New York City is the place you go when your dreams are as tall as the skyscrapers that take over the skyline. It’s the place you go when you’re ready to seize your potential and you’re ready to create opportunities. It’s where you take your ambition and you throw it like fireflies across the concrete jungle to make the city sparkle.
The city is always shining, it’s always alive, and it’s waiting for you.
It’s a city full of believers and creators that are ready to change the world. But before you can change the world, you have to get here. And the process of moving can be overwhelming – I know this first-hand.
So when you’re finally ready to make the leap, take my advice before biting into the Big Apple:
1. Rent short-term.
Use sites like YourHomeSuite for apartments or join Facebook groups like Gypsy Housing to find something temporary just to get yourself here. Once you’re in the city, it’s much easier to apartment hunt (although apartment hunting isn’t easy).
2. Sell your furniture before coming.
Plenty people will agree that bringing furniture to NYC can be a hassle. It can end up being cheaper to sell it off and order new furniture once you’re in the city and settled in a long-term apartment.
3. Get a monthly unlimited subway pass.
Trust me, you’re going to use the subway a lot. The monthly pass comes out to be a little under $4/day which means you’d be more than breaking even if you take one roundtrip each day of the month.
4. Invest in headphones and sunglasses.
These items are your armor in the subway and on the street. They’re essentially the same thing as wearing a sign that says “don’t talk to me.” Bonus points for reflective lenses that you can’t see through like these.
5. Reevaluate your shoe collection.
I love heels, like really love heels. I wore them once to work and regretted it. Then I brought a change of shoes to work and still regretted it. Basically, it’s really a lot of work with all the walking you’ll be doing to wear uncomfortable shoes.
6. Get an app like this one.
There are so many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to try in New York City that it’s hard to keep track – especially when it depends entirely on what neighborhood you’re in. This way you can mark where you’ve been, where you want to go, and see it all on a user-friendly map.
7. Familiarize yourself with Google Maps.
This is a lifesaver when you’re trying to get anywhere. It helps you evaluate walking vs. subway vs. Uber. And it’s almost never lied to me (almost).
8. Put together a book or podcast wish list.
You’ll find yourself on the subway for a while whether you have a long commute or you’re meeting a friend on the UES. Make a list of books or podcasts you want to listen to. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll breeze through them.
9. Reach out to old friends.
There are SO many people in New York, and everyone remembers what it was like to first move to the city. Don’t be afraid to reach out to reconnect. Infiltrate friend groups, make new friends, and eventually you’ll find a place where you feel like you belong.
10. Make a budget for yourself.
I won’t sugarcoat it – New York City is expensive, but you can make it work. Make a budget (on your own or with an app). Figure out what you can afford for rent. Watch your spending habits – especially when weekends get a little too fun. Allow yourself the pleasure of experiencing the city, but keep a balance so you don’t end up resenting it.
11. Mentally prep yourself.
Mary Schmich once said, “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft”. Prep yourself for the lifestyle change. It’s going to be faster than you’re used it. You’re going to be asked blunt questions that you’re not used to, and you’re going to want an elevator pitch. It’s a city of dreamers and no one has time to slow down.
12. Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.
I may not consider myself a local yet, but I can promise it’s been an adventure getting there. Do the thing and let yourself be a silly tourist once in a while. You’re living in New York after all. Everything is going to be new and it’s going to be exciting. They say if you’re bored here, it’s your own fault. There’s always something happening around every corner and you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to experience the magic.