15 Things You Wish You Knew Before Moving to NYC

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Many people have plans of moving to New York City after college.  New York City offers a fast paced lifestyle, a wealth of culture, and lots of opportunity for those willing to work hard for it.  However, many move to NYC and think their lives will be luxurious and decadent because of what is shown on TV.  After moving here, many find that the reality of living here is not what they expected.

Here are 15 things “You Wish You Knew” before moving to the Big Apple provided by the people who live there!

1)    You’re going to be really tired at first. New York takes a lot of energy. New Yorkers walk almost five miles a day and everywhere you go there are people, cars, boats, trains, sounds, lights and it’s exhausting! Dont worry–this goes away. Depending on where you’re coming from you’re likely living in second gear. New York is in fifth gear. It might take you a while to shift up, but don’t give up–it’ll happen, and once it does, you’ll be able to handle it as well as anyone. Took me about 8 months.

2)    Learn how to cook. It will save you tons of money.  Everything in NYC is expensive.

3)    Bars and Restaurants will usually have a charger for your phone if you’re running low.

4)    Biking is the fastest way around the city. It will beat the subway if there is any wait, cars sit in traffic.  The cars are mostly aware that you exist, however make sure to wear a helmet!

5)    Go easy on the partying and know your limits.  It’s really easy to go out to drink and socialize in New York every night of the week. Everyone’s always going out.  Plus, because you don’t have to worry about driving, the city stays open all night and there’s lots of temptation. I’ve seen some people who did not handle it well.

6)    If all the other cars on the subway are crowded, but one is empty, don’t get on it.  There’s a reason it’s empty (likely the smell)!

7)    Get out of New York City often, especially when the weather’s nice. Go on daytrips upstate, to New Jersey, to the beach, to a ski resort, wherever. It’s good for you and allows you to relax.

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8)    Wash-and-fold laundry services are great and worth every penny.  Especially if you do not have a washer/dryer in your apartment or building. The downside is that clothes will age much faster than normal. Tshirts will last a year, dress shirts the same and then there will be holes in them.

9)    You may want to pass on getting Cable. I don’t know if you’re coming from somewhere where you watch a lot of TV, but watching TV in New York is a waste of your time. There’s too much other great stuff to do.  Plus, cable is really expensive. You can get an on demand option like Netflix or Apple TV for when you want to watch stuff.

10)    Volunteer. It will help keep you grounded. I do Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It’s perfect–not too much time, but you actually are making a difference for someone. Plus, it’s a great way to socialize and meet new people.

11)    Download HopStop for your mobile phone.  It’s a great resource for getting around.

12)    If you have good friends there (or once you make them) try sharing stuff.  I don’t mean just sharing furniture with your roommates, I mean other stuff. Share a membership to MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) or a half-season ticket package to the Rangers, or potentially even a car. I’ve been living in NY for ten years and once I started doing that I suddenly got to do a lot more stuff. New York is expensive–this makes it much more affordable.  Obviously, this has to be done with people you trust!

13)    If you meet someone you want to see again then get their contact information and contact them. Make an effort. You may never see that person again if you don’t.  There’s so much going on in New York that if you just make vague plans, before you know it, a year has passed and they’ve completely moved on, as have you.

14)    Most importantly, know who you are, what you value in life.  This is true for other big places, but New York puts a lot of things in front of you that may make you question yourself. You might start to think you’re not good-looking enough, or cool enough, or (very common) successful or wealthy enough. You might start to think you should change yourself to fit in with the cool kids, or to get ahead in your career. You might decide that you need to change your friends or your significant other because they’re not attractive enough. This is dangerous. Ambition is a good thing and wanting to be awesome in every facet of your life is a good thing.  Wanting to meet and spend time with amazing people is a good thing, but it can all be bad for you if you’re not comfortable in your own skin. You can lose yourself too easily.

15)    Be excellent to each other. You’re in the greatest city in the world!



One Reply to “15 Things You Wish You Knew Before Moving to NYC”

  1. All great tips! I really agree with #9. I had cable my first year, but ended up spending $100 on apple TV and 16 bucks a month for Hulu Plus and Netflix. It’s so much cheaper.

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