By Colin R. O'Leary
October 18th, 2021
It's more than just a concrete jungle. NYC is a truly unique place to live and work. You can find whatever you are looking for here. The people, the history, the nightlife, the rich cultural traditions. The endless activities and fun. The job and career opportunities. The historic skyscrapers and beautiful architecture. There's so much to offer here. There really is no place like New York!
New York is still the gateway to the United States for many immigrants. The neighborhoods and the boroughs represent all the peoples of the world. People still come here from all over the world (and country) to make a better life for themselves. They come here to seek freedom. They come here to seek opportunity. They come here to reinvent themselves. According to the latest census, nearly forty percent of the NYC's population is foreign-born. These immigrants bring culture and traditions with them. The culture gets passed down from generation to generation.
NYC is also a massive city population-wise. It's still the largest city in the United States, by far. To put things in perspective, nearly 9 million people live here according to the 2020 census. The population in Brooklyn alone is larger than nearly every major city in the United States (over 2.7 million people live in Brooklyn now). Queens has a similar size population now at over 2.4 million people. The NYC Metropolitan area has over 20 million people altogether. Lots of people commute here for work every day too. We call them the bridge and tunnel crowd. They come from places like Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester, and Connecticut. Together, all of these people make up our vibrant city.
If you are planning to move to NYC, there's a lot that you will need to learn. We've put together a small list of things that will help prepare you for life in The Big City. Now lets get started!
1. Know that NYC Does Not Really Exist
Know that NYC does not really exist. What really exists are five separate boroughs. Each borough is unique, almost like a city of its own. They were all independent cities at one point before they merging to create The City Of New York in the late 1800s. You have Manhattan (New York County) and you have Brooklyn (Kings County), You have Queens County and you have Staten Island (Richmond County). Don't forget about The Bronx too, which at one time was part of Westchester County. Each borough has its own flavor, its own style. Each borough has its own history and traditions. All the boroughs are ethnically diverse. They are not just ethically diverse, they also geologically diverse. You have urban neighborhoods with brownstones and skyscrapers, you have suburban neighborhoods with fully detached homes, and you have beachfront communities overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound.
2. Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and The Bronx are not really part of "The City"
If you move to NYC, don't make the rookie mistake of calling Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or The Bronx "the city." This is an amateur move that you should look to avoid. When locals say they are planning to go to "the city," understand this means they are going to Manhattan. Locals don't consider Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or The Bronx (the outer boroughs) as part of "the city," although it is technically. Make sure you don't ask your friends to meet up with you in "the city" if you are going out for the night in one of the outer boroughs. If you do you may raise some eyebrows with your new friends.
3. Everything Here is Double the Price and Smaller Too
One thing that you will realize once you move here is that everything is double the price and smaller. You will need to pay a premium to live here. The apartments are double the price, maybe even triple the price compared to the town you are moving from. For example, the average one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is over $3,000 per month. It's not much better in Brooklyn or Queens, where people are paying around $2,500 on average for an apartment. Looking for cheaper rent? Head to The Bronx or Staten Island. The apartments are not just double the price in NYC, but they are also smaller in size. This is not Texas after all. NYC is the opposite - everything is smaller here! Food is more expensive here too. Go to any grocery store - you will find everything is nearly double the price. Go to a restaurant - again everything is double the price. It's not all bad though. You will have access to world-class restaurants, museums, parks, and all kinds of cultural attractions. Just be prepared because everything is double the price and smaller in NYC!
4. It Takes Two Hours To Go Ten Miles
One thing you will quickly notice about NYC is the gridlock traffic. Sometimes it can take you two hours to go ten miles so make sure you plan ahead. Traffic was always bad here. The recent covid-19 pandemic only made things worse. The Department of Motor Vehicle has been busy lately here. There are hundreds of thousands of new cars on the road - many are first-time drivers. Many people are still afraid to take mass transit. You shouldn't be though. The trains, subways, and busses have never been this empty - or clean. You can get around fast on the subway here. Taking cabs is often slower and much more expensive. It's great to have a car here if you can afford it. It's not necessary though because public transportation is great here. Just remember it can take you two hours to go ten miles!
5. The Best of Both Worlds
It's not just skyscrapers here. It's not just brownstones either. There are plenty of awesome green spaces for you to explore. New York City has some truly awesome parks and beaches. There are awesome new parks that were constructed on piers along the Hudson & East River. Each borough has something different to offer. Do you want to go to the beach? How about surfing or jet skiing? Head to Rockaway Beach. Do you want to have a picnic with your friends? Head to Central Park or Prospect Park or Governors Island. Keep in mind all of the activities that are just a few hours away by car. Within a short car drive or train ride, you can find awesome hiking trails at places such as Bear Mountain or Breakneck Ridge. Want to hit the slopes to ski or snowboard? There are plenty of great mountains within a few hours of the city. We also have four seasons of different weather so make sure to prepare for that. When you live in NYC, you get the best of both worlds. Make sure to take advantage of all this city has to offer!