15 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to New York

So you’re thinking about taking the plunge and moving to New York? Exciting! But let me give you a heads up – things are a little different over here in the Empire State. From the fast-paced city life to the charm of upstate living, New York is truly one-of-a-kind. Before you start packing your bags, here are 15 essential things every soon-to-be New Yorker needs to know.

01. The Perfect Suburbs Exist

15 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to New York

Photo Credit: nytimes

Wait, don’t rule out the ‘burbs just yet! Places like Brighton near Rochester prove that you can have your neighborhood cake and eat the big city too. These charming towns have that cozy, everybody-knows-your-name vibe, while still being just a hop, skip, and a short drive away from all the action. Even within NYC’s boroughs, you’ll find little pockets that feel like self-contained villages. Trust me, it’s the best of both worlds.

02. Jobs Galore in Every Field

What’s your poison? Finance? Tech? Manufacturing? Healthcare? Whatever industry floats your boat, New York has opportunities for days. Wall Street is the bigwig in finance, obviously. Buffalo and Rochester are manufacturing powerhouses. Albany is pretty much the healthcare capital of the state. My advice? Do your research and figure out which city is the best fit for your career goals.

03. You’ll Never Be a Lonely New Yorker

Thinking of braving the Big Apple solo? Don’t sweat it! Between the endless stream of new arrivals and the unbeatable public transit that connects every nook and cranny, meeting new friends is a piece of New York-style pizza. You’ll be swapping numbers and making plans before you can say “the L train seriously isn’t running again this weekend?!”

04. Unmistakable Seasons and Breathtaking Nature

Some places have summer, some have winter – we’ve got the full four-season experience. Upstate summers mean lazy days by the lake and unforgettable Niagara Falls selfies. Fall? We’re talking prime leaf-peeping territory with azillion picturesque small towns nestled away. Winters are pure magic (if you don’t mind a little – ok, a lot – of snow). Even downtown, places like Yonkers give you a taste of the great outdoors without straying too far from Manhattan.

05. Bounce Around to Your Heart’s Content

Here’s the beauty of New York: with so many distinct cities and towns, you can reinvent yourself again and again without going too far. Maybe after getting your career started in one place, you’ll want to head back to school in a different part of the state. No biggie! Since New York is relatively compact, you’re never more than a road trip away from your beloved old stomping grounds.

06. NYC Sticker Shock Is Real

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – living in New York City is expensive, like reeeeally expensive. If you want to live that gleaming high-rise luxury life, be prepared to go broke paying for it (but maybe that’s the NYC dream?). My two cents? Explore your options in the surrounding suburbs and upstate cities where rent is much more affordable. You’ll be able to actually enjoy yourself without spending 90% of your paycheck on housing.

07. The Subway Will Become Your BFF

Driving in the city? Forget about it! You’ll be relying on New York’s legendary (and let’s face it, sometimes panic attack-inducing) public transit to get around. But after a little while, you’ll be a wise-cracking, map-toting pro who maneuvers the subway like a native. Just brace yourself for Inevitable Delays and that wonderful aroma of MTA magic.

08. Pack for All Kinds of Weather

New York weather can’t make up its mind. You’ll go from sunbathing to seeking cover from biblical downpours in a matter of hours. Once you move here, you’ll become an expert in the art of dressing in layers upon layers. A flimsy jacket or sad drugstore umbrella just won’t cut it – invest in some legit rain boots and cold weather gear right away. Hey, at least you’ll feel cozy while dodging puddles!

09. Diversity Central

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in different cultures, you’ll be in multicultural heaven here. Whatever background, cuisine, or tradition you want to experience, chances are you can find it within the city’s wildly diverse fabric of neighborhoods. Pro tip: seek out those hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries and make some new friends from around the world while you’re at it.

10. Seeing is Not Believing

Sure, go ahead and gawk at the typical tourist traps when you first arrive. But once the novelty wears off, do yourself a favor and start exploring the way lifelong New Yorkers do. Ask a local to point you towards their favorite low-key bar, discover a secret park, or hit up an underground art show. The real New York experience lies far off the beaten path.

11. You’ll Adapt to the Pace

There’s no denying it – New Yorkers move at warp speed. The city itself basically runs on a constant IV drip of caffeine and scrambles to make everything happen NOW. While it might feel overwhelming for the first little while, this hustle mentality will become second nature before you know it. You’ll catch yourself impatiently sipping your morning bodega coffee and fidgeting if the sidewalk traffic is too sluggish.

12. Find Your Neighborhood Niche

15 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to New York

Photo Credit: www.onstageblog.com

Every neighborhood has its own distinct personality – hey, they’re like the city’s version of cozy small towns! Once you figure out where you’re laying down roots, devote some time to finding your new favorites spots – the kooky coffee shop, the legendary slice joint, the hidden park oasis. Having these little local gems to escape to may just save your sanity.

13. Expect Literally Anything To Happen

Trying to plan your life around New York is an exercise in futility because, in this city, the unexpected is pretty much a daily occurrence. It could be an A-list celebrity sighting, a zany subway performance troupe, or just a perfectly timed NYC-style random encounter. My advice? Wave that type-A behavior bye-bye and fully embrace going with the flow. Things are about to get beautifully unpredictable.

14. Layer Like a Pro

You may have noticed a theme developing here – the weather in New York can’t be trusted! Mastering the layered look will be crucial to survive the day’s inevitable hot/cold fluctuations. I’m talking tank top, flannel, jean jacket as your year-round uniform. Don’t be caught underdressed!

15. Soak It All In

It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here a week or a decade – New York will never lose its magic. On those rare moments when the city’s chaos calms down, take pause and soak it all in. Watch dusk settle over the Empire State Building’s iconic spire. Listen to the symphonic clamor of honking horns. Inhale the aroma of sweet pretzels from a street cart. These fleeting but perfect moments are what make New York, New York.

New York is a wild ride, that’s for sure! But with an open mind and a sense of adventure (and a Metrocard loaded with plenty of fare), you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience in this one-of-a-kind place. Just remember – if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Welcome home!

NEXT READ: What to do in New York City alone? – Going Solo in the Big Apple!

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