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5 things no one told you about living in NYC

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When thinking about the US, most people think of New York City. And for a good reason. It is one of the biggest cities and it has a culture of its own. It is no unknown fact that many people want to move here. The opportunities are better and you have them on every corner. But, not everything about living in NYC is magical. There are many things no one told you about living in NYC and you should know them before moving from DC to NYC. Learn whether this city is good for you or you should start looking for another place to move to!

The most important things no one told you about living in NYC

  • Apartments are not that big
  • Everyday life is expensive
  • Being late is a common thing
  • Feeling alone is also common
  • Homeless people are all around you

Apartments are not that big

Before you move to NYC, you will have to find an apartment. The biggest mistake that people make here is thinking that they will rent an apartment they see in movies and series. That is an imaginary world and you should not expect anything from it. What you will get is a small apartment. And you will still have to pay a lot of money for it. The situation with apartments in Washington is much better so you may not expect this in New York. So, before you look for Washington DC movers, make sure that you can live like this.

NYC landscape
Ready to start your move? Wait just a minute! There are some You need to adjust your expectations. A competitive real estate market might be things no one told you about living in NYC that you should be aware of.

Breaking down apartment sizes and costs in NYC

New York City is a diverse place, and you’ll need to find a way to get used to the NYC lifestyle. Apartment sizes and costs can vary greatly, not just from borough to borough but from one neighborhood to the next. In general, you’ll find that apartments here are smaller than in many other U.S. cities. For example, the average size for a one-bedroom apartment is about 750 square feet. Studios are even smaller, averaging around 550 square feet. Two-bedroom apartments might offer around 1,000 square feet if you’re lucky. Average apartment sizes in different NYC Areas:

  • Bronx: One-bedroom: 850 sq ft, Studio: 700 sq ft
  • Staten Island: One-bedroom: 900 sq ft, Studio: 750 sq ft
  • Upper East Side (Manhattan): One-bedroom: 720 sq ft, Studio: 520 sq ft
  • Williamsburg (Brooklyn): One-bedroom: 760 sq ft, Studio: 610 sq ft
  • Astoria (Queens): One-bedroom: 820 sq ft, Studio: 660 sq ft
  • Harlem (Manhattan): One-bedroom: 780 sq ft, Studio: 580 sq ft
  • DUMBO (Brooklyn): One-bedroom: 770 sq ft, Studio: 625 sq ft

Owning a home in NYC is a dream for many, but it’s a costly one. Renting remains the go-to option for about 68% of residents, largely due to the high cost of buying. Rent isn’t cheap either. You can expect to pay upwards of $3,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. However, other boroughs like Queens or Brooklyn can be somewhat more budget-friendly, with rents often starting at around $2,000 for a similar-sized apartment. Some neighborhoods in the Bronx or Staten Island offer more reasonable prices and larger spaces, and it’s always smart to opt for affordable residential movers DC area residents recommend.

Maximizing your NYC apartment space

Living comfortably in a small NYC apartment is all about clever use of space. Start with multi-functional furniture like beds with built-in storage drawers, which can negate the need for an additional dresser. Similarly, a wall-mounted, fold-down desk can serve as a day-time workspace while folding away to free up floor space at night. Speaking of walls, maximize your vertical space by installing floating shelves above desks or in the kitchen. Your team from the moving companies DC area relies on could prove invaluable when unpacking and assembling your furniture after the move.

small apartment, one of the things no one told you about living in NYC
You need to adjust your expectations. A competitive real estate market might be things no one told you about living in NYC.

Beyond furniture, regular decluttering can’t be overlooked. Go through your belongings every few months to sell or donate non-essential items, making it easier to stay organized. Another overlooked storage hack is utilizing over-the-door organizers and the space under your sink for items like shoes, cleaning supplies, or toiletries. Lastly, enhancing natural light can work wonders in a small space; opt for light fabric curtains to let the sunshine pour in, creating a sense of spaciousness. Following these tips ensures you’ll get the most out of your limited square footage .

Everyday life is expensive

We all see movies where people have a ton of drinks at the bar and pay them without any problems. It is the same thing when they go to buy groceries. But, no one will tell you that this is actually pretty expensive. That could not be a problem if you have a well-paid job.

The real cost of utilities in NYC

Living in New York City means you’ll spend a good chunk on utilities. This might be different from what you’re used to if you’re moving from DC, for example. Washington DC vs. NYC living costs can vary greatly. It’s a part of life you can’t ignore, especially when budgeting.

  • The most common utility you’ll pay for is electricity. On average, you might spend around $100 to $150 per month, depending on the size of your apartment and how much you use air conditioning or heating. Costs can go up in the summer and winter due to extreme temperatures.
  • Water is another essential utility. The average water bill can range from $40 to $80 per month for an apartment. If you live in a standalone home, expect to pay a bit more due to lawn care or additional bathrooms.
  • Internet services also add up. Basic plans with providers like Spectrum start at around $50 per month. If you want faster speeds for streaming or gaming, that cost can double.

Adding it all up, you’re looking at around $200 to $300 per month just for these basic utilities. It’s crucial to factor these numbers into your budget. A smart move is to invest in energy-efficient appliances and LED bulbs to shave off a few dollars from your electric bill. Keep in mind that moving to NYC on budget is entirely possible, if you manage your budget wisely.

Grocery shopping: What’s the real price tag?

Buying groceries in New York City is not cheap, so it’s essential to know what you’re up against. If you’re a single person, you might spend anywhere from $300 to $500 per month on groceries. For families, this number can easily double or triple. Milk, for example, can cost you around $4 per gallon, while a loaf of bread is usually over $2. When it comes to saving money, some grocery stores are more budget-friendly than others. Trader Joe’s and Aldi are popular choices for those looking to stretch their dollar. Here, you can find fresh produce, canned goods, and staples like rice and pasta for less than what you’d pay at more upscale stores.

dedicating a lot of dollars is one of things no one told you about living in NYC
How to prepare for higher everyday costs is one things no one told you about living in NYC.

But what if you have specific dietary needs? Organic foods or specialty items like gluten-free products will cost you more. A box of organic quinoa could set you back $5, while gluten-free bread can be as much as $7 a loaf. So, the bottom line is that grocery shopping can be a significant expense in your monthly budget. Being smart about where you shop and what you buy can help you manage your costs. Look out for discounts, use coupons, and consider bulk buying for non-perishable items to save some cash.

Being late is a common thing

Using the subway in NYC is a great way to go through the city. But, there is a high chance that you are going to be late, even when using it. It is due to everything that is happening above. You still have to go to the station from above where all the congestion is happening and that is the main reason you may be late.

NYC subways schedule: What to expect

If you’ve never been to New York City, the subway system can seem like a labyrinth at first. But it’s the city’s lifeline, connecting its five boroughs through various lines, each identified by either a number or a letter. The most famous ones include the A, C, E lines running up and down Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, and the 1, 2, 3 lines along Seventh Avenue. Under normal circumstances, trains run every 2-5 minutes during peak hours and 5-10 minutes during off-peak hours. Sounds convenient, right? However, the reality is often different. Delays happen, and they can be due to various reasons—from signal issues to track maintenance.

a man who knows all the things no one told you about living in NYC
Learn to navigate the subway as a local with our help!

Rush hours, usually between 8-9 a.m. and 5-6 p.m., are especially busy. Trains are often crowded, and delays are more frequent. During weekends and late nights, the service becomes less frequent, often running at intervals of 10-12 minutes. This is also the time when planned maintenance work is common, leading to further delays or route changes.

Navigating NYC: Public transportation costs

Getting around New York City often means relying on public transportation. The subway and bus system here is extensive, but it comes at a price. A monthly MetroCard, which gives you unlimited subway and local bus rides, costs $127. For many, this is the most cost-effective way to commute. If you’re not a frequent traveler, a single subway or bus ride will cost you $2.75. For those who don’t need to commute daily, there’s also a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. You can load this card with any amount between $5.50 and $80. Keep in mind that there are also other commuting options. For example, biking can be an affordable choice if you live and work in the same borough. Some people even prefer walking if the distance is short, as it’s free and good for your health.

Feeling alone is also common

Another thing no one will tell about living in NYC is that you will often feel alone. It does not have to be true with you but you should expect it. But, how can this happen in such a big city? People lead very busy lifestyles and there is not that much time to hang out regularly. Also, it can be hard to maintain relationships, even if you have a strong need. If you are okay with this, then you can start calling long distance movers DC relies on for the move. If not, make sure you take your time when making a decision. You do not want to make a mistake.

a man standing and thinking
Feeling alone is pretty common in NYC.

Overcoming things no one told you about living in NYC

Newcomers can try various activities to make new friends and beat loneliness. For instance, taking a class at the Brooklyn Brainery or the 92nd Street Y can be a great way to meet like-minded people. If you’re into sports, ZogSports organizes leagues throughout the city where you can join a team. For those who enjoy cultural activities, attending events at the Museum of Modern Art or Lincoln Center can offer a chance to connect with others who share your interests. Dog owners might find companionship both for themselves and their pets at popular dog parks like Central Park’s Dog Area. For a less formal setup, meet-up groups focusing on everything from book clubs to cooking are widespread. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of neighborhood cafes and local community events as spots to strike up a conversation and make a new friend.

Homeless people are all around you

Another thing that not too many people will tell you about living in New York City is that it is full of homeless people. When we watch television, we can just see all the glamour that NYC has to offer. But, not everything is about that. Around 65000 people use homeless shelters every single day! That means that there are even more homeless people on the streets. Have this in mind and create the right picture before relocating.

twilight in a big city
No one said that living in NYC is a thing of the movies. However, with the help of our tips, you might find the reality easier to adjust to.

Practical tips to help you with the things no one told you about living in NYC

Contrary to some beliefs, most homeless individuals are not dangerous but are dealing with challenging life circumstances. You’re more likely to encounter homeless people in high-traffic areas like Penn Station, Port Authority, and certain subway stations. If someone approaches you for help, it’s your personal choice on how to respond. Some people carry granola bars or water bottles to offer instead of cash. While they might ask for assistance or money, a polite ‘no’ is usually respected if you choose not to help. Always prioritize your own safety and use common sense when interacting with anyone on the streets. Understanding the reality of homelessness in NYC helps you be better prepared and empathetic.

This is not the complete list of things that people avoid telling when living in NYC

New York City has a unique mix of experiences unmatched by other locations. While we’ve discussed the things no one told you about living in NYC, it’s crucial to remember that challenges exist everywhere. Here, you’ll discover endless entertainment, diverse neighborhoods, and career opportunities like nowhere else. Overcoming the city’s hurdles can make living here even more rewarding. If New York feels right for you, subtle help from professional movers can ease the move. Well-prepared and ready for adventure, you could find that the city’s upsides more than balance its downsides. So, weigh your options and consider making New York City your new home.


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