So you've read my article "7 Tips for NYC Apartment Hunting ..." and you've finally found your perfect NYC place! Now it's time to move in and you're looking for even more tips to help ease the stressful process. Well have no fear because someone who has moved around NYC 4 times is here to help! Here are my 7 Tips For Moving To NYC that will help get you started because moving on its own is stressful, but moving to a big city is even more stressful and challenging!
1. Pack Light
One of my main tips for moving to NYC is to be prepared to live in a much smaller space than you're used to! We're talking about a city where some apartments have showers in the kitchen! Space is a precious thing in New York, which means you will be paying considerably more rent for considerably less space, especially in Manhattan. Thus, it is likely that you won't be able to fit all of your things into your new apartment. So, a move to New York City is a great excuse to go through all of your belongings and donate, sell, or give away things you don't really need! The less you have to bring, the more space you will have to inhabit your new apartment!
If you are moving from far away and have the money to do this, I would suggest selling or donating your furniture instead of moving it to your new apartment. First of all, this will save you on moving truck costs and also the frustration that comes along with trying to carry heavy and dense furniture up several flights of stairs and through narrow hallways. A furniture haven for New York City dwellers is Ikea because their furniture is boxed up and you can assemble in inside your apartment! Don't use furniture from the street or Craigslist though! New York City does have some issues with Bed Bugs and not knowing where your furniture is coming from can lead to a horrible Bed Bug problem in your new apartment!
3. City Streets + Moving Trucks = Disaster
City streets aren't made for moving trucks! So if you're moving yourself, don't drive that rental truck if you are uncomfortable on narrow streets. And if you're using movers, the moving company might need to use a smaller 'shuttle' truck to get through narrow city streets when a big truck won't fit, which will increase your costs. Don't ever move to NYC alone! I don't even know how you would be able to do it on your own. Get your friends, family, or professional movers to help you. Parking signs in NYC are pretty explicit but make sure you read them correctly or you most likely WILL get a ticket if you park in the wrong spot. If you have enough people helping, you can have someone double park and sit in the car in case they are told to move. Then they can drive the truck around and around until everything is unloaded. This is how I've personally unpacked everything in the past. Also, many buildings restrict move-in/move-out times as well as access to the freight elevator so be sure to check with your building about any restrictions.
4. Learn the Subways, Get an App!
I was 19 when I first transferred to NYC for college, so to say I was scared my first few days there was an understatement. I had to try and navigate on my own from my dorm in Brooklyn to my college in Manhattan using only the directions my college had provided us with. For the first week I went straight there and back without exploring the city because I was afraid I would get lost. Then I found a free NYC subway map application for my phone and I felt so much more comfortable with exploring the city! You can put in where you want to go and it will tell you which subways to take. It will even let you know what times they will be arriving at each station and how long it will take you to get from point A to point B! Now I know the city like the back of my hand but I still use my app from time to time to check the subway times and navigate my way around the areas I'm not as familiar with. A NYC Subway application is a must have for new New Yorkers!
5. Make Friends but Also Enjoy Doing Things Alone
You're in a new city and maybe you have a few friends, but its always great to have more! Get out and mingle! To find out what's going on around town grab a "Time Out NY" magazine or "The New Yorker." Also, check out Newyorkology, Yelp, and Brokelyn! Regardless of where you go just get out there, make new friends and of course, network. Other things you can do is volunteer, meet people from work or school, or go out to bars. New York has a huge drinking culture and it's not weird to go a bar (or anywhere, really) by yourself too! I've taken many trips out shopping or to Central Park by myself and it wasn't boring or awkward at all. Despite the myths, most New Yorkers aren't as rude as you've heard.
6. Health Concerns
I hate to tell you this, but unless you have an immune system made of steel, you WILL get sick at the start of living in the city. Everyone I've know, including myself, who has moved to the city from somewhere else has gotten sick in the first few weeks. Be prepared to have the sniffles (or worse) when you first move here because of the dirt and smog in the air. Try to carry hand sanitizer with you as subway poles, city door knobs, and basically anything has tons of germs from the amount of people that touch everything daily. The city is definitely not a place for germaphobes but if you can get over the dirty aspect of the city, your body will eventually get used to its new environment and you will feel better.
7. Finding Food
Just so you know, the carts that sell fruits and veggies are great and cheaper than the grocery store! Don’t be afraid of them. Same for the guys that sell bacon and eggs on the corner in those metal truck carts or the guys selling chicken or lamb and rice with white sauce. Explore your area and you will soon find your favorite pizza, Chinese, and deli spots that you can walk to. As far as groceries go, many grocery stores in Manhattan are super expensive compared to shopping at big supermarkets. Plus, you have to lug all of your groceries from the store, to your apartment, and up the stairs. What I do is order my groceries to be delivered to my apartment. Places like Peapod and Fresh Direct let you order your groceries online and then choose a delivery time frame for them to bring them to you. They will even carry them up to your apartment door! Peapod is from Stop & Shop so they have weekly sales and a lot of cheaper grocery items then the grocery stores in Manhattan!
New York City is an amazing place filled with unique experiences that you can't get anywhere else. I have been the happiest I've ever been in the city since I moved here. Of course there are days I wish I had more room in my apartment, more grass and trees to see, and less people surrounding me, but against those few negatives, there are so many more positives! The city isn't for everyone, but it was definitely for me! What have you experienced either living, working, or visiting New York City that you loved the most?