Moving to New York City: What You Need to Know

Millions of people dream about living in New York City, but it takes a lot more than imagination to make that dream a reality. With over 8 million residents, NYC is America’s largest (and most condensed) city. No matter what time of day or what you’re into, there’s always something to do or experience in New York City.

Before you decide to take the plunge and pack a suitcase, it’s important to know some of the facts about what it really takes to live in NYC. 

Rent is Crazy Expensive

Lots of people watch reruns of “Friends” or “Seinfeld” and fantasize about getting their own studio or kitchen one bedroom in a charming walk-up, but the days of affordable living are long passed. 

A whopping 40-percent of adults in NYC live with a roommate, and Manhattan has the nation’s second-highest average rent at $3650 for a one-bedroom. 

Getting into an apartment is no cakewalk, either. Many rentals are owned by managed properties, and the application requirements are strict. Many buildings require applicants to demonstrate an income of 40 times the monthly rent. So, to rent a $3,000 a month one-bedroom in the East Village, you’ll have to make at least $120,000 or put down a large security deposit. In some cases, the 40x rule is non-negotiable, and you’re only hope of getting into a place is by having a guarantor. 

It’s Not Just Manhattan

Times Square, the Empire State Building and Central Park all lie within the confines of Manhattan, the crown jewel of NYC. But there’s far more to the city than this hotspot. 

New York City is actually comprised of five distinct areas, called boroughs, and one of them is technically an island. Each borough is unique and has its own atmosphere and charm. You may have always thought of Brooklyn as hipstery and edgy, for example, while the Bronx and Queens are considered more down-to-earth and are less frequented by visitors. 

Manhattan

From the neon lights of Times Square to the glitzy designer shops on Fifth Avenue all the way down to the dive-bars in the Village, Manhattan is the pinnacle of New York City. This is the most expensive borough to live in, but it offers no shortage of entertainment and opportunity. 

Brooklyn

Think of Brooklyn like Manhattan’s cool, introverted cousin. There are lots of generational families throughout its historic neighborhoods as well as a heavy Orthodox Jewish population.

Brooklyn sports an artistic, down-to-earth vibe that many people prefer to Manhattan’s constant hustle and bustle. 

Queens

Queens is the city’s largest borough teeming with ethnic diversity and undiscovered gems. Many people move to Queens because of its relative proximity to Manhattan, but there is plenty of charm and style to behold in the borough itself. 

The Bronx

The Bronx is home to the famous Bronx Zoo and the New York Yankees, and it also happens to be the birthplace of hip-hop. Music lovers and Italian cultural enthusiasts will delight in this borough, which is overflowing with a vibrant, tough New York energy. 

Staten Island

There’s plenty of history and attractions to behold in Staten Island, a family-friendly choice for aspiring NYC residents. You can catch a free ferry ride to Manhattan that only takes about 25 minutes to arrive, so work and play can easily be a reality for people who take a job in the city’s central borough but live outside of it. 

How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You

Take a trip and consider all of the necessities before you start to look for apartments. What neighborhoods have the greatest access to health clinics, schools and entertainment? Do your personal interests align with a particular neighborhood’s offerings? How far are you willing to commute for work, and what are your favorite attractions in each location?

With ample planning and some thorough exploration, you can make sure that you find the perfect place in New York City that makes you feel like a native on move-in day.