What You Should Know before Moving to New York City

October 22, 2021 / Written by Corporate Suites Staff

The Big Apple is a place like no other, attracting people from all over the world. Whether you’re new to New York City or have already lived here for years, you can’t deny that there are so many things to do and see. But if you’re moving here soon, there are some helpful tips for living in NYC that will make your transition easier and help you get settled into this fast-paced city more quickly. For example, it’s better to sign a short-term lease vs. a long-term one. Also, there are things you can do to save space if you are living in a tiny NYC apartment. We’ll go over those tips and more in this article.

NYC is the Land of Opportunity (and High Rent)

“Give us your tired your poor and those that can afford to live in expensive NYC apartments.” That play on words that adorns the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty that once welcomed the masses of immigrants coming to America is a common saying for good reason. It means that, although New York City has been a land of opportunity for centuries, it is the most expensive city to live in in the United States. 

Apartment Rents are at Least Half of an Average Salary

The median rent in NYC is $3,805 for a one-bedroom apartment unit, and that’s $45,660 annually. The average salary in the United States is $56,310, which translates to a median wage of $20.17 an hour. Even though you may get a cost of living wage bump for doing the same job in NYC, you can see the problem most people would have making ends meet while living in NYC, especially after taxes and other deductions. 

You Need to Make at Least $80K to Live in NYC

Yes, New York is an amazing city to live in and has some of the best opportunities for those who want them—but it’s also one of the most expensive places on Earth! To live in New York City, it’s recommended that you make at least $80,000 annually, which is interesting to note because only 46% of the U.S. working population makes $80K or above. 

If you don’t make at least that amount, you won’t have any money left over to pay average monthly expenses like utilities, transportation, groceries and food costs. These monthly expenses will run you about $1,814/monthly (and that figure is a little on the conservative side). So you can take that cost, multiply it by 12 and get $21,678. Add that to the cost of an apartment above to get $67,338, and you can see how a gross annual salary of $45,660 won’t cut it, and that you need to make at least $80K to live in NYC. 

Crowds are a part of Daily Life in NYC

If you’ve ever been to NYC during the holidays, you know how crowded it gets. New York City is built for convenience and not necessarily big crowds of people though. For example, there’s no such thing as a “rush hour” in Manhattan because everyone speeds around on their way from here to there—from work or home or errands or shopping or wherever. 

Most people don’t drive, and those that do will pay hefty garage parking fees in Brooklyn and Manhattan. If you decide to live here, you’ll likely take public transportation, but that means you have to wait in lines at busy subway stops and on crowded subways cars during peak hours almost every day of the year. 

How to See the Best View of the Statue of Liberty 

The best view of the iconic Statue of Liberty is from the Staten Island Ferry, which costs absolutely nothing to take. It’s a great way to see the NYC skyline because you are on the water, and there is no better place in the city for this view. You can also get close-up views of Lady Liberty if you visit one of the Statue Cruises tour providers that offer tours from various points around New York City. 

Stay Away from Times Square 

Times Square is a prime example of what happens when all the buildings and people in NYC cram into one small area. It’s loud, chaotic, expensive to get into certain places that are considered landmarks (that aren’t really landmarks because they’re just big billboards), and basically not worth it unless you have kids or want to watch massive amounts of tourists taking selfies with the Naked Cowboy. 

Other than that, avoid Times Square at all costs unless you are using it as a landmark to meet your friend or family member for lunch or dinner. You will be fighting the crowds and paying way too much money, so there is really no upside to visiting Times Square unless you want a photo and some overpriced food. 

How Many People Live in NYC?

According to the most recent census, The Big Apple has nearly eight and a half million people living within its city limits—that’s more than twice as many as Los Angeles or Chicago, which are considered to be two of the largest cities in America.

Public Transportation is Key to Living in NYC

Public transportation is the key to living in NYC, and the MTA subway system here is the best and most efficient way to get around. Tickets one way on the NYC subway system costs $2.75 for a ticket one way, and you can get a monthly pass for under $130. Using the MTA, you can go anywhere in the city for a fraction of the cost of what ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber charge, which is about $15-20 per trip. You get even bigger savings over taxis, which can be upwards of $40 or more, depending on traffic.

Know the Scooter and Bike Safety Rules

Electric bikes and scooters are all the rage in NYC right now, but they also can be dangerous forms of transportation. While your first instinct might be to rent one or take out a membership for using them on city streets, it is important that you only do so if you know how to ride and you’re familiar with the rules of biking in NYC. It’s also important that if you do rent one, you take it out on flat roads or paths where there is less traffic than city streets.

If you enjoy commuting by regular bicycle, then there are a lot of places you can get your heart pumping and ride a classic bike in the city. In addition, you can get a code from companies like Citi bike to ride one of their classic bikes as many times as you want to while your pass is active.

Keep it All Close to Home Base

You’re going to have a better time if you keep your neighborhood as your home base, and then just travel from there. This will save you money on transportation costs by not having to drive or take the subway out of your own area when you go somewhere else in NYC, so think twice before taking anything outside of this zone.

Avoid Long-Term Leases at all Costs

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when living in New York City is signing a long-term lease. With all that this city has to offer, there’s no way anyone would want to sign away their tenancy for more than one year at a time—and it’s even worse if they’re locked into an apartment that’s not even near their job or the places they want to hang out.

When you only sign a short-term lease, it gives you the ability to move around and switch apartments when your current lease is up without having to worry about breaking another rental agreement in NYC that’s going to cost an arm and a leg in fees. You’ll also have the freedom to walk away from an apartment if you don’t like it or your landlord doesn’t fix things fast enough.

Rent Storage or Get Rid of Unneeded Items

One of the best ways to save space in your apartment is by renting a storage unit. This will help you get rid of some extra belongings that are taking up room and could be used as needed if they’re close enough to come back for or just take out when you need them without having to pack them away again each time. You can also get rid of a lot of items before you move by having an estate or garage sale, or using a donation center to help you get rid of things.

Be Infinitely Familiar with the Subway Map

If you’ve never taken the subway around New York City before, then it is very important that you sit down and learn how to read a map of it or purchase an app for your phone that will tell you exactly where to go on it. It’s also helpful if you can write out what stops are closest to each place so that when the train comes, you can jump on without missing a beat and not waste time trying to figure out where the closest train is that will take you to your destination.

People Walk Really, Really Fast in NYC

It’s no exaggeration—people walk really, really fast in NYC. Big Apple locals spend their lives jammed against millions of their neighbors, so it’s understandable if they are occasionally short on patience with meandering tourists.

Therefore, don’t be surprised if you get rude comments if you stop in the middle of people walking to gawk at something that’s new to you on the streets. In fact, it’s considered rude to stop in the middle of the foot traffic but not so much if a New Yorker calls you on it. You’ll get the same treatment if you take forever to order in line at the deli—that stuff doesn’t just happen on Seinfeld

Of course, it also helps to have good timing when walking around, so you can avoid getting hit by a bike or running right into someone because they didn’t expect anyone else to be coming right at them. 

Know the Ins & Outs of Transportation

If you’re taking a taxi cab, bus or even an Uber around in New York City, then it’s important to know what is and isn’t allowed when using these forms of transportation so that you don’t get charged extra fees for breaking any rules. For example, most cabs can only take three passengers in the backseat, and they’re not allowed to take you across state lines—so if that’s your plan when taking a taxi cab into Manhattan then it might be wiser to rent an Uber instead.

Avenues Are Longer Than Blocks

Finally, when you’re trying to figure out how far it is between one place and another—and which way you need to go in order to get there—it’s important that you know the difference between avenues and blocks. An avenue is longer than a block, so if someone tells you something like they live on 21st street, then this means that they’re talking about the 21st street which is actually on 42nd avenue.

New York Drivers Are Aggressive

New York drivers have a well-earned reputation for aggressive driving, and many will honk at you, cut in front of you or even change lanes without using a turn signal so that they can get where they need to go as quickly as possible. And you thought it was bad when you were yelled at when you were walking and looking at the big buildings. 

Pick the Neighborhood that’s Best-Suited to You

NYC is made up of five different boroughs which are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx. They all have different neighborhoods and all areas have their own vibe and cultural influences. Which one you select to live in will very likely impact how much you’ll enjoy living here though. Here’s a bit about each borough:

  • Manhattan is known for being a high-energy city where it’s always crowded, loud and everyone is in a rush. 
  • Brooklyn has a more relaxed vibe than Manhattan, and it teems with lots of cool bars and restaurants that have been featured on TV shows like Sex in the City.
  • The Bronx has some great shopping opportunities but not many jobs unless you’re looking to work at one of the big hospitals or in finance. 
  • Queens is also a great place to live because it has plenty of access to public transportation and lots of opportunities for work if you’re looking outside Manhattan. However, there are fewer cultural influences here than in other parts of New York City. 
  • Staten Island isn’t as well known by people living elsewhere because it’s not accessible by public transportation other than the ferry. If you’re looking for a quiet place to live where people are friendly and the pace of life is slower, then this might be your best bet.

Know the history of your neighborhood

Living in New York City is exciting and there’s a lot to do. On the other hand, it takes some getting used to if you’re coming from a small town or suburb where things are more spread out and traffic isn’t nearly as bad—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move here! 

Also, you should also know a bit about the history of your neighborhood in NYC. For example, if you’re living in Harlem it’s good to know that it was home to famous African-American dancers and musicians like Billie Holiday who gave birth to jazz music in NYC. There are also plenty of concerts and events that you can attend in Harlem.

The area around SoHo is also a great place for people who want to be close to public transportation but don’t have room for a car because most homes here were built before 1900 and don’t have parking spaces.

Greenwich Village is also a great place to live. It has lots of small boutiques and restaurants as well as the popular SoHo shopping area that’s close by. Meanwhile, you need to keep in mind that this is an older neighborhood so some parts can be shabby or run-down which means it might not always look perfect—and if you’re looking for brand new everything, then this isn’t the place for you.

The Meatpacking District is the place to live if you’re looking for a neighborhood that’s got lots of trendy bars and restaurants with beautiful interiors. It also has some nightclubs, but keep in mind it can be pretty loud at night so make sure your apartment is on the quiet side—or consider living elsewhere because there are plenty of other options available throughout New York City.

The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn is a popular area people to live, and it’s also got some great places like the Canarsie Pier which is perfect for taking advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities. And if you’re looking for an apartment with lots of space then this might be your best bet because there are tons of singles in the area, and a fair share of families as well.

NYC is Alive 24/7

There is a reason NYC is known to the city that never sleeps, and many attractions here are open 24/7. It is also home to some of the world’s most celebrated museums, theaters and other institutions devoted to art, music and education. Two of its universities are ranked among the top three in global rankings (NYU #13; Columbia University #16). Plus, it has several professional sports teams – including basketball (Brooklyn Nets), baseball (NY Yankees & NY Mets) and football (NY Giants & NY Jets).

Don’t Forget About the Cost of Living in NYC!

As mentioned previously, living and moving to New York City is going to be a whole lot more expensive than where you might have been before—which means it’s important for people who are planning on taking this big step to save up as much money as possible before making the move so they can have a safety net. 

Learn More About The City Over Coffee!

It’s okay if some of these rules seem daunting or even intimidating at first glance—but as long as you’re willing to do this research before moving into NYC, then it won’t be so bad when you get here and start to experience them yourself. All in all, New York City is an amazing place that offers endless opportunities for those who are willing to move here and embrace all of its quirks.

Looking for an firnished office or coworking space while in the city? Corporate Suites can provide you with a wide range of office and coworking space options that include affordable pricing, great amenities and flexible terms. Give us a call at (212) 257-3063 and learn how we can help grow your business.