Moving to New York City
Are you planning on moving to New York City? So I moved to NYC from the mountains of NJ about 4 years ago. You didn’t know there were mountains in NJ? Yes there are and in fact, it is the Appalachian Mountains which extend into NJ. Well I am glad I was able to teach you something today! This article is about moving to NYC and not only from NJ, but from anywhere really. But If you live in NYC and commute to work into NJ, what they call a “reverse commute”, do not expect less stressful rides to work. Since I live on the East Side of Manhattan, my commute to work in Northeast NJ (the famous Bergen County) is only 40 minutes. Woohoo!….you may think. Shorter commute…big win. But no…try coming back into the city during rush hour. I suggest you actually work in NYC if you are going to live in NYC, not like me. You will want a better, less stressful commute than I have!
Cost of moving to NYC
There are other factors to think about when moving into NYC, especially Manhattan. If you’re moving into a smaller place, which is most likely as rental costs are much higher in the city, you have to think about your stuff. Apartments in NYC have little to no closet or storage space. I lock up my bike in the basement, which I am lucky to have. But when I moved into the city, I had stuff and no room to put it. So I rented a 10’ x 5’ storage locker. The cost for my size storage space is about $120 per month but the cost varies depending on size and location of the facility.
New York City income tax!
It will cost you more to live in NYC. No getting around that and it is no joke. The first thing to know is NYC has a 3.2% income tax. It is the only city I know of that has an income tax but there must be other cities that do. So you will be paying Federal, State AND NYC income tax. NY State income tax is slightly higher than NJ state income tax but not much more.
Now that you have driven to your apartment, you have to look for parking. If you have no patience like me, and don’t want to circle the streets for an hour looking for a free parking spot on the street, you will have to park your car in a garage. That will cost you anywhere between $350 to $600 per month and maybe more, depending on location. I pay $420 as of this writing. The food stores have about the same prices as NJ and Whole Foods is close but I find it expensive. If you like to eat out, just know you will be paying more than in NJ, or in most other states. On average, I pay 20% to 50% more to eat out in NYC than in NJ. You might be able to find a friendly neighborhood Italian place that serves good food that’s not too pricey, but don’t count on it. If you like to have a drink or three with your meals, expect to pay $12 per drink or more. The pizza is well priced and the chain restaurants are about the same price as NJ but who wants to eat in a chain in NYC. Not you! You want to fit into the NYC lifestyle? Don’t eat in a chain restaurant. Or don’t eat out and order from Seamless. Seamless is my favorite thing about living in NYC! It’s easy, safe and no worries about finding cash to tip the delivery guy.
Where do I live?
Let’s talk a little bit about where you will be living. If you work in NJ and don’t have a preference and are just looking to live somewhere in a fairly safe neighborhood and you want as short of a commute as possible, live on the West Side. You won’t have to cross town and you won’t have to sit in traffic on the FDR. Now I am told people who live on the West Side are different from people who live on the East Side. That may be true but I grew up in NJ and cannot tell the difference. Ask me in a few years. I hear there is somewhat of a rivalry between West Siders and East Siders. If you have a bigger budget, live in Greenwich Village, Tribeca or Soho. Everything is within walking distance…and I mean everything. Every area of Manhattan has a name and you will hear people answer the question, “Where do you live?” with a response like, “Oh, I live on the Upper West Side”, or “Soho” like you are supposed to know where those places are. You won’t know but that’s ok. Everyone else in NYC knows where they are and so does Google Maps. I would recommend living south of 100th St although there are areas higher than 100th St that are very nice and affordable. I just don’t know where they are. One advantage to living north of 100th Street if you work in NJ like me, is your commute will be a whole lot shorter. Do some research on the neighborhood you decide to move into.
Neighborhoods in NYC
You will have to learn some directions if you live in NYC. Yes I know you know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west but you will not see the sun if you are in a subway station. It’s pretty easy though. Downtown means the street numbers are getting lower…or counting down. Uptown means the street numbers are getting higher or counting up. So if you are on 60th Street and need to go to 14th Street, you will take the Downtown subway. Easy right? Also worth knowing is the subway line will give you the name of the very last stop so you might want to download a subway app so you know which direction the subway is going by knowing the last stop.
Smells of NYC
A few more quick items to cover if you are planning on living in NYC. It will smell different. And yes, there is a smell of pee in the air, especially on hot days. The subway will often smell bad, again, like pee. But also, there are a lot of cars and trucks in Manhattan so the air is fairly dirty and exhaust fumes are in the air as well. Speaking of the dirty air, you will have to clean your apartment more often. The dirty air gets everywhere so check out your window sills about once a week. They will need to be cleaned fairly often. The horses in Central Park make sections of the park smell of horse manure. That’s because the horses miss their poop bucket and crap on the road. I am not a fan of that smell. If you want to walk in Central Park and not smell horse manure, stick to the East Side of the park or the middle of the park where you can see the Great Lawn, ball fields and lots of little walking paths and bridges. The horses don’t go to these places. The biggest “sense” difference is sound. I used to wake up with birds chirping and hear the blowing wind and the rustling leaves on the trees. Now I hear garbage trucks, sirens and heavy truck traffic…and worst of all, the blaring, non stop honking! I used to wake up to see a deer or bear in my yard. Now I don’t see many bears or deer on the streets of Manhattan.