30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To NYC

30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To NYC

Image via Flickr/

Image via Flickr/ Chris Ford

You’ve always dreamed of becoming a Broadway star or the next Carrie Bradshaw or [insert typical NYC job of your dreams]. Perhaps you want to be in NYC because you've always dreamt of working on Wall Street or dating some of the most beautiful women in the world. Now, it’s time for you to pack your bags and jump into a bus/plan/train to the Big Apple. Before you do so, heed this warning: It’s not going to be as seamless and glamorous as your wildest dreams evince. To prepare yourself for the inevitable disappointment and pitfalls, here are some things you should now before hopping on that bus to NYC:

1. There Will Be A Broker’s Fee

You’ve trolled Naked Apartments for weeks, banking on that shining “no fee” banner beneath the most promising listings… only to find that “no fee” is code for “a bunch of payments that are ostensibly for things other than the guy who showed you your new apartment.”

2. You Will Not Be The Prettiest Girl/Handsomest Guy In Town

Bell of the ball in Springfield, New Hampshire? Wait for your self esteem to plummet during NYC Fashion Week.

3. People Aren’t As Rude As All the Hype

Not every New Yorker you ask for directions will deliberately point you the wrong way and snicker behind your back. That being said…

4. Everyone There Is In It For Themselves

Don’t expect people not to push you into the nearest trash can when they’re late to work and running past you on the street.

5. You Will Become Scenery


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In a place with about 28,000 people per square mile, you’re just as much a part of the background as that trash can you were shoved into. Forget people smiling at you as you pass them on the street, let alone wishing you a good morning.

6. Getting a Job You Like Will Not Be Easy

Everyone up and heads to New York with nothing but the money in their pocket and the drive to make something of themselves…or so fairy tales lead you to believe. In reality, unless you have a job already lined up for you, you might have to pay your first month’s rent with your tips from serving at that hokey Irish pub with a name like O’Malley’s.

7. Living Near a Subway Stop Is More Important Than You May Think

When it’s freezing cold and you don’t have a car in the garage conveniently located right next to your house, the seven-block walk to the subway that seemed so easy in the summertime will take its toll. You might find yourself in an unwilling hibernation (or taking enough cabs to break your bank).

8. Prepare to Change How You Dress

Though people are eccentric dressers in New York, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a particular shine that distinguishes them from the version of eccentric in, say, Houston or a small town in Iowa. Welcome to the city where your wardrobe will shrink upon arrival before expanding in a new, perhaps more chic, direction.

9. Don’t Expect To Cook

Instead, you will have your favorite Chinese restaurant on speed dial (or at least at the top of your Seamless account).

10. Living In NYC Doesn’t Make You Neighbors To Everyone Else In NYC

If you chose to move to the city to spend all your time with your friends who live in Washington Heights, don’t think moving to Brooklyn Heights will make you guys regular dinner companions.

11. An Empty Subway Car Is Always Empty For A Reason

That reason is usually the presence of a homeless man who has urinated all over the otherwise abandoned car.

12. You Will Never Feel Clean

Between that subway car filled with urine stink and the pollution in the air, you may want to carry some hand sanitizer on you at all times.

13. The Summers Are BRUTAL

The crowds only perpetuate the humidity of this Mid-Atlantic city. An air conditioner is no frivolous investment.

14. People Will See You Cry And/Or Pick Your Nose On The Subway

Do not attempt to act polite/hide your feelings in the underground network. Besides, no one there is paying any attention to you.

15. Don’t Make Eye Contact In Public


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Unless you want to invite a homeless person to ask you for money and/or sex.

16. There Are More Beautiful Girls Than There Are Attractive Guys

If you went to a liberal arts college, you already know how this feels.

17. Number of People Does Not Correlate To Number Of People You’ll Sleep With

Just because there are about 8.5 million people in this city, does not mean your getting laid frequency will increase much from before, especially if you are coming straight from college.

18. Bodegas Are Expensive Places To Do Your Grocery Shopping

An apple at your corner bodega is probably twice the price of one at the Union Square farmer’s market or Trader Joe’s.

19. You Will Never Understand How Anyone Affords Their Lifestyle

For the younger set, you can assume their parents help out more than they’re letting on.

20. The East River Is On The East Side Of Manhattan

It sounds obvious enough, but seriously keep this in mind if you want to avoid looking like an idiot. One mistake is enough to let the “dumb out-of-towner” rep stick.

21. There Is No 4th Ave

There is no 4th Ave between 3rd and 5th once you're north of union square.

22. You Must Learn To Advocate For Yourself

Unless you find the miraculous dream mentor/benefactor because you helped an old, blind, rich man cross Park Avenue, no one in this city is looking to promote your talents over their own.

23. Black Cars Can Name Their Own Prices

And you are free to haggle with them.

24. And Don’t Accept A $100 Cab Ride From JFK To Your Apartment


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Unless you live in New Jersey or something, in which case you should have gone to Newark, anyway.

25. $112 For A Montly MetroCard Is Not Necessarily a Rip-Off

If you take the subway an average of two times per day, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

26. You’re Not The Only One Aiming To Be An Actress/Musician/Singer

Moving to NYC by no means guarantees fame in any of those categories. You’re just adding yourself to a larger body of dreamers.

27. People Who Live In NYC Don’t Call It NYC

No New Yorker refers to “New York City” as such. They may refer to Manhattan as “the city” or the whole thing as “New York.” Boroughs get their specific names, as well.

28. Doormen Are For Rich People

Don't expect to pay under $1,000 a month for rent and have some guy who knows your name screening everyone who enters your building.

29. Food Ratings On Restaurants Are Relatively Meaningless

They all have rats and crusty ketchup bottles, whether the sign in the window displays an A or a C.

30. It’s Not Like The Movies

Countless movies and TV shows take place in NYC. Very few of them give you a truthful glimpse. There will not be a new natural disaster/large monster trying to overtake the city every month. NYPD does not neatly close all of its cases. And two, broke twenty-somethings cannot afford to live an apartment the size of Rachel and Monica’s in “Friends.”