A Guide to Moving to: New York City
So you want to move to New York City, but you aren't sure you fully believe that little voice inside your head that says you're ready to go. Well, friend, this is your lucky day - we've compiled an extra awesome guide to some of the main checklist items when it comes to contemplating a move to a new city/state.
Since 2010, New York City (NYC) has seen an average of about 62,000 people moving in per year, according to nyc.gov. The city experienced a population growth of 5.5% between 2010 and 2016, with 447,565 relocators in those years alone.
NYC has a current population of 8.5 million, making it the most densely-populated major U.S. city - and it's not hard to see why. Also referred to as "the city that never sleeps," NYC is always bright, always flashy, always movin' and always groovin' - there's tons of stuff happening all hours of the day and night, 365 days a year.
No matter where you choose to move in New York City, you can find affordable home insurance within our trusted network.
Still need more inspiration, eh? In that case, arm yourself with a strongly caffeinated beverage to help fuel your hype as you read on to discover just what makes NYC the place to be. Here's hoping you're ready to get excited and educated on all things NYC (and aren't anticipating sleep for quite a while).
With such a rapidly-growing population, it might not be a shock that NYC's job market is pretty hoppin'. Considering that it's one of the most diverse cities in the country, it's probably also not surprising that there's a wide variety of different jobs available in this city. In fact, there are opportunities in just about any job field. From aspiring artists to totally serious attorneys, NYC has plenty of different hats to fit everyone.
A few of the most popular jobs in NYC are filmographer, porter (due to the large tourism industry), investment banking analyst, stock associate, production assistant, teacher assistant, video editor, fashion designer, musician, stock broker, personal assistant, security guard, graphic designer, photographer and writer, according to metro.us. You can already see evidence of the epicly diverse group that lives here.
Some of the highest-paying jobs currently are architect, pharmacist, data scientist, software engineer, mobile developer, physician assistant, program analyst, registered nurse, QA manager and physical therapist. This is probably an important list to consider before hitting our next section, on housing.
With an unemployment rate of just 4.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a minimum wage of $10.40/hour (well above the federal rate) according to minimum-wage.org, we're starting to understand why so many people are able to write their success stories here.
When choosing to relocate to a new city/state, one of the biggest concerns surging through your busy head is probably finding somewhere to live. Well, we know already that NYC is packed with people, so what exactly could the housing market look like?
For starters, the median value of the NYC metropolitan area homes is $424,800, and those values have increased 7.3% over the past year. Values are expected to rise another 6.6% within the upcoming year. And it's no secret that NYC rent ain't cheap (to put it lightly) - the median rent for a house is $3,000/month.
Of course, we wouldn't be much of a help if we didn't discuss apartments. Alright, you've asked for it - and (brace yourselves) the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $3,774/month, with two-bedrooms going for $5,524/month. You might want to go back and reread our "highest-paying jobs" section.
That being said, of course there are areas where the rent isn't quite as rindonculous. Brooklyn, for example, has one-bedrooms for an average of $2,665/month, and Queens has one-bedrooms going for $2,087/month and two-bedrooms for $2,655/month. So, your wallet's happiness vs. stress factor is highly dependent on your location.
While Zillow states that the "dominate decade for homes still standing" in all of New York is 1950 to 1959, there is a metric truckload of new construction popping up all throughout NYC, as well as its surrounding cities. Odds of finding property here that is either aged to perfection, or brand spankin' new are about equally as good.
It's a good idea to save up quite a bit if you're planning to move to NYC - many apartments will require first and last month's rent, as well as a security deposit (which is typically just another month's rent) up front. With some of these rent prices, you can see how much that would add up to, very quickly. Be aware, also, that many apartments do not come with appliances, such as microwaves and dishwashers. We also got a pro insider tip to hire movers, because hauling all your junk up several flights of stairs in NYC is definitely no walk in Central Park.
Culture and Natives
Obviously, moving to new turf brings totally new people into your experience, and there will be lots of them in NYC. So just how do New Yorkers describe themselves? Well, it's a little hard to pin down. The state is bursting with diversity - people here come in all shapes, sizes and textures, and you're unlikely to ever stop meeting new "types."
"Eclectic" is probably one of the best words to describe this mixed bag. In fact, a former local told us that a neighborhood would have its own specific vibe, and walking just 2-3 blocks over would yield a completely different type of scene.
A few words commonly used when describing New Yorkers include "tenacity," "brazenness" and "fast + furious." NYC is known for its hustling, fast-paced lifestyle, which means people here walk at "breakneck speeds," and they don't mind elbowing a few slowpokes out of their way in the process (even the older population here can be seen pushing people on the subway when it's packed). They know what they want, and they won't stop until they get it.
Citizens of the Empire State's metropolis are as "fierce" as they are "fabulous" and "unique." They have an insane work ethic, which serves them well in affording their rent (which is as high as NYC's skyscrapers). The pace of the city can be described as "chaotic". However, because there is so much diversity, residents are extremely open and accepting of all kinds of people.
The median age of NYC residents is 35.8 years, with more than one-third of its 25 and over population possessing bachelor's degrees or higher, according to nyc.gov. A good portion of NYC's population is not made up of natives, interestingly, including a large chunk of people who migrated over from the Midwest, and other areas of the country (and world). It's also very common for people to move to NYC for a couple months/years and then move away, usually back to their home state, according to a former local.
Though New Yorkers are often said to be "cold," the fact that people of so many different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and career paths cohabit without giving it a second thought is truly heart-warming.
New York City Trivia
There are more than 800 languages spoken in NYC, and the city is the most diverse metropolis in the U.S. - and even among the most diverse cities in the entire world. So what is it that makes New York such a cultural melting pot, exactly?
One of the main factors is that so many different movements first emerged in NYC. For example, the Harlem Renaissance Festival established the existence of the African-American renaissance festivals for the future. The city's also been a foundational home for jazz, expressionism, hip hop, punk rock and the Beat Generation.
Thanks to the Department of Cultural Affairs, a branch of the NYC government, the city houses the largest public funder of the arts in the country. No wonder so many aspiring musicians, actors, models, stand-up comedians, writers, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers and more are flying here faster than an F-14 Tomcat.
Locals here are used to their city being inundated constantly by hordes and hordes of tourists. Though it happens all the time, locals still get annoyed and impatient with them. Aside from the tourists, there are also lots of activists, for all different causes, in NYC.
Though it may seem hard to believe, the vast majority of NYC actually feels like a pretty safe place to be, according to a former resident. There are cops sitting on every corner, and fire departments are never far away. There's a famous saying, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere," referring to surviving and thriving in the fast-paced city. Plenty of people have lived to tell the tale, so it is certainly possible.
New York earned its nickname the Empire State because of its many resources and prosperous residents. It has its own catch phrase, "a New York state of mind," to refer to its unique lifestyle. New Yorkers like to think that they don't follow social norms - instead, they create them for the rest of the country to idolize and hope to follow. Locals are direct, motivated and fearless - all while being well-dressed.
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Can't-Miss NYC Sights + Sounds, Fun + Activities
Whether you're a suited-up, white-collared type or a starving (but aspiring) artist, you'll find more than enough to do in NYC - in fact, you'd probably need another lifetime to see and do it all in. We can't possibly list it all here, so we'll throw a few highlights at you.
Here are just a few of the city's main attractions:
- Staten Island Ferry: Sitting in the back of the ferry will give you a great view of the financial district, as well as other parts of the city as the boat departs. On your return trip, sit near the front to get another view of NYC. It's basically like a free tour boat, only no one's mumbling unintelligible trivia about the city over the speakers. The ferry also provides cheap beverages to make your ride that much tastier and refreshing.
- Museum of Modern Art: AKA "MoMA" is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan and is home to the world's greatest collection of modern and contemporary art - including several originals of very famous works. Better yet, admission is free on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. Super insider pro-tip to NYCers who need to save up for their rent!
- Chinatown and Little Italy: Located in the SoHo area in lower Manhattan, Chinatown and Little Italy have plenty to offer. For starters, make sure you visit when you are absolutely ravenous with hunger - there's plenty of great food here, for any meal (and dessert) of the day. For shopping lovers, there are tons of unique storefronts and street vendors in between these neighborhoods, with cultural artifacts and little trinkets you can't find anywhere else. There's also plenty of cheap, souvenir-esque stuff to buy or peruse through. Both neighborhoods also have their share of museums and other entertainment options, once you are shopped and fooded-out.
- Broadway: Described as the "bright beating heart of NYC's performing arts scene," Broadway features bold musicals, long-running hit shows and emotional dramas. Some of the longest running shows include “Mamma Mia,” “Cats,” “The Lion King,” “Chicago,” “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” All kinds of performers dream of one day being on a Broadway stage. These theatres draw more attendees annually than all of New York's professional sports teams' home games combined. Send our regards.
- The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum: This museum houses the "legendary" USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier built during World War II for the U.S. Navy. Having survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike, it's quite the trooper. Intrepid also served as a NASA recovery vessel later on, in the '60s. Visitors can also check out more than two dozen restored aircraft from the war, as well as learn all kinds of history about these air and sea craft.
- Rockefeller Center: From impressive sculptures, to shops and restaurants, to a fishbowl view of NBC studios, to an ice skating rink, this iconic plaza is often referred to as one of the top must-sees in NYC, as well as all of New York. You could spend at least a week here, between watching tapings of the “The Today Show” or performances at Radio City Music Hall, eating and shopping. It's also infamous for its ginormous, sparkling eye-candy Christmas tree during the holiday season - which you have undoubtedly seen in at least half a dozen movies, including “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
- Fort Tryon Park: Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the son of one of Central Park's designers, this park offers a "much more intimate outdoor experience than does Central Park, Prospect Park, or most other designated open-air acres in the city." Here you'll find two main gardens, as well as breathtaking views along its trails (lined with beautiful foliage in the fall) as well as at Linden Terrace, near the Cloisters.
Pros and Cons of Living the NYC Life
Though we're sure you've already forgone all your previous life goals and can't wait to begin pursuing your new dream of becoming an artist in NYC, take a seat for a hot second. You might want to peruse a list of some pros and cons before packing up and permanently relocating here.
Some indisputable PROs to living here:
- Tons of stuff to do: Between the dozens of museums, concerts, Broadway shows, sporting events, parades, historical landmarks (the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, etc.) and celebrity sightings, you'd have to work very hard to be bored here - just about as hard as a New Yorker works.
- Opportunities: With so many things to do and tourist destinations to maintain, naturally lots of job opportunities come with the territory - and no matter who you are, there's a dream job here for you, just waiting to be discovered.
- Diversity: Because of the generous government funding for the arts, in addition to all other major industries residing here, there's a person in NYC for every wacky, bizarre, eccentric and unconventional trend you can imagine. Not to mention there's also every different flavor of the tie-and-briefcase business types - you're just as likely to see them at a Blue Man Group show in the evening as you are to spot them fitness-walking with their expensive latte to the office during the day.
- Art scene: We already know that NYC is home to every type of artist there is. In addition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC is the largest art museum in the country - and one of the largest in the entire world. It houses art that spans 5,000 years. If you don't find inspiration here, your inspiro-meter must be broken.
- Cheap/Free Activities: It's normal to be worried about being constantly broke after moving to NYC, however, there are plenty of ways to save money - at least when it comes to activities and food. Going out to eat later than you normally would, for example, will result in you hitting hotspots off their peak hours, and usually there are some great deals to be found. Plenty of museums and other attractions also have discounted admission times, as well as certain times with free entry. Your random daily activities/entertainment and your meals needn't be super pricey, here ...so long as you plan accordingly.
- New York state of mind: Moving to and living in NYC will change your entire perspective on life - at least, according to New Yorkers. Many claim that living here will ruin all other cities for you, and that nowhere else can live up to its charm. It's easy to get sucked into the magnetism of the hustling, hard-working, dream-chasing lifestyle here. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes ...and maybe an inhaler.
Now for the less enthusiastic CONs:
- High cost of living: This isn't news. The rent is sky-high (just like the buildings), taxes are high and product prices are high. They can charge you more, just because it's NYC. In contrast, just because they're in NYC, the people will pay more - willingly.
- Homelessness: Sadly, with so many people and such a high cost of living, there is a real homeless problem in the Empire State's metropolis. NYC "has reported a 39% increase in homelessness over 2016." - and there are nearly 4,000 people living on the streets.
- Tourists and traffic: With all the amazing sights to see and things to do, obviously this place is chock-a-block full of tourists at all times, which naturally creates rindonculous traffic. The subways are just as packed as the roads, at times. But unless you've got some sort of death wish or a freakish need for stimulation and stress, you probably wouldn't dare drive yourself around in NYC. (Not that the cab drivers are much less scary.)
- Lack of convenience stores: Target lovers will be out of luck in NYC. Not only are there no superstores around to satisfy all of your shopping needs in one place, but shopping in NYC is a hassle all around. Taking the subway from your house to a store is just one leg of the journey - then there's the return trip. You don't want to be sitting on a long subway ride with all kinds of bags, so you most likely end up making several trips to get your groceries every week (or you eat out more than you thought was humanly possible).
- The biggest terrorism target: Unfortunately, NYC is the nation's largest attraction for many different things, including terrorism. Residents say it's a typical sight during the holiday seasons and other peak-terrorism times of year to see squads of cop cars and security officers patrolling the streets and manning tourist attractions. This is, without a doubt, an important factor to be considered when making your decision to relocate.
Alright, enough of the serious stuff. It's time to talk about some of the weirdest laws still in existence in the state. Why? Well, because we need to lighten the mood - and this list is downright amusing.
Here are just a few:
- It's illegal to wear slippers in public after 10 p.m. While there are many theories as to why, the main rumor has it that it's an attempt to not attract rats. We're not sure what slippers look like in NYC - and we're not sure we want to know.
- Ferrets and exotic animals are not allowed in NYC. It's true. You'll have to leave your pet flamingo/lemur/armadillo/unicorn in your hometown. The people here are already exotic enough.
- Putting on a puppet show in your window will land you in jail. That's right - a puppet show done in a residential window can be punishable by up to 30 days IN JAIL. Man - at least give the people an entertaining show, if you're going to be imprisoned for it.
- Flirting will cost you a $25 fine. Hmm, maybe that's another reason the locals aren't super friendly...
Setting Your Coordinates to NYC
So, there it is - a teensy-weensy, microscopic look at the list of important factors to consider for a move to the macrocosm that is New York City. While it's true that we couldn't possibly cover every factor of concern when making a cross-country move (there's not enough caffeine in all the Starbucks in NYC), we hope that our Reader's Digest version is enough to help you start conquering that big decision hurdle.
Only you know if you can see yourself in the NYC - a place buzzing with a unique energy all its own, as determined to make you remember it as its people are to get to their list of 20 different auditions on time. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy. It's been a blast bringing you just a little sneak preview of the state, and we hope you've enjoyed the ride as much as we have.
Good luck - and you may want to start factoring some extra cardio in between your rehearsals and packing - you'll need it.