What to Know Before Moving to New York City

The dazzling lights of Times Square. The lush green avenues of Central Park. The art and culture of Broadway and the Met. These charms have a way of transforming the very words “New York City” into a siren song. And that song has called young and old alike to “come and wake up in the city that doesn’t sleep” for generations.

But every rose has its thorns, and every Big Apple has its worms. Knowing the challenges of living in New York will help you navigate life when you get there. This is what to know before moving to New York City.

It’s Expensive

Our culture is filled with books, movies, and TV shows starring plucky optimists who travel to NYC with little more than the shirt on their back and a dream in their heart. These dreamers usually end up with a cute, boho studio apartment and a stylish wardrobe despite only having a mediocre day job. Unfortunately, real life is trickier than that.

New York City has the second-highest price of living in the United States after San Francisco. Just a studio apartment will cost you a little under 2,000 dollars, not including utilities. Some experts put the cost of groceries at a staggering 471 dollars a month per person. If you’re planning on moving out east, money management is a must.

There’s a Lot of History

New York is a bustling, modern metropolis. Most of the time, we forget it’s one of the oldest cities in the United States, dating back to 1624. For a little perspective, William Shakespeare died in 1616. With almost 400 years of history, there are far more cultural hotspots to visit than just the Statue of Liberty. St. Paul’s Chapel and the African Burial National Monument are historic hidden gems.

The one caveat of having such a long history is that many of the apartment buildings in New York are old. And as charming as old apartments are, they come with challenges. For instance, space is often an issue, so you may need to downsize before moving. Pipes can also prove troublesome in the winter. Make sure to ask the landlord pertinent questions before signing a lease.

Driving Is Different

Driving in the city is an entirely different experience than driving in the suburbs or the country. Even if you think you’re a good driver, it’s worth it to take the time to brush up on some urban defensive driving strategies. Otherwise, consider ditching your car altogether.

The city is known for bumper-to-bumper traffic. Something many people don’t know before moving to New York City is that a lot of people don’t have cars—54 percent, in fact. Car storage and parking are so tricky and public transportation is so abundant that many people don’t see the need. If the thought of city driving makes you nervous, you can always join them.

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