There's a lot to love about living in New York.
There's art and culture. There's the allure of making your way in a city of 8 million. There are the bagels, pizza, calzones, pastries — basically, if you eat carbs, New York is a city for you.
Don't worry. You'll get all the exercise you need walking the streets of the largest metropolis in the country.
It's a city with almost as many clichés as people. But this isn't a town for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of person to make a life for themselves in a city like New York. It takes an understanding of how to navigate the city, figuratively and literally.
You already knew this when you clicked on the article. You can build a happy and deeply satisfying life for yourself in New York City, but you need money to do it. On average, the cost of living here is about 145 percent higher than the national average.
That includes groceries, which are 44 percent higher. And housing is almost five times the average rent for the rest of the country. So, unless you're making a comfortable salary with multiple commas, you should probably start looking for roommates before you start loading up the moving van.
There are few things greater than spring in New York, except maybe autumn in New York. Summers in the city can be pretty great, too (especially when everyone leaves for the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore).
But winters in New York can be especially difficult. Depending on the year, you can experience Chicago-level wind chill, the snowfall totals of Boston and the snowplow response times of Atlanta. In short, winters in New York are notoriously difficult, especially when you don't have the amenities you'd have living in other cities.
Odds are, you won't have a car and you'll rely on public transportation. That means the money you'd otherwise spend on gas for your truck will instead go towards gloves, scarves, heavy coats, thermal underwear and anything else you'll need to brave the elements to get to your bus stop or subway station.
And if you like to spend so much time outdoors, as in you like to think of yourself as “solar-powered," you'll also need to stock up on smart light bulbs and Vitamin D supplements. The greatest city in the world is also one of the grayest cities in the world, averaging only about 107 days of sunshine a year.
You may pay a premium for living here, but if you're a sports fan, this city is second to none. The Mets and Yankees, The Giants and Jets, The Knicks and the Nets, Rangers and Islanders, the Red Bulls and the New York City Football Club are all a train ride away. If you live for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, you'll never be bored living in New York.
And each team's home has a different appeal to fans of all stripes. Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is a monument to history, while CitiField in Queens has a more neighborhood ballpark feel to it. The legendary Madison Square Garden is home to the New York Knicks and the Rangers, but head down to the LIRR terminal and you can hop on a train to Nassau Coliseum to catch an Islanders game (until their new Belmont Park digs opens in 2021-2022) or head across the river to Brooklyn to catch the Nets.
But while there's no greater city (and no greater fans) for sports in The Big Apple, you may want to sit in the cheap seats. Because if you enjoy a tall frosty beverage while you root root root for the home team, expect to spend more than you would elsewhere. A 12-ounce beer at Barclay's Arena, home of the Brooklyn Nets, live music and more will set you back 10 bucks.
It sounds weird to say that the largest city in America can start to feel small, but it's the truth. If you're living here, odds are you'll have roommates. And if you're lucky enough to live alone, your apartment will be a little cramped. And outside your apartment, the constant crush of people everywhere can not only lose its luster rather quickly, but it can start to feel claustrophobic.
It can also be isolating for the same reasons. It sounds counterintuitive to say you can feel lonely when you're surrounded by people every hour of every day.
Luckily, the answer to both concerns is one and the same. Think about the things you enjoy and actively seek them out. Do you like playing pickup basketball on the weekends? Maybe you're more into museum tours? Stand up or improv comedy? One of the greatest things about New York is that there's something to appeal to everyone.
Friends are the family we choose, so find your New York family and start feeling at home. Long-term happiness is as much about finding a good support system as it is about your career or financial security or any of the other things that concern us when we're first starting out.
You'll never need a car living in New York City. In fact, after just a couple of weeks here, you'll question whether you'll ever want a car again. Either above ground or below ground, uptown or down, there will always be a bus or train or cab or rideshare heading in your direction.
And if there isn't, you can rent a Citibike almost anywhere in the city to help get you where you need to go. But once you get your Metrocard and get comfortable navigating the subways, you'll be unstoppable — unless your train stops randomly in the tunnel. That can happen sometimes.
Important things to remember: download the MTA app on your phone, so you'll always know how far away you are from your stop and how long you'll have to wait for your train to arrive. Once you're on the train, don't be afraid to look at the maps. You won't look like an out-of-towner. Everyone uses them. It's what they're there for.
If you're in Manhattan, don't try to hail a green taxi if you're staying on the island. Green taxis are exclusively to bring riders from Manhattan to the outer boroughs. If you're staying in Manhattan, get a yellow cab. You don't need cash to take a cab now, as all TLC taxis are now outfitted with credit card readers, as well as digital NFC payment like Apple and Google Pay.
And depending on the time of day and where you're headed, taking the bus will save you steps, but not necessarily time. Remember, busses have their own lanes, but can still get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. And if you do decide to get a Citibike to get to your destination, remember to wear a helmet!
It's almost irrelevant what you're in the mood for. Far and away the best thing about New York is the food. Your favorite food. Your new favorite food. Every kind of food, from every ethnicity, from almost every country on the planet.
As the first American city for millions of immigrants from every corner of the world for hundreds of years, this city will never lack options. In fact, there are so many restaurants in New York you could eat out once a day, every day for 22 years and never eat at the same spot twice.
Spend more than a week here and it'll only be a matter of time before you too develop your own VERY strong opinions about where to find the best bagel in the city, or the best pizza in Bensonhurst, the best bahn mi in Queens, or the only place to go in The Bronx if you're in the mood for a chopped cheese. Don't know what a chopped cheese is? You will.
One thing you'll learn to love about the city (that's what we call it, just “the city") is how you'll stumble upon these fun little neighborhoods and parts of town you never knew existed. It's more than areas with good restaurants. You won't have trouble finding those, remember?
Get out of your apartment often enough and you'll find yourself in parts of the city you don't normally go to. Maybe you'll find a coffee shop or a small indie record store. These places and the memories of discovering them will make your time starting here much more pleasant. And it will take a lot of the pressure and stress out of your early years here.
So, go ahead. Savor the moment. You may never find yourself in that part of town again. Seriously.
One of the greatest and most famous symphony orchestras in the world. Ballet. Rock clubs. Dance clubs. Jazz clubs. Comedy clubs. Talk shows. And of course, Broadway. No, not everything you'll see onstage here is "Hamilton." But with ticket prices like those, maybe that isn't such a bad thing.
New York is a premier destination for comedians and bands and anyone else you've ever wanted to see live. But limiting yourself to the marquee names will severely limit the fun you'll have at indie band shows or open mics. It's a big city with a ton of talent if you're willing to go out and look for it. And the best part is you won't have to look that hard.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And that's also true of life in The Big Apple. So, as much as you'll enjoy living in New York, remember the world doesn't begin at the West Side Highway and end at FDR Drive. We have two airports. One of them is pretty good. The other is LaGuardia. Either one will get you to different places across the country or on the other side of the world.
Yes, New York is special. But at the end of the day, it's a city like any other. And if your life here is no longer serving you, you have the option to leave and go somewhere else. It doesn't mean you're a failure or you couldn't hack it.
If you have the chance to get ahead in life, but it means getting away from New York, that's OK. But don't stay here just because you think you have to in order to be happy or feel fulfilled. Allow yourself to be open to different paths. If one of them leads you to New York, follow it. And if another path offers you something more, take that one.
Because if you can make it here…