Before Move to New York?

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Moving to New York City is a big deal, no matter who you are or how cool you were back in Cleveland. New York is a deeply egalitarian metropolis in the sense that no one’s concerned about what you did before you arrived—it’s what you do with yourself here that matters.

New York is known as the “Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made” … and sometimes swallowed up, spat out and served up by a sidewalk food vendor with a side of roasted nuts.

NYC Really Is That Expensive

The reason many New Yorker’s have roommates is that New York City’s cost of living is insane. It’s not just housing. Nearly all your bills will be higher in NYC. This includes groceries, entertainment, alcohol. Everything.

After a while you stop balking at the prices here, but living expenses are extortionate. Whether it’s the cost of getting your laundry washed, shelling out mega money for grocery shopping or getting your head around the added tax and tips when on a night out, start saving your pennies before you get here unless you want to live off the dollar menu.

You May Have to Pay a Broker’s Fee to Get an Apartment

New York’s rental market is crazy. In order to lease an apartment, you often have to pay a “broker’s fee,” which is equal to 10% – 15% of annual rent. There are no-fee apartments out there, but competition for these is fierce (more so than the already fierce competition for regular apartments).

One way to skip broker’s fees is to use a service or website that puts you in touch with people searching for a roommate. While moving in with a stranger may sound odd to those from other parts of the country, it is fairly common in New York City.

New York apartments are small. You probably won’t have space for all your stuff.

NYC Has Some of the Highest Taxes in the U.S

There are three different income taxes paid by New York City residents: the federal income tax, the state income tax and the city income tax. Depending on your income, tax rates can be higher than 50%. The sales tax in NYC is quite high too, at 8.875%, although New York property tax rates are actually fairly reasonable (if you own).

Most People Don’t Own a Car

According to the U.S. Census, about 56% of New York households don’t have a car. Generally, having a car in New York is a big hassle. In many neighborhoods – including most of Manhattan and the denser parts of the other four boroughs – free parking is a rare beast. In the evenings, it is not unusual to spend 30 minutes or more searching for a spot.

Even if you do find one, you likely can’t leave it there for long. Alternate side parking means once or twice a week you have to move your car to the other side of the street so that street cleaners can come through. And then, a few days later, move it back. This gets old… fast.

The good news is: New York is one of the rare American cities where you can easily get by without a car. According to walkscore.com it is the most walk able city in the country, with a score of 88. Taxis are everywhere, if you don’t mind spending some cash.

New York Has Beaches

You don’t need to make the trek to the Jersey Shore to build a sand castle if you live in NYC. Instead, you can take the subway to places like Rockaway Beach or Coney Island. These tend to be pretty crowded but there are also more scenic options.

Areas like Fort Tilden Beach are a little harder to get to but may be worth the extra effort. Or, travel further out on Long Island to someplace like Robert Moses State Park. You may even forget the city for a few hours.

If you want to go for a leisurely stroll, find a park. New York City sidewalks are the fast lane.

New York Drivers Are Aggressive

Whether you’re driving down Madison Avenue or walking across a side street in Brooklyn, keep your head on a swivel. New York drivers are known to flaunt speed limits, stop signs and basic courtesy. Don’t assume you have the right of way. And be prepared for a lot of honking. New Yorkers love their horns (you get used to this – eventually).

Especially New Yorkers when they are in a rush (which, to be honest is most of the time).  Don’t take it to heart if someone barks at you on the subway, in line at the drug store, or on the side walk, because it inevitably will happen.

There Are Quiet, Residential Neighborhoods

Most people hear “New York City” and think of Manhattan: taxis, traffic, crowds. Noise. But much of the city isn’t like this at all. Further from the city center, there are neighborhoods with houses, driveways and even lawns. Check out, for example, Little Neck, Queens.

You can live in a city of eight million people and still feel completely lonely. You’re leaving behind the security blanket of family, friends, colleagues and all the familiar faces from your hometown. I have to keep reminding myself that I came here for a reason. Living completely independently has already made me a stronger person.

 When It Rains, It Pours

New York isn’t quite as cold as say, Boston or Chicago, or as dreary as Seattle, or as hot as Houston. But one aspect of its weather may catch some newcomers off guard: the rain. It rains a lot in NYC, and much of it comes in the form of heavy downpours. If you don’t have an umbrella, you’ll get drenched. Occasionally, there’s also a giant snow storm, which can cause the city to shut down for a few hours – or days.

Never did I think I would be in possession of a pair of snow boots, but they are an absolute necessity during an East Coast winter. Between freak blizzards that leave the city isolated, and sweltering heat waves, be prepared for the whole spectrum of weather conditions.

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