How-To: Move to New York
November 29, 2010 § 13 Comments
Disclaimer: Nothing is ever guaranteed.
Recently, a friend of mine bought her one way ticket from RDU to JFK. She has been planning to move to NYC for years, so naturally she is super excited! But, of course moving here is a big change, so she is still a little nervous. to ease her nerves, she decided to ask me what exactly so expect upon the big move. She is in the same boat I was a few months ago, no job or apartment waiting for her when she gets here, just a plane ticket and some baggage.
After I wrote her with my advice, I thought it may be useful to other people as well. After all, I have done pretty well with my move. So, let us start with the beginning.
The most important thing when considering moving to the big city is whether you are a good fit. Evaluate why you really want to move here. Make sure to visit with people who live in the city so you can get a good idea of how life works as a New Yorker. Read Penelope Trunk’s blog post about the types of people who really belong in the city. Recognize that the city is straight bi-polar: she will give you the most amazingly mind-blowing days of your life, but the next day could have you facing a zombie apocalypse (this could get literal if you believe FourSquare). Once you decide that New York is a place that you want to live and that you’ll be happy here, you just have to do it.
Go ahead, but your ticket. Choose a day and just go for it. Once you’ve made the purchase you have no excuses. No more “I’m saving up money” or “I don’t have a job”. (Granted, both of these things would be extremely helpful). From here I can give you the email I sent my friend:
“How it’s going to work: you’re going to come to NYC but you’re not going to legit MOVE here. Really, you are coming up for 2-3 months to figure out if you can stay. You will bring only what you can carry.
You’re going to have to stay on someone’s couch for a few days to a few weeks. Try and spread this out as much as possible and be respectful of your friend’s space. Remember that New York apartments are unreasonably small and expensive.
You will find a sublet (on Craigslist most likely). There is a large chance that they will want to meet you before you move in, so you cannot do this step remotely (but you can do some ‘pre-shopping’). The sublet will also most likely want some financial information to prove that you’re not a bum. Apartments in NYC move REALLY fast, so just be aware of that when you’re looking around. I found my sublet on Craigslist 20 minutes after they posted it and moved in 2 weeks later. My roommates and I found our apartment before it even went on the market, before our realtor had even seen it!
How much money you’re going to bring depends on you, but if you have the cash it would be good to have $2000 for every month that you are not going to have any income. After two months, if you do not have income and don’t have the job you want, you’re going to have to do the Starbucks, waitressing or bartending thing.
When you are definitely staying and ready to sign a lease: You will need a roommate (unless you are straight rolling in it) and you can find one on Craigslist, or through other people. This step literally cannot be done without regular income. Most apartments in Manhattan require prospective tenants to prove that they make 40x whatever the monthly rent is. I think it’s a little more lax in Brooklyn. Either way, you must have good credit and a legit job. Finding an apt here is HARD, so give yourself 3-4 weeks to find a place. We lucked out and found one in a week that hadn’t gone on the market yet. Just like with a job, tell EVERYONE you are looking for a place/roommate. Your best bet is to find someone who already has a place and is looking for a roommate, but be careful because they could also be crazy.”
With that said, I am no expert, I am just relating my experiences. And remember that this is your adventure! No one can tell you how to live your life, you really need to do this on your own. Have no fear and really embrace the city. It’s all about rolling with the punches and viewing everyday as a Grand Adventure!
Welcome to New York!