NYC Living Guide
I get asked what it is like to live and work in the crazy town, especially by those who think they may take the leap and move into the city. Living here is like being on a different planet. The transportation, shopping, expenses, people and restaurants all take a different spin on life as most of us know it in suburbia. Hopefully this can help you get a sense of what it is like to survive here.
Apartment Hunting + Broker's Fees
Apartment hunting is the worst! In most cases, you have to go through a broker. The average broker fee is 15% of one year’s rent. If that isn’t enough, you have to make decisions super quick, because vacancies don’t last very long around here. Summer is both the best and worst time to move in. It’s the best because it has the most inventory because it is when most people move. But it also happens to be when prices are highest. Then slap the astronomical monthly rent you have to pay and it becomes a very expensive proposition.
Of all the entertainment around, there is nothing quite like a real Broadway Show. The excitement of a stage performance from amazing Broadway stars and even Movie stars makes for quite the experience. Being with an audience experiencing a show with an actor live and in real time is not like anything else. The cultural experience is unparalleled.
The best places to get tickets are on Today Tix. All you have to do to get your discount tickets is order online and pick up right in front of the theatre. A close second is TKTS. You still get the discount, but you have to go to a booth in person to purchase and wait until just a few hours before.
Because it is NYC, a lot of conferences happen here for business, medicine, entertainment, academia and so on. Chances are you will have one you that fits your interests and the best part is you don’t have to travel!
Because you don’t have a car, that handy trunk you are used to using to bring your bags of groceries home is no longer an option. Carrying loads of bags several blocks can be straining and sometimes impossible. Your options are getting less each trip and going more often, using a granny cart, or getting it delivered. We use Instacart and Google Shopping Express. It makes life WAY easier.
Heat and Air Conditioning
Apartment Heating is regulated by the city to make sure everyone is properly and safely heated in the winter time. It’s good to ensure safety, but bad in that you cannot control the heat. At least in our case, it is controlled by a computer the building operates and we cannot adjust it. You have to open windows if it is too hot. If it is not hot enough, you have to get heaters and complain to the city.
Most places don’t have central air, so you have to by your own A/C units. This is not only cumbersome for installation and storage during the off months, but it can run your electricity bill through the roof during the summer.
You will never have more friends in your life than when you live here! We love when friends come to the city and visit us. It’s a great time to catch up and show them around. The one caveat is space. No one in New York has a spare bedroom, so it usually means sleeping on an air mattress in the living room.
This also goes for hosting parties and get togethers with friends that live in the area. Most people have space constraints and can’t invite all the people they would like to for social events. That’s where parks come in handy, but only during the summer, of course.
A lot of buildings don’t have the room for laundry in the individual units themselves or the building in general. Your best option is finding a close coin laundry. We cheat a little and do a wash and fold and have our clothes picked up, washed, folded and delivered.
Since no one has a yard, parks become your outdoor space. Since they are community, everyone shares their “yard”. I love the sense of community and activity being in the parks bring to this city. Plus, the beautiful landscaping and scenery make for a pleasant view.
Parks seem to get used a lot more here than any other place I’ve lived, since you are forced to use them for any outdoor activity. They are a great place to host parties and get togethers to enjoy the great outdoors right outside your front door.
The food scene here is incomparable. There are so many options and varieties that you can have pretty much anything you want from gold plated donuts to sushi the size of a small log. From fancy French cuisines to the quaint pizzeria’s, you’ve got everything you could ask for. If you want more details, see my NYC Restaurant Guide.
I hope you are not too attached to your car, because insurance is crazy, parking is super expensive and spaces are limited. On top of that, traveling by car is the least efficient way of getting around. The reality is, you don’t need a car. The subways are the main thoroughfare in this city and navigating them is crucial to getting around.
I prefer the subway because you can do other things during you commute like work or read. It’s also a faster way to travel around the city. Of course, it’s not all rainbows and puppies. There are train delays, crowding, stinky passengers, cars with broken A/C, etc. But, overall, it makes for great way to get around.