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With grad season nowhere, it’s time for many young people to start dreaming big and preparing for the big move. Others may be moving for a new job or to make a fresh start in life. Whatever the reason, New York City can make for an exciting transition. But before you can start enjoying the nightlife on the Lower Eastside, watch the sunrise over the Williamsburg Bridge, or much on $1 pizza, you’ll need to find a new home and settle. You can make the big move much easier with just a bit of planning.
Once that’s done, you’ll need some help settling you. We cover finding the right place to live and planning your move. We provide the checklist of moving and getting settled tips to get you going and learn what living in New York City is all about.
Living in NYC can be highly stressful for new arrivals, especially if you don’t have any friends. But with so much on offer here and a lifestyle like no other, the initial stress is worth it. This guide will help you transition from stressed-out new arrival to an established New Yorker.
Finding the Right Place to Move TooFinding the Right Place to Move Too
At first glance, deciding where to live in New York City can be tricky. You’ve got a lot to choose from: a metropolitan area stretching over 6,720 square miles, five boroughs, and over 300 individual neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its unique vibe and will cater to particular lifestyles. Even New Yorkers who’ve lived their whole life there can feel as though they’ve moved to a different city when they move to a new neighborhood. Take some time to research each borough and list potential neighborhoods you might be interested in.
If you’ve only visited New York as a tourist, get out there and see each borough and neighborhood that caught your interest. Bring a notebook and take detailed notes on things you like about each area, things to avoid, and details you want to remember. It’s well worth visiting each borough to get a feel for it.
Moving in the Five BoroughsMoving in the Five Boroughs
Deciding on which of the five boroughs are for you.
- Manhattan – The city’s beating heart, where you’ll find its biggest attractions such as Broadway, Times Square, The Empire State Building, and Central Park.
- Brooklyn – The city’s art and cultural capital and the home of tourist favorites like the Brooklyn Bridge, Prospect Park, and Park Slope.
- Queens – The most diverse of all the five boroughs. Home of the New York Mets and the Queens Botanical Garden.
- Staten Island is – Most suburban of the five boroughs. It is known for the famous Staten Island ferry, Historic Richmond Town, and NYC’s largest forest preserve.
- The Bronx – Home of the New York Yankees. The birthplace of the hip-hop genre. It’s also where you’ll find the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden.
If you wish to make it easier, Elika Real Estate has a relocation service to provide an orientation guide to help you find the right place.
Further Reading:Further Reading:
- Top 12 Neighborhoods in NYC for College Grads in 2019
- How to Pick the Right NYC Neighborhood
- What is the True Cost of Living in NYC?
Finding Your New HomeFinding Your New Home
For housing, you have several options. There are stylish and modern co-op and condo apartments, beautiful townhouses on tree-lined avenues, prewar 5-6 story walk-ups, and deluxe penthouse apartments for those with larger budgets. NYC has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most expensive cities globally for real estate. As such, you’ll need to do a lot of searching if you want to get a good deal. Most New Yorkers rent rather than buy due to the high housing costs. Even if you have the means to buy now, you’re probably better off renting for the first few years. It gives you time to better know the city and find the right neighborhood to settle in permanently.
When home hunting, be aware that the demand for housing here is very high. A limited inventory means you must be quick when finding the right place. Take the time to look over each lease before signing it. Read over the terms carefully and clarify anything you’re unsure of. Also, be wary of no-fee apartments. These are apartments where the landlord offers to pay the broker’s fee. The terms might look good for the first year. But when it comes time for renewal, you could see your rent skyrocket. Most landlords will require you to make 40-50 times the monthly rent or have a guarantor if you don’t.
Another significant consideration is transportation. Most people rely on public transport in NYC, so consider your daily and weekend needs before choosing an apartment. Check how far away the closest bus line or subway stop is. You can use the MTA website to search for the subway map. Be aware that delays are common, especially on weekends.
Further Reading:Further Reading:
Preparing for the Big MovePreparing for the Big Move
When moving to any new city, there are a few things you’ll need to do before you can leave your current residence. You’ll need to disconnect local utility services and decide on the most efficient means of moving your belongings. You’ll need to notify the US Postal service of your new mailing address with a Change of Address Form.
If you hire a moving company, you’ll have to research to ensure you’re choosing a reliable business. Start by visiting review sites like Yelp to see what previous customers say. Another great resource is Consumer Affairs, which compares the top moving companies. You can use MyMove and MovingScam to further assess different companies for further research. To get your new utilities up and running, AllConnect can connect you with local services in your new neighborhood.
If you’re going to move before you have an apartment lined up, think about storage. This is becoming an increasingly popular option for those who want less clutter and more space. Make sure to work out the rental in advance as the demand for storage is higher than the supply.
Further reading:Further reading:
Getting SettledGetting Settled
Once you’ve signed your lease and moved all your stuff in, it’s ready to start living the New York life. The city is filled with opportunities, but making friends and getting acquainted with your chosen neighborhood can take some time. Take a proactive approach and start learning about your new home right away. Food will be a big priority, and the city is famous for its diversity in this regard. Crowd-sourced sites like Yelp, Zagat, Zomato, and Gayot can tell you about all the city’s best dining options.
Take a Class or WorkshopTake a Class or Workshop
A great way to make friends is by taking a class or workshop to find like-minded people. The New York Public Library has many programs for people of all ages and interests. Whether cooking, acting, dancing, writing, photography, or fitness, the city has something for everyone. Vimbly is another excellent resource for finding events and classes near you. To find out what the significant events are each month, NYCgo has a full events calendar that is regularly updated.
Enjoy the NightlifeEnjoy the Nightlife
For a fun night out, try a comedy or improv show. Like beer and laughter, nothing breaks the ice, and NYC is famous for its comedy clubs. The great thing about an improv show is that you can go in without knowing anybody and leave knowing half the attendees. The Upright Citizens Brigade has several locations in Manhattan, and there’s always a show. Most of these locations have a bar, so you can grab a drink during the show or hang out afterward with most of the crowd. Most of the performers will also hang out after the show, so if there’s anyone you particularly like, then go and say hi.
Explore the CityExplore the City
Don’t just limit yourself to your neighborhood; get out there when you can, and see other parts of the city. Joining a tour is the best way to do this as it puts you together with other like-minded people that are probably new to New York City like you. You’ll have a better time if you stick with small group tours like Graff Tours, which do artist-led tours of city street art. Foods of New York is a great way for food lovers to discover diverse cuisines and meet other foodies. Shoot New York City does workshops and photo tours of the city’s landmarks and individual neighborhoods for photography enthusiasts.
Do some VolunteeringDo some Volunteering
Give back to the city by volunteering with local organizations and doing charity work. This will connect you with local people in the community and provide a talking point when meeting new people. There are tons of places that would welcome any help you can offer. You can help care for your local parks, help the homeless, or mentor and coach the youth. An excellent resource for finding volunteer opportunities in New York, Cares provides orientation guides and introduces you to the many ways to give back to the community.
Further Reading:Further Reading:
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
New York can be a scary place for a new arrival. But for those who can grab its opportunities with both hands, it can give you a life experience like no other. The city’s diversity means there’s little something for everyone and no shortage of events to enjoy. Take your time to plan your move to New York City, and once you’ve arrived, make the most of it.
It can be a tough city sometimes, so don’t forget to take some time to get out every once in a while. The tri-state area can be easily reached anytime and offers plenty for a weekend getaway. For those whose hearts are in the city, it won’t be long before you are itching to get back into its hustle and bustle.