15 Things to Know Before Moving to New York City

Moving to New York City

No doubt about it, living in New York City is fraught with challenges, many of which will be unlike any other you’ve experienced in your lifetime. Everyone new to the Big Apple faces the classic trifecta of major NYC challenges . . .  parking (lack of it), people everywhere (24/7), and small living spaces (for big bucks). And then each borough and neighborhood presents its own unique issues to deal with. As Cervantes said, “To be prepared is half the victory”. You’re going to be busy enough dealing with all the changes of moving to NYC, so to avoid being overwhelmed and stressed out, be prepared.  

15 Things to Know Before Moving to New York City

As exciting and fascinating as NYC may be, the challenges can be immense and make you feel overwhelmed. Of course, once you get moved in, NYC is your oyster, but before you move, you need to be prepared for the unique and peculiar challenges you’ll be faced with. 

1. Parking is scarce

New York City is one of few U.S. cities where you can live without a car, regardless of income. It’s the only U.S. city where the majority of the population lives carfree – about 55% of NYC residents don’t own a car. Of course, they live in a city with world-class public transportation but a major reason they don’t own a car is that parking is a nightmare. Daily parking rates are sky-high, and unless you’re lucky enough to find housing that comes with parking, you’ll need to add parking to your budget if you own a car. 

2. Prepare for a high cost of living 

The cost of living in New York City is 87% higher than the national average. That means your groceries, utilities, clothing, insurances, and other basic costs will be pricey. Taxes are high too. The average national sales tax is 7.3% but in New York City you’ll pay 8.9% on purchased goods. The average state income tax nationwide is 4.6% but in the Big Apple, residents pay 10.3%. If you like to meet friends for cocktails, expect to shell out $20 for the average mixed drink. But one of the easiest ways to control your expenses is to choose a neighborhood close to work. If you live near the office, you can walk and save on transportation costs that in NYC are 81% higher than the national average. 

3. Housing is particularly expensive

The median home cost is three times the national average and rent is some of the highest in the country. One in four New Yorkers pays more than half their income in rent. Not only will you pay through the roof for housing but be prepared to find far fewer square feet of living space than you’re used to. Because much of New York City’s housing was built before WWII, you’ll find particularly challenging features like narrow doorways, tight stairways, and small rooms. Many apartments, especially those that have more affordable rent prices are in ‘no elevator’ walk-up buildings. Make sure you’re OK with hauling your groceries up four flights of stairs. Be sure to measure your new spaces to make sure your furniture will fit. Because of the limited space in so many apartments, you may want to think twice about moving a huge sectional or your king-size bed frame. It’ll be way cheaper to sell it before you move rather than pay for the shipping cost while only having to unload it later.

4. People are everywhere 

It’s true, New York is the city that never sleeps. If peace and quiet are your things, it’s likely you won’t find Zen in New York City. You’ll be rubbing elbows with the 8.4 million other New Yorkers who live there too. Crowds, lines, tourists – If you want to be alone other than in your apartment – it won’t happen, not even in Central Park.

5. Competition is fierce

Since there are people everywhere, about 8,400,000 of them, New York City is one of the most competitive cities in the world. Yes, the opportunities for connecting are huge and if you’re an entrepreneur, NYC is the place to go to realize your dreams. Just know that job competition is fierce and many of those folks are also hustling for the same job you hope to score. If you’ll be looking for work, don your most confident self, be prepared to compete, and be persistent.

6. New Yorkers are blunt 

New Yorkers are consumed with the hustle – the hustle of crowds on sidewalks, the subway, and buses; the hustle once they get to work; hustling to get into their favorite restaurant – the hustle and bustle of daily life. They just don’t focus on being southern-hospitality-polite. If you come from a part of the country where people are generally friendly, you may take it for granted that everyone is that way. But it’s just NYC nature to be matter-of-fact and pragmatic. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to elicit a friendly smile from a New Yorker, you just may need to work at it a little harder. 

7. Winter requires layering

From December through early April, make sure you have plenty of layers to keep warm, from head to toe. Your closet will likely be pretty tiny, so you’ll have to be clever and selective in choosing the best layers to stay toasty. The average January high is 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 26. Polar vortexes can bring ice-cold temps that seem to slice right through your layers.

8. Summers can be brutal

Summers are hot and humid. And as trash piles up on the streets, it’s a smelly place for sure. August is the hottest month with average muggy highs of 88 and lows of 75. Make sure your new place has air conditioning, even if it’s just a window insert unit.

9. The Big Apple could use some polishing

NYC is grungy, smelly, full of litter, graffiti, and pests. When bags pile up you need to maneuver around the mountains of garbage that stack up on the sidewalks. Back in 2018, NYC won the jackpot as the nation’s Dirtiest City.

10. Homelessness is an issue

Seeing people sleeping in doorways or in the subway is a daily experience in metro New York City. Recently homelessness reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. Homelessness is an ongoing problem in New York City.

11. Strikes can interrupt your lifestyle 

In the “old days” strikes could literally paralyze the city but New York City’s Taylor Law has made it illegal for public sector employees to strike. However union workers are known to go ahead and strike illegally, and when they do, city sectors shut down. Imagine, in a city where 57% of the population uses public transit, a subway shut down can stall every sector of the city when waiters, doctors, store clerks, and your building’s super can’t get to work.

12. Politics lean left

If politics are important to you, you’ll want to know that In New York City, residents are strongly liberal – so much so that 79.5% voted Democratic in the last presidential election. 

13. Education varies by neighborhood

Have school-age children? Select your neighborhood carefully. New York City’s K-12 public school ratings vary widely. Private education is expensive and competitive. Looking for quality post-secondary education? From ballet schools to medical schools, Hebrew schools to design schools, the range of colleges and universities is dramatically impressive.

14. Crime is less of an issue these days

For years, NYC had the gloomy reputation of being a crime-ridden dangerous city. You’ll be happily surprised at how safe New York City is today. Violent crime is slightly higher than the national average and property crime is lower than the US averages. All in all, for a city the size of New York, crime isn’t a problem. Every New Yorker becomes super savvy about where to walk at night. Do your research and find out before you move.

15. It’s life-changing to hire a mover

In the past, you may have had a successful DIY move, but moving to NYC is a different story. First of all, you’ll tear your hair out trying to find a parking spot for your truck. But if you luck out and find parking several blocks away, imagine the nightmare of hauling your furniture and boxes through blocks of crowded NYC sidewalks. And that’s just the start of your problems. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

New York City’s most trusted mover, The Movers NYC, is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured moving company serving the New York City and Tri-State area. We offer professional moving services whether you’re relocating long-distance or are moving locally. Our experienced crews put our customers first and when it comes to hauling a sofa up a narrow pre-war building’s narrow stairway, they’re tops at making it look like a piece of cake. No worries about where to park, no heavy lifting – the Movers NYC will make your move a breeze.

No need to waver – hiring The Movers NYC will be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. Start enjoying New York City right away and let the pros do all the hard work. Ask for your free quote now!