Anyone who is thinking about relocating to New York is in for exciting times ahead. New York City is the greatest city in the world, according to any native New Yorker you might have met anyway.
The food is great, the entertainment possibilities are endless so what’s not to like?
New York takes some getting used to. In the same way that moving to any big city takes some getting used to.
Moving to New York from the UK might seem completely overwhelming, especially if you’re not from London.
Moving to New York with a family will carry with it a completely different set of worries than those who are moving to New York City alone.
For anyone contemplating this big move, here are some of the most important things to think about.
You’ll compete for everything
Anyone moving to New York City for their career will probably already know this and will already be blessed with that competitive streak.
For people working in the business or fashion world, for example, New York is a mecca. Anyone working in these industries coming to the city to look for a job should remember that every position will have possibly hundreds of candidates fighting for it.
Anyone who isn’t used to the sound of city life is certainly jumping in at the deep end when it comes to noise. Silence is the holy grail of NYC.
New York doesn’t get louder during the week or the weekends, during the day or the night. It maintains a constant volume of twenty-four hours a day. That’s people shouting at the top of their voices, or honking the horns of their cars amongst any other loud things people can do.
Noise-canceling headphones may definitely be the way forward.
The cost of living in New York is very high, there’s no getting around it. Even people who have moved from other major US cities will find that the cost of everything in New York is that little bit higher.
Sometimes much higher.
Food, entertainment, laundry, taxes, and tipping are just a few examples of necessities that are priced at the level of luxuries in New York.
Being healthy is a requirement
The US is the nation with the largest people on the planet. For anyone experiencing the US for the first time, it’s easy to see why, especially in New York.
Living is expensive but cheap food deals are everywhere. Burgers and pizzas can be found for less than $1, as can bucket-sized fizzy drinks.
It’s even possible to buy a salad that contains over 1,000 calories!
Shop smart and eat healthy whenever possible, as sometimes it just isn’t.
There’s a lot of walking
There’s almost no need to join a gym. Unlike most Americans, New Yorkers do a lot of walking and measure the distance in blocks.
There is a good reason for scoffing down that $1 pizza, after all, it’s cheap and the calories will be burned off on the walk home anyway!
Rent a storage unit
New York City apartments and other accommodation possibilities are notoriously small. It’s said that if you can lie in your bed, reach out with both arms and not touch both walls in your NYC apartment then you are living in a palace!
A rental unit is a must for people who want to take all their stuff with them.
Most New Yorkers don’t have a car
As alluded to above, New Yorkers walk a lot. So over half of them don’t have a car. A concept that is completely alien across the rest of the US.
One reason is that it’s almost impossible to find a parking place, especially a free one. Even when one is available it’s often in what’s called an ‘alternate side parking zone’. This means moving the car to the other side of the street every couple of days so the street can be cleaned.
Be prepared for the weather
New York has four distinct seasons and each one brings its own extreme conditions.
Huge winter coats and snow boots are a necessity for when the city gets cut off after a huge blizzard. Conversely, the lightest of clothes are needed for the sweltering summer.
Keep away from Times Square
One thing that newcomers to New York City discover very quickly is that Times Square contains virtually no New Yorkers whatsoever.
Locals avoid it like the plague, the city is busy enough without walking into total gridlock!
The lights, street performers and overly expensive restaurants and bars are there solely for the tourists.
Learn the Subway map
Not having a car in New York is not a problem.
It’s generally regarded as one of the most walkable cities in the world but aside from that, it is served by a huge underground train system, which most of the time is fairly reliable.
Its size makes it complex, so learning it by heart will take some doing. Fortunately, maps are readily available and, even better, very useful digital maps that can be downloaded to any smartphone.
New Yorkers can be harsh
Anyone who finds the genuine “Have a nice day!”, the friendly attitude adopted across America uncomfortable is in for a treat.
New Yorkers do not do “Have a nice day!”
It’s not, as some would perceive, because they are unfriendly, it’s more that they haven’t got time.
In New York, everybody is in a rush all of the time.
You have to leave the city
For anyone looking for moving to New York advice, priority one would have to be to ‘get out of the city’. At least once in a while.
Living in New York is a thrilling, exhilarating roller-coaster ride, but once in awhile it’s good to get off onto the steady ground.
Programming rest and relaxation into busy schedules is vital. Upstate New York is beautiful and peaceful, check it out.
There are beaches in New York City
Visiting the beach as part of an R&R routine is actually pretty straightforward. Coney Island and Rockaway Beach are simple rides away on the Subway.
They won’t be free of the New York crowds but there’s something more serene about being in a crowd with the feeling of sand beneath the toes.
It’s a lonely place
It sounds like a strange thing to say about people who live in a city with eight million other people, but loneliness is a very real thing in a big city. Especially for people moving to New York City alone.
Always remember the reason for coming and that thanks to the modern world, family and friends are just a FaceTime call away.
There’s no personal space
Being lonely but still having no personal space is a strange concept. Only in New York.
With so many people walking down every street there’s bound to be people crashing into one another. It’s inevitable.
When riding on the subway people are even closer together, face to face or face too much, much worse.
Lack of personal space is not something to be concerned about. Nobody else in New York is!
New York has five boroughs
When asked, most outsiders will not be able to name the five boroughs of New York, yet they will have heard of every one of them.
Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens are each very different places.
Whilst Manhattan is arguably the most famous, Brooklyn has the most people and Queens has the most space.
Staten Island is actually an island and can only be accessed by boat from Manhattan, though there is a bridge from Brooklyn.
The Bronx is loved as it is the home of the Yankees!
Everyone gets lost
Trying to navigate oneself around a city the size and complexity of New York is always going to be difficult. Getting lost should be treated as a learning experience that all new-comers have to go through.
Once people get used to the grid system of roads it is actually easier to navigate than most cities.
Pizzas are amazing
Forget Italy, New York is the place for the best pizzas. It’s easy to find New York style pizza restaurants anywhere in the US but they’re not of the same quality as the genuine article.
The $1 pizza slices are great standard and a fantastic way to eat cheaply. Just remember everything in moderation!
It takes a long time to get anywhere
It’s a busy city and sometimes distance can be deceiving as there is no way of telling what is going on in between.
When traveling between boroughs on the subway it can take up to an hour to go what seems a relatively short distance.
Even walking, which is normally easy to judge, can take longer than first thought simply due to the volume of people.
At some point, there will be a New York moment
That moment when people stop in their tracks, look up to the sky amongst the glistening glass skyscrapers and think (or even exclaim out loud),
“I live in New York City”