People move to New York City for all kinds of reasons. Some come here to pursue their dream job, live out some kind of small town fantasy, or even find love. Everyone has their own reason. Moving to NYC isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. Your first few years will be full of surprises, new experiences, and plenty of highs and lows
If you’re considering making a move to the Big Apple, here are 17 things you should know first…
You can get cultured for cheap
Museums, pop up exhibits, meet-up groups, walking tours… there are an endless amount of ways to learn about the history of the city as well as the different cultures that make it the unique melting pot it is. Most of the people you interact with will be from another city, state, or country. You’re forced to embrace the differences in people and look past any pre-conceived notions you may have had.
And although you may want to spend your free time lounging in the park and relaxing, there are plenty of options to choose from if you do decide to make the most of the weekends and explore the ins-and-outs of the city.
Bodegas are magical and will become your favorite place
Craving a late night snack? Your local bodega has you covered. Need toilet paper? A fresh deli sandwich, lottery tickets? Birthday candles and a broom? Your local bodega will never let you down. Bodegas are in almost neighborhood and have been an NYC staple for decades. Their convenient, affordable, and great for people watching.
Finding a good apartment is harder than finding a job
You’ll either have good space, good light, or good rent. You’ll never have all three. Sorry.
Learn to budget
Basically, if you live in NYC, you’ll always need more money than you have. Rent is astronomical and the cost of day-to-day living isn’t any better. Your morning coffee and cab ride to happy hour after work can unfortunately put a pretty big dent in your wallet. If you don’t have a financial plan in place when you arrive, you may go broke trying to keep up. Make sure to create a budget – and stick to it.
New Yorkers are actually nice (for the most part!)
Although we don’t always make eye contact and we tend to stare into our phones in most social settings, we don’t mind interacting with people! We’ gladly hold the door for you and give you directions if you need them.
Navigating the subway system
For starters, it will take you a couple of months to get comfortable with the subway. But once you do get comfortable, you’ll realize taking the train on the weekend is like taking a whole new subway system. The express trains always run on the local lines and track work is always being done. It’s confusing.
Trains are always crowded, doors will shut in your face, and the turnstile may or may not eat whatever money is left on your MetroCard. BUT, they’re still the fastest way to travel in the city. Taxis and Ubers will always get slowed down by traffic or rerouted because of construction. Some helpful tips: Always leave yourself 15 minutes more than you think you’ll need, and make sure to let people off the train before getting on. It’s just common courtesy.
Always check the weather before leaving your apartment
There’s nothing worse than getting caught in the rain with flats or the snow with heels. Cabs are hard to come by in inclement weather, so it’s always best to be prepared.
Everyone is always busy
Even though it took you months to find the right apartment, you probably won’t spend as much time there as you thought. Between work, after work events, happy hour, brunch, networking events, gym classes, and more, your time will be filled with so many obligations and options, you’ll need to schedule time for yourself to wind down and reflect.
You should tip at least 18% for everything that requires it, it’s expected, and the person providing you the service will resent you if you don’t.
Streets are a lot shorter than avenues
…and even streets go east, odd streets go west
There will always be scaffolding
You may hate the way it looks, but you’ll be thankful for it when you get caught in the rain without an umbrella
There are more food options available than you’ll be able to try in your lifetime
Take advantage of the different cuisines available all over the city, but don’t skip out on food carts and fruit and veggie stands if you’re looking for a convenience – and a bargain.
Most city parks offer free wifi
Although you’ll probably want wifi in your apartment, it’s nice to have the option to go outside and get some work done there – without being confined to your tiny apartment or office.
You don’t have any real control over your environment [and personal space is not a thing]
With over 8.5 million people in NYC, it’s hard to control your surroundings. The hustle and bustle slows down at night, but there are still people out enjoying everything this amazing place has to offer. Construction never stops, cabs and Ubers are available 24/7 – and so it never truly quiets down. Between the traffic, honking, construction sounds and random people yelling, it may seem loud at first, but everyone gets used to it. Give it some time and you won’t even notice it!
Gym memberships are expensive
You may not even need one, you’ll be walking almost everywhere. If you do decide you want one, though, you’ll have more options than you know what to do with. Do you like boxing? Cycling? Bootcamp style workouts? There are niche gyms for everybody.
Dishwashers and washing machines are a serious luxury
Other luxuries: an elevator, outdoor space, and an apartment close to a subway
Food shopping is like navigating an obstacle course
Only go food shopping when you’re mentally prepared – all grocery stores are crowded and have lines that wrap around the store… if this doesn’t sound like fun, order online from Fresh Direct. Nothing is better than getting your groceries delivered, especially when you have to walk up 3 flights of stairs to get to your apartment.