Living in New York City

By Najah Ayoub

Living in New York CityLiving in this metropolitan location is unlike any other place you’ll call home. For many, it’s the center of the world. Those who settle here find a neighborhood that suits them, connect with their communities, and get ready to weather the seasons in style.

With that in mind, there’s something special and unique here for everyone, from architecture, Broadway shows, top-tier universities, historical sites, lush greenspaces, world-renowned museums, and so much more. Big city livin’ may be quite a change for some folks, so knowing the pros and cons to being a NYC resident will help you decide if this one-of-a-kind place is the right one for you.

Quick City Stats

You’ll be hustling and bustling around just over 300 square miles with 8.8 million city dwellers in NYC. It’s not a lot of space for the most populated city in the US. What’s more, the demographic makeup is pretty diverse; while 42.7% of New Yorkers identify as white, 29.1% identify as Hispantic or Latinx, 24.3% as African American, and 14.1% as Asian.

Over half of NYC metro residents identify as Democrat, making the city politically left-leaning New York state is considered a blue state, with the majority of residents having voted for Democratic presidential candidates since 1988.

The city is so big, it’s broken up even further into boroughs that have their own individual flavors. The 5 boroughs of NYC include:

Central Park, New York City

Pros of living in New York City

  • Beaches are a part of big city living. If you need a break from the grit and go-go-go of the downtown scene, you can always find a place in the sand not too far away. NYC is a coastal city; the local parks department maintains 14 miles of beaches itself. And there’s lots of surf to choose from. You can make like The Ramones and have fun at rock-rock-Rockaway Beach in Queens. Or cruise the boardwalk and take a spin on the Wonder Wheel ferris wheel at Coney Island in Brooklyn. Even if you’re in the most northern borough, you can still feel the ocean breeze at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Slap on some sunscreen before hitting the subway and you’ll soon find yourself basking oceanside.
  • 24/7 subway service is at-your-service. NYC is among the shortlist of locations in the world that has a 24 hour-a-day public transportation system. And, its subways, buses, and trains can take you to most of the places you’ll want to go in the city for a small per-ride fee. If you don’t want to drive, you really may be able to ditch your personal vehicle.
  • You can get most of what you need delivered to your door. Need some groceries STAT? Craving cookies late into the night? Time for dinner and a movie at home? Putting up curtains in your new apartment, but need the curtains… and curtain rods? Most items can be ordered and delivered the same day in the city through various apps and online vendors. This is a real bonus, since there are plenty of New Yorkers who make it day-to-day without needing a car to get around.
  • There’s lots of free or low cost things to do. Whether you’re living in the city or just visit, the cost of grabbing a bite to eat and seeing the sites can really add up. With a few internet searches though, you can find a bevy of fun stuff to do that won’t break the bank. For instance, many museums and cultural institutions in the city have a day of the week or month where entry is pay as you wish or free. Want to get a decent view of the Statue of Liberty? Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry — it’s always free! As a city resident, you can also apply for the NYC ID card to get discounts and free entry to a number of events and locations all across the boroughs.
  • There’s a thriving job market. Since late last year, the city’s private sector has added 197,800 jobs. Jobs were added across many industries in the city including in Leisure & Hospitality, Professional & Business Services, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, and Manufacturing. The rate of unemployment is going down as well. You may also be happy to know that there are resources out there to help you get your foot in the door. If you’re hoping to break into the Film and TV industry for instance, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has a few training programs for production assistants, post production positions and even animation!
  • There’s way more than just NYC pizza. Though the city’s style of pizza is well-known, the cuisines you can try are as diverse as the population of the five boroughs. From Michelin-star fine dining, to Instagram-worthy sweet treats, to the Halal food carts with delicious falafel on the street, you won’t grow tired of all the flavors you can try. Checking out some of the neighborhoods in the city means you can explore cuisines alongside the culture, such as Manhattan’s Chinatown or Little Italy on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. You’ll find the flavor you’re looking for and ones you hadn’t even heard of yet in NYC.
  • Diversity is part of daily life, especially in Queens. There is no typical New Yorker; they all bring their unique histories and backgrounds to the city when they call it home. With that in mind, this city is incredibly diverse. So much so that the borough of Queens has been recognized as one of the most racially and ethnically diverse places in the world. At least 138 languages are spoken by the borough’s residents!
  • There are many fantastic universities and colleges. If you’re hoping to raise your children in the city or looking to add another degree behind your name, this city has some major higher education institutions. Both elite private and Ivy League schools are represented featuring New York University and Columbia University (ranking at #2 nationally). The City University of New York (CUNY) is NYC’s public university system, established in 1847 and has 25 campuses. CUNY’s film school at Brooklyn College has recently been ranked #25 in all of North America. In terms of other highly ranked schools in NYC, Fordham University and Yeshiva University tie for #68 nationally.

Cons of living in New York City

  • Cost of living is really high. City livin’ is at a premium as the overall cost is much greater than the national average. Housing (at more than double the national average) and utilities are some of the biggest contributors. Everyday costs are higher, too. For instance, a night out for a three course meal with a friend or date will likely run you $100 easily. A monthly gym membership will be a little more than that at around $113. And, the sales tax is 8.875%. You’ll want to factor that into all the necessities you’ll need for your new place and perhaps a winter coat if you don’t already have one.
  • Have your paperwork and (potential) broker’s fee ready to sign a lease. Not only are rents high, you’ll have to put the work in to even sign a lease. Working with a broker may be necessary to navigate the available listings that fit your criteria and budget. When you’re ready to sign, it’s good to be aware that you may have to pay a broker’s fee in addition to a security deposit and first month’s rent. What’s more, many landlords will require proof of your ability to afford the rent. You may need to supply copies of recent bank statements, proof of income, paystubs, and even letters of recommendation. Apartments can be leased quickly, so having these documents at the ready may be critical to securing the keys to the perfect spot for you.
  • Get ready to be out in the elements. Your wardrobe has got to be ready for each and every season. You’ll be commuting in snow, rain, humid hot temps, and everything in between… amongst millions of other residents. NYC enjoys distinct winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons. And though you may have to bolster your weather-ready clothing collection, you’ll be rewarded with iconic snowy holiday decorations and the kind of autumn leaves you see in well-known rom-com movies (because some were filmed there).
  • Living in this city is a… sensory experience. NYC is the city that never sleeps. This means that there’s traffic, horns honking, neighbors chatting, city lights, and happenings at all hours of the day. If you’re a light sleeper or accustomed to quiet hours in the day, you may consider these factors. Beyond what you see and hear, you might also take note of your nose. While there are a lot of efforts to keep the city clean, garbage day on your block in the summer heat can have it’s own special scent from time to time. It’s all a part of the well-rounded NYC experience.
  • Distances on a map may seem small but getting places can take longer than you think. Perhaps you decide to live “uptown” in Manhattan and hope to take a jaunt over to the Brooklyn Museum for the day. There are subway trains that will take you there and the distance on the map may not seem so far. However, at a 17 mile distance from Upper Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, you’re looking at an hour or more on the train or in a car — and that’s if the traffic for either is in your favor. Padding any trips in the city with extra time is wise to make considerations for any unforeseen delays or changes in your plans. While strict planners may find this jarring, part of the beauty of living in this city is finding hidden gems of places and events along the way.
  • It may take you a long time to find a parking spot if you have a car. There are a lot of cars in NYC and not a lot of space. So, securing a great, free parking spot on the street is a real feat. At times, you may be making loops around your neighborhood before finding one that’s within a reasonable walking distance from your apartment. And, you’ll need to make sure to abide by the city’s parking rules to allow for regular street cleaning — and avoid any parking tickets. Of course, you can also pay to park in a parking garages if you are committed to being a city driver.

Moving to NYCIf NYC is still the Big Apple of your eye after weighing the pros and cons, make your relocation a snap by working with Piece of Cake Moving and Storage. We’re NYC moving experts and provide a range of services to meet your every need. Whether you’re looking for packing supplies or help with packing, unpacking, furniture assembly, we’ve got you covered. Let us make your move stress-free so you can focus on your new Empire State of mind.


Ready to make a move? Get in touch today for an obligation-free guaranteed flat price moving quote.

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