still need to be street smart and develop a sixth sense for potential trouble, but you don’t need to live in fear.
There’s always something going on
New York City is always buzzing with activity, day and night. Whether it’s a rooftop party in Brooklyn, a Broadway show, a museum exhibit, or just people-watching in Times Square, there’s never a shortage of things to do and see.
Living in New York means never being bored; the options for entertainment are endless. Get ready to add some extra padding to your social calendar because you’ll never have a dull moment in this city.
In conclusion, we once again reference the lyrics of “New York, New York”:
“And if I can make it there I can make it anywhere It’s up to you New York, New York!”
Overall, living in New York City can be an exhilarating experience filled with numerous opportunities. But it also comes with its own set of challenges that must be prepared for and navigated with care. In the end, it’s all worth it for those who can truly call themselves a New Yorker.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, health, and travel.