Moving to New York City

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Lighthouse

Updated

June 23, 2022

Moving to New York City

Moving to New York City

Many of us dream of moving to the ‘Big Apple’. The hustle and bustle of the city, bright lights, and endless opportunities. But, moving to New York is no easy feat. There are many factors to consider such as where to live, rent prices, or commuting. 

Welcome to NYC! A City Overview 

It’s easy to understand why NYC is known as the ‘city that never sleeps’. It’s home to over 8 million people (making it the largest city in the U.S.), 26,000 restaurants, and a 24-hour lifestyle. 

Once upon a time, it was the first capital of the United States. Now, it's the most linguistically diverse place on the planet (which is just as cool). You can find over 800 languages spoken there. 

New York is jammed-packed with history, culture, diversity, and environmental phenomenons. Did you know lightning strikes the Empire State Building around 23 times a year? There you have it- there’s always something to see, learn, or do.

Speaking of learning- keep on reading if you want more information on what to expect when moving to New York. 

1. Cost of Living in NYC

Can you guess what we’re going to say about New York’s cost of living? You guessed it- NYC is the most expensive city to live in throughout all of the U.S. 

Their prices really are unbeatable, and we don't mean that in a good way. 

Let's take a look at the cost of living in New York and how the average income compensates for the high expenses. 

Average Income in NYC

New York is one of the top ten states with the highest average income, hovering at the $101,945 range. This is a huge pro since costs run so high in the city. 

The median income in NYC for a 3-person family is $107,400. For a single individual, the average salary in NYC is $67,250 per year. 

Additionally, the New York region experienced an average growth in weekly wages of 7.5% this past year. We love hearing that!

Average Cost of Items in New York City

It’s common knowledge to most that living in NYC is PRICEY. Not only do they have one of the least affordable housing markets in the country. You also have to factor in their high income tax rates and expensive products into your budget. 

Depending on which borough you live in NYC, you will encounter different costs of living. Manhattan's is the most expensive- finding itself 143% above the American average. 

Living in other New York boroughs still remains costly though. In the cheapest neighborhood, the cost of living is still 40% higher than in the rest of the U.S.

Take a look at our chart down below to see the average cost of items in New York. 

2. Renting in NYC

So, you must be thinking- given that they have the highest cost of living, NYC rent must also be the most expensive. 

Well, we’ve got some news for you. San Francisco actually has the highest apartment prices. Rent in New York City takes the second-place medal, averaging at $2,700 per month. 

Their astronomical rent prices also come in the form of tiny rental units. Small or micro-apartments have taken over the New York rental market (although between you and me, many residents call them shoe boxes.) 

The average size of an apartment in New York is less than 700 square feet. However, micro-apartments can be as small as 400 square feet. 

Rent costs also vary depending on the size, location, and building complex. 

Regardless, you can expect to pay around $2,600 for a studio apartment. You'll be looking at a price of about $3,100 for a 1-bedroom unit or $3,495 for a 2-bedroom apartment. 

You can quickly find yourself overwhelmed with the New York rental market. If you want a helping hand finding a rental and like the sound of getting cash back on your rent, check out Lighthouse! 

3. Best Neighborhoods in NYC to Rent 

Finding the best neighborhood in New York to live in can be a daunting task. There are many locations to pick from, and you definitely have to keep rent prices in mind. 

To break it down, New York is split into five boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. 

You can find great rentals in all places, but specific neighborhoods might suit you better than others. 

Check out this list of the best New York neighborhoods down below to see what fits your lifestyle. 

Most Affordable in the City: Kew Gardens, Queens 

This densely populated neighborhood is predominantly a residential area. It's located in the center of Queens and prides itself on being a quieter location. 

You can find many apartments, condos, and single-family homes to rent in Kew Gardens. 

Rent for a 1-bedroom unit averages at $1,950- pretty affordable given New York rent prices. What's even better is that the apartment sizes tend to be above average for NYC.

 

Best for Families: Battery Park City, Manhattan

Battery Park City is one of the best neighborhoods in NYC for families. 

It's located in the south of Manhattan and is surrounded by an abundance of parks and scenic water views. 

Two of the best public schools- PS 276 and Stuyvesant High School- reside in the area. It's also far enough from downtown to offer families more peace, quiet, and safety. 

Best for Young Professionals: Astoria, Queens 

Perfect for those up-and-coming professionals that are looking for convenience and affordability. 

Astoria offers apartments to rent that are below the average NYC rent price. On top of that, apartment sizes are generally bigger in comparison to Brooklyn or Manhattan. 

It's also easy to get to Midtown from this location. Lots of transportation options are available to neighborhood residents, making daily commuting easy. 

Best for Recent College Graduates: Murray Hill, Manhattan

Located in Manhattan, Murray Hill has been attracting college graduates since the 1990s. 

This neighborhood is especially desirable because of its bustling social community and nightlife. Newspapers have even nicknamed it a "postgraduate playground" because of its energetic bar scene. 

Many college students and adults also find work within the area. That comes as a great benefit since they can walk to work and get the perks of living in a fun location. 

Most Urban: Lower East Side, Manhattan 

This neighborhood, located in Lower Manhattan, has quickly grown over the decades. New developments are on the rise as plenty of apartments are being built and rented. 

The Lower East Side is known for its nightlife and 24/7 lifestyle. The hustle and bustle of this area is ongoing as its many bars, restaurants, and clubs never sleep.

Several subway lines are also accessible from this area, making it easy to get around town.  

Most Hip: Williamsburg, Brooklyn 

Williamsburg has been pegged as one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the U.S. 

Hipsters and artists alike continue to set trends in this alternative area. If you want to be right in the heart of the hipster scene, the south side of Williamsburg is still authentic to its roots.

Many tech companies and startups have also set up shop in Williamsburg over the years. As such, the north part of this neighborhood has become more techy and modernized.

4. Job Opportunities in NYC

There are millions of open jobs in NYC's job market, despite seeing a downward trend over the past two years. 

This past year, the city saw a 17.9% decrease in New York City Open Jobs. It's a huge dip, we're not going to lie. The good news is that the median pay has gone up 3.7% for the city workers! 

Another positive point is that NYC is doing some massive hiring in the following sectors: 

  • Healthcare and Medicine 
  • Technology, Engineering, and Tech Startups 
  • Business Services (With a focus on Branding and Talent Acquisition) 
  • Customer Service (Including Human Resources and Customer Experience)
  • Business Development (Including Sales and Account Management)

We recognize that NYC is a ginormous city. There's always a company that's hiring somewhere around town. Here are some of the top businesses in NYC. 

  • JPMorgan & Chase 
  • ABM Industries 
  • Pfizer 
  • Omnicom Group Inc. 
  • PWC 
  • Icahn Associates Corporation

NYC also has a thriving (although competitive) entertainment and finance industry. You'll find opportunities like no other there, especially with Wall Street and its theatres around. 

5. Culture in NYC

Few places are as multicultural, artistically-differentiated, and commercially driven as the Big Apple. The culture in New York is like no other. It's a melting pot of different lifestyles, traditions, and beliefs.

Many cultural and historical movements have roots in NYC. The origin of Hip Hop and Rap came from the Bronx, while Harlem skyrocketed the popularity in jazz. 

Its culture spreads to the food, fashion, and arts scene as well. Cuisine from all over the world can be found in New York. Pizza, coffee, and hot dogs are only some of the most popular food cultures celebrated by locals.

You’ll also discover that many art forms and activities originated from New York. This includes contemporary ballet, breakdancing, abstract expressionism, and the mighty sport of baseball.

Let’s go a little more in depth about what NYC has to offer. 

Hidden Gems & Famous Attractions in NYC

New York has so much more to offer than its mainstream tourist attractions (yes, we're talking about the Empire State Building).

Although the attractions in NYC are endless, many are a little bit too hyped up. 

That's why we've formed a list of some of the hidden gems in NYC that are worth checking out!

  1. Abandoned City Hall Subway Station. Until 1945, this was the terminal point for the IRT (the transit system at the time.) Now, it remains an abandoned subway station. It's located under City Hall Park in Manhattan. The station is a true showpiece. Its glass skylights, vaulted tiled ceilings, and brass chandeliers are still in great condition. You can go on occasional tours of the abandoned locale or catch a glimpse of it on the Downtown 6 train. 
  1. The Back Room. Walk through a place called 'The Lower East Side Toy Company' to visit this historical relic. The Back Room is one of the only two speakeasies in NYC to have operated through the Prohibition era. They offer live jazz music, a sultry vibe, and adorned decorations. The best part- all drinks come in tea cups- the same way they were served in the 1920s!
  1. Urban Paddle. Kayak or paddle along the Hudson River during the nighttime! From the water, you'll get to see breathtaking views of the NYC skyline while being lit up in an LED kayak.
  1. Harry Potter New York. Calling all our Harry Potter fans! Head down to the Butterbeer Bar on Broadway to enjoy draft or ice cream Butterbeer. They also sell it in bottled form (with a collectible label)- a perfect gift for yourself or others. 
  1. The Berlin Wall: Parts of the Berlin Wall can be seen right in New York City. After being torn down, five pieces of this historical wall (that add up to 20 feet) made their way to 520 Madison Avenue. It now resides in the building's lobby, but is still open to the public! 
  1. Little Island. Have you ever wanted to walk on water? Well, now you pretty much can by visiting Little Island at Pier 55. This free park recently opened in 2021. It 'floats' on the Hudson River thanks to the support of its concrete pipes shaped like tulips. This attraction is perfect for a date, family outing, or if you just want to explore something new! 
  1. Doyers Street. Check out Doyers Street to see a vibrant 200-foot mural. 44 different colors bring this expression of Chinese rice cultivation terraces to life. You can find this majestic piece in Chinatown. The best part- it's free to all who want to experience it! 
  1. Area 53. If you're an adventurous person, you should check out Area 53! Located in Brooklyn, this is the ultimate adventure park. You can do the following activities there: rock climbing, roller skating, battle beams, ziplining, a ropes course, and more! 
  1. The Conservatory Garden. Not so much of a hidden gem, but a beautiful place to visit if you want to take breathtaking pictures. The conservatory is located off of 105th Street on the East Side of Central Park. 
  1. William Wall. Known as Willie Wall to locals, this is a boat viewing experience right beside Ellis Island. You can catch amazing sunset views of the Statue of Liberty or the Manhattan skyline. If you want to try something new, watch their sailboat races that happen every Tuesday. 

NYC's Green Spaces

Everyone knows that in the heart of Manhattan lies the iconic and beloved Central Park. 

However, New York City's green spaces go well beyond the 843-acre nature area. 

The percentage of green space in New York City is 27%- a pretty substantial number for the City that Never Sleeps. That translates to more than 1700 parks for people to enjoy. 

The 28,000 acres of green spaces have been made into greenways, neighborhood parks, and community areas. 

The most notable parks in New York, other than Central Park, are: 

  • Prospect Park: Located in Brooklyn, this massive park has a zoo and a carousel. 
  • Washington Square Park: The Washington Square Arch makes this place a popular tourist destination. 
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park: You can catch stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty here. 
  • Madison Square Park: Off Fifth Avenue and Broadway, this park offers free wifi and lots to do. 
  • Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge: Find this refuge on the south end of Long Island. You can participate in recreational and conservation opportunities like camping or bird watching. 

Climate in NYC 

NYC is notorious for its cold winter seasons and hot summer months. 

The climate in New York is continental. That means you can expect unstable weather as you cycle through the four seasons.

From December to February, get ready to bundle up. The temperature averages around 37F, but wind chill can make some days as cold as 14F. 

From June to August, you can expect sweltering heat. A typical summer day is usually 77F, but heatwave temperatures get as high as 100F. 

6. Transportation in New York City

No one does transportation quite like New York City. They have one of the biggest and most complex public transportation systems in the world. From mass transit networks to the famous yellow taxi cabs- you have a plethora of ways to get around town. 

Let’s go over New York City transit and all the other methods of transportation available to you. 

MTA New York City Transit (Rapid Transit System) 

The MTA New York is many people's go-to choice to get around town. This rail and bus system is relatively cheap (a single ride is $2.75) and runs 24 hours every day. 

It also runs through all five of New York's boroughs- great for those who don't have a car and need to travel. Accommodating everyone is also big for the MTA. 

Their system is accessible to those who have mobility, visual, or hearing disabilities.

PATH (Rapid Transit System)

PATH is another rapid transit system that covers 13.8 miles of track mileage. This train connects Manhattan to Newark, Harrison, Jersey City, and Hoboken. The best part is that it also runs all day, every day. 

Roosevelt Island Tramway

This aerial tramway system transports people from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. The service takes less than 5 minutes and costs as much as a subway fare.

Buses

Riding the bus is your best bet if you're trying to get to a location that is not accessible by subway. New York buses stop at almost every block, with many routes running 24 hours a day. 

NYC’s Taxicabs

There's a reason why New York's yellow taxicabs are so iconic. They have become the primary method of transport for many New Yorkers. 

Over 13,000 cabs operate within the city, while another 40,000 cabs are available on mobile services. 

Boro taxis- distinguished by their bright green color, have also made a name for themselves. They operate in the outer boroughs of New York and North Manhattan. 

Amtrak Intercity Rail 

Amtrak offers this intercity rail service that runs from New York to the west and northeast of the U.S. Amtrak is also a great alternative to domestic travel as it's cheaper and faster than flying. 

John F. Kennedy International Airport 

JFK is currently the busiest international airport in North America. It's located in the borough of Queens and services over 80 airlines. Wanna get out of town to go on a vacation? You have 189 potential destinations to pick from when flying out of JFK. 

Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark Liberty is located in Newark, southwest of Manhattan. It is one of the major airports that services New Yorkers. Although it's smaller than JFK, you can still catch many domestic or international flights there. 

LaGuardia Airport 

LaGuardia Airport is a smaller airport that resides in Queens. It mostly accommodates domestic flights but flies to some international destinations. 

NYC’s Airport Services 

You can ride the AirTrain JFK- an intermodal subway, to get from Downtown New York to JFK. This service is also free if you're traveling between airport terminals.

For those headed to Newark Liberty, the AirTrain Newark monorail is a great service. It connects the Northeast Corridor subway line to the airport's three terminals. 

NYC Expressways 

Driving into New York is one of the least favored methods of transportation. Nonetheless, the city's expressway network is complex and extensive. It includes four major Interstate highways: I-78, I-80, I-87, and I-95. 

The I-287, I-278, and the I-495 also operate as partial beltways throughout the city. 

The NYC DOT also maintains most of New York's large network of parkways. Some of those include FDR Drive, Henry Hudson Parkway, Bronx River Parkway, and Belt Parkway.

Cycling and Pedicabs 

Many residents choose to ride their bikes as a quick and effective way to get around town. It's so popular that over 600,000 New Yorkers ride their bikes at least once a week. If you're not traveling far, you can also opt to ride one of the many pedicabs in midtown. 

NYC Ferries

This might be more of a unique method of transportation, but ferry riding is very popular in New York. The Staten Island Ferry is the busiest in the U.S! Ferry services run 24 hours a day, all year long. The ride takes around 25 minutes and departs from Lower Manhattan. 

7. Pros & Cons of Living in NYC

We all know living in NYC comes with its pros and cons. 

Let’s take a look at what exactly those are so you’re not met with any surprises!

Pros 

The pros of living in NYC are: 

  • The city has an endless amount of opportunities 
  • Great cultural, artistic, and entertainment scene
  • There’s always something to do
  • Thousands of restaurants for the foodies to enjoy
  • Extremely diverse
  • Great for networking or socializing
  • Unbeatable fashion scene
  • Extensive public transit system

Cons

The cons of living in NYC are: 

  • Very expensive city
  • Has one of the highest rent costs in the U.S.
  • Weather can be unstable 
  • Very crowded city 
  • Being a workaholic is the norm 
  • Hard to get around in a car because of traffic congestion
  • It can be a dirty city at times

Conclusion

You've reached the end of Part 1 of our NYC City Guide. As you can see, NYC is very robust and has SO much to offer. 

Let's rehash what we spoke about in this part of the guide. 

New York City is the largest city in the U.S., with millions of people and thousands of restaurants. This concrete jungle also boasts a 24/7 lifestyle. The cost of living is the highest in the country (143% higher than the US average), but rent is only the second most expensive across the nation. it averages at around $2,700 per month. The good news, average individual income is pretty high, settling at the $67,250 mark. The city has five boroughs: Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. Every neighborhood is unique and has differently-priced rent costs. 

If you're moving to the great city of NYC and need a partner in your rental search, come check us out! We'll also help you get cashback on your rent (which will go a long way in this super expensive city)! 

The job market is booming in some specific areas, but not so much in its entirety. NYC is also a multicultural mecca with hundreds of dining, entertainment, arts, and nightlife spots. It's also got quite a few green spaces given how urban it is. Central Park, Madison Square Park, and Prospect Park are just a few of the many popular parks. The transportation is probably the best part. NYC's MTA and PATH are the most-developed public transit systems in the US. This city truly is one-of-a-kind. We can see why so many people are enthralled by it! 

If you need a partner when searching for NYC rental apartments, come check us out! We also offer a cashback service on your monthly rent (which is huge in NYC)! 

Let us know what neighborhood you'd move to in NYC in the comments below.

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