The Big Apple is one of the biggest and most bustling cities in the world. With a population of around 8 million people and one of the most competitive rent markets in the world, moving there can seem overwhelming at first. Don’t fret though, as we are here to help. Here are a few tips for moving to New York City, from a certified local business owner who has owned an NYC movers company for the past 10 years, that will help you get over your moving anxiety.
1. Start Looking for an Apartment as Early as Possible
As mentioned before, the New York City rental market is very competitive, especially now that the pandemic is over. If you want to find your dream home, or just a home at all, you should start looking for an apartment at least 3 to 4 months in advance. This is even more true if you have a pet, such as a dog, since most landlords tend to disallow them in their apartments. When you do find apartments that you are interested in, organize a viewing and consider taking a day trip to the city to see them.
It’s always a good idea to view apartments before you decide to move in, especially in a city as large as New York. Pictures are one thing, but you only see what the person who took those pictures wants you to see. Things such as mold, lack of appliances or water leakage can’t always be discerned from a simple photo. It’s also best to be present in order to check out the neighborhood and see if it’s a good fit.
Another reason you should start looking early is the cost. You can’t imagine how expensive some apartments can get in New York City, even when taking into consideration those that seem cheap at first. Most landlords require two month’s rent and a security deposit, which means you’ll have to pay up a lot of money upfront. Never mind other, hidden costs, such as the rental application or brokerage fees.
2. Check Out the Neighborhoods
Not all neighborhoods are the same in New York City. While some might dream of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, rent prices there are astronomical. It might be nice to live in the center of the city, where all the action is, but consider other neighborhoods, such as Queens or the Bronx. Long gone are the days of yore where these neighborhoods were considered unsafe to live in.
Now, with gentrification taking its hold on the city, they are just as safe as any other location. What might be different though is the atmosphere. Manhattan and other, more pricey locations, tend to be more crowded and filled with more entertainment and restaurants. The Bronx and Queens, for example, have a more residential feel to them, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Also take into consideration the fact that New York City has some of the best public transportation in the country. The metro will get you anywhere you need to go in record time compared to driving a car, and buses are a staple of the city. There are also the famous yellow cabs that will get you to your destination, although, to be fair, going anywhere by car in the city is an exercise in frustration.
3. Be Mindful of Culture Shocks
What you’ve heard is true enough: New Yorkers move fast, tend to ignore other people on the street and crossing at a red light is just another Thursday for them. Everything goes fast in the big city, except the traffic. There’s also the fact that the city is really crowded, and for some people, the amount of crowds can be very overwhelming at first, especially in Times Square. New Yorkers might seem cold and distant first, but once you get to know them, they are really friendly people.
Food is everywhere in the city, and the amount of variation will seem mind-boggling at first. As a consequence of the large number of immigrants that have moved to New York throughout the years, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries, you can find literally anything to quench your hunger. From the traditional pizza and hot dogs to the more exotic quesadillas and curries, you can literally go around the world eating in New York City.
One of the more egregious culture shocks is the traffic. New York Drivers tend to be aggressive and sometimes rude, which comes as a consequence of having to deal with a city that is all too often congested from a traffic point of view. It is of no surprise then that most New Yorkers choose not to own a car, preferring instead to use the public transit system to get around.
4. Maintain a Positive and Down to Earth Attitude
This is one of the most important tips we can give you when moving to New York City. It’s always best to keep a positive attitude when trying to do anything, but especially when trying to move to one of the biggest cities in the world. This is especially true if you’re coming from a small town, since most of the culture shocks we’ve outlined above will hit you just a little bit harder. Keep your head up though, you’ll eventually learn to live like a true New Yorker, you’ll get your dream apartment and you’ll for sure learn that complicated subway map.
Try not to view New York by putting it on a pedestal. This will help you when moving there, as the big city life isn’t as glamourous as it’s made out to be in movies and books. It’s a city like any other, with its own problems and issues. Maintain a realistic view of the world around you, and you will never be disappointed. It might be a little overwhelming at first, searching for an apartment and adapting to a new lifestyle, but in time, everything will turn out fine.