City Guide: 8 Tips For Moving To NYC
Like many before me, I moved to New York City looking for something new. A better version of my life that I felt could only be achieved by stepping out of my comfort zone and into a new adventure.
After trying to find a job in the city for months while still living in LA, once something finally stuck everything moved at hyper speed. In a span of 3 weeks: I got a new job offer, said goodbye to family and friends, quit my job, moved out of my favorite LA apartment, packed my life into 7 very large suitcases, flew across the country, and hustled my way into this tiny studio apartment.
I'm not saying the transition was completely smooth sailing, but for anyone planning to take the leap, here are a few things that helped me maintain my sanity and not completely deplete my bank account. Although, WARNING: Moving to NYC is expensive in ways I still don't entirely understand and you will burn a slight hole in your pocketbook no matter how hard you try.
8 Tips For Moving to NYC:
1. Go Full-On Marie Kondo Pre-Move
Because...there are very few times in your life where you will have a specific excuse to get rid of all the junk you've been collecting (or hoarding) over the years. Also, the more blinged out Michael Kors watches and Juicy Couture tracksuits you can sell on Poshmark, the more money you'll have towards that NYC apartment security deposit and broker's fee—now that's what I call "sparking joy."
2. Tell Everyone And Anyone Where You Are Going
You never know who used to live in the city (pretty much every successful person I'd met in the media industry had put in at least 2 years in the Big Apple) and you'll be surprised at how willing people are to provide tips and sage advice for navigating NYC. This advice will come in handy and will teach you important things like how to find good sample sales. Listen to the NYC-alumni.
3. The Plane Is Your Moving Truck
This was a big one. Before I moved, I wasted hours researching the cost of cross-country movers until I finally reached the clear conclusion that I couldn't afford any of them. Instead, I bought a one-way ticket on Virgin America and took advantage of their $25/bag fee. Hint: you can take up to 10 bags at this cost per bag.
And so, one large luggage cart in hand, I moved my life across the country for under $200.
4. Plan Your Immediate Post-Flight Lodging
Unless you are lucky enough to have friends or family to stay with for an extended amount of time, I'd recommend booking a place to stay for your first 1-2 weeks in the city. When I first flew in, I had an Airbnb booked for 10 days, which provided me with a pseudo "home" my first couple weeks and also a drop-dead timeline for finding an apartment. Also, this is a great way to explore (or rule out) certain neighborhoods while you are apartment hunting. For example, staying in my Bed-Stuy Airbnb taught me that while I like Brooklyn...I still needed to become jaded in Manhattan for a couple years before making my way across the bridge.
5. Book A Flight Home For The Holidays
This one was more specific for my situation because I moved a few months before Thanksgiving. But regardless, there's always a holiday weekend around the corner, and it's nice to have a trip home to look forward to early on. Plus, saying goodbye is a lot easier when it's following by "see you in 3 months!"
6. Go To The Same Café (Alone) 3 Times In A Row
I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys eating by myself in public, so this may not apply to everyone. But, finding my go-to spots early on made the city feel more manageable and there's an odd sense of pride and belonging that comes with becoming a "regular" somewhere. Plus, bartenders have a sixth sense about NYC-newbies (note: we are different than tourists, this is an important differentiation) and tend to offer wine in to-go coffee cups to friendly solo diners. I wish I could say this only happened once, but it happened on 3 different occasions so either I look really stressed or NYC bartenders are the city's guardian angels—probably both.
7. Write Everything Down
New York City = constant information overload. I guarantee that random, hilarious, terrible things will happen in your first few weeks in the city and you'll want to write them down to remember everything later. Within my first hour in the city, my Uber driver tried to convince me to buy his sister's house in Queens, giving me a quick "neighborhood tour" on our way from JFK to Brooklyn. His reasoning: "Every house has its own wire fence!" Direct quote, courtesy of my iPhone's Notes app.
8. Breathe, Drink, Repeat.
Trust me, I know. It's stressful, but getting to NYC is half the battle.
Once you're here? You're golden.