How to Move and Adapt to NYC

“N.Y.C, just got here this morning, three bucks, two bags one me.”- Annie the Musical.

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I had heard this saying all of my life, but it rings so true. Moving to NYC is no joke and staying here is even more challenging, however, if you stick it out, the rewards are abundant. In order to move here and stay here, these are the top 5 tips that I found to be super beneficial to my almost six year residency in the Big Apple.

Book Suggestion: Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to & Living in New York City by Stewart Lee Allen:

Plan, Plan, Plan

If you want to move to NYC, begin planning for the move at least one year in advance. Brainstorm the types of jobs that you want to apply for once you move to NYC. If you want to work at a restaurant here, YOU MUST HAVE PRIOR EXPERIENCE. For example, one of my theatre friends became a server in her hometown a year or two before moving to New York, because she knew that you had to have experience to be a waitress here. Plan how much you want to spend on rent to help you figure out what jobs will fit your budget.

Furthermore, ask yourself: “What borough would I like to live in?” Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, or Brooklyn. Research the neigbhorhoods in those boroughs. In NYC, people dicuss neighborhoods more than street names so you want to famaliarize yourself with the different neighborhoods. Side note: Staten Island is the fifth borough, but it is super far and you really need a car to live there.

Best Neigborhoods in Brooklyn:

Save $3,000-$5,000

I hate to break it to you, but $3,000 is the minimum amount you would need to bring to live here. Yes, rent is high, but you have to put down about $2,000 or more just to move in to an apartment, even with roommates. Let’s say you can afford $800 a month for a room (obviously you will have roommates for this price), you will have to pay 1st month’s rent, a deposit, and a broker’s fee, which adds up to a hefty $2400 to move-in. If you bring $3,000, this leaves you with only $600 in your pocket until you get a job and get your first paycheck. Apparently, people are not supposed to charge a broker’s fee anymore, but they still do it. I just paid a broker’s fee to move in to my current apartment a couple of months ago. The broker’s fee is worth it to be honest because I have gotten some nice affordable rooms with the help of a broker or real estate agent.

Need Tips to Save Money:

Get a Job, or Two or Three

If your job transferred you to work in NYC, then kudos to you because you are already a step ahead of most of the peeps who come here. I was told not to apply for jobs until I moved here. Why? Well, this is New York City and employers need people ASAP, so they are not going to hire people living in another state when there are millions who currently live here available to begin work tomorrow, or even today.

Now, I remember people in Tennessee thought that I was dumb for not having a job when I got here, but this is the norm. You CANNOT apply for jobs here unless you currently live here or if your job has transferred you here. That’s it. When you move here, begin searching for jobs ASAP using your handy dandy new NYC address so you book interviews quickly. In the last six years of living here, finding a job has never taken me longer than about two to three weeks.

NYC may have high rent, but they are always hiring and you can find a job. If you discover that your job isn’t paying enough, get another job that works with your current work schedule. The pay here is NICE! Minimum wage is $15.00 an hour and most of my jobs have paid more than this. Also, there are some pretty high profile jobs here, like ushering at Jazz at Lincoln Center or Lincoln Center, working in customer service for the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway Shows, and working at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem to name a few.

Best resources for finding jobs: has been my bestie, most of my NYC jobs were found on there.

Live withOUT Luxuries

Are you used to doing laundry at home? Say goodbye. Used to Central heating and Air, adios amigos. Dishwasher, lol, you got jokes. Big closets, uh no, you will be lucky to get a closet at all. I have seen so many rooms advertised without closets. It’s crazy. I have only had central heating and air for two out of those six years that I have lived here, had a dishwasher for two of those six years, and had laundry in my unit for two of those six years.

The more luxuries you want in your apartment the higher your rent will be. My most expensive rent was $910 a month and this apartment had laundry in the unit, a virtual doorman, and a dishwasher. We had electric heating and air in this apartment, which was not that great because the electric unit in my room was not working properly. The apartment that I had prior to the $910 apartment had central heating and air and I only paid $575 a month for that room with no laundry in the unit or dishwasher. My closets have been quite small, except for the closet in the $910 apt, which was a double door closet with two spacious shelves.

If you want affordable rent, you will probably have to live with roommates. If you live alone, your rent will run you about $1500 to $2500 or more a month in Brooklyn. Manhattan apartments are twice this price and acutally have way less space than the Brooklyn, Queens, and Bronx apartments. With roommates your rent would be about $800 to $1,000 in Brooklyn. You will rarely ever see your roommates more than likely so it is really not a bad deal. Sidenote: I found my current apartment and my last apartment on Facebook marketplace, found my other apartments through and one apartment from the generosity of a friend’s sister. Yay for friend’s generous relatives.

Best place to find apartments in NYC: Facebook marketplace:

Say Goodbye to Wal-mart & Most Chains

There are no Wal-marts in NYC, you have to go to New Jersey or Upstate New York to find it. This was a big change for me personally since I was used to buying all the things from Wal-Mart. However, I began shopping at my local grocery store or Trader Joe’s for food and then Target for my tolietries to solve the dilemna. You can also shop locally at $99 cent stores (these items are not EVER 99 cents, don’t get tricked), and bodegas (corner stores located on almost every block in NYC), and mom and pop shops.

There are several places to shop here and I guess this is the way it should be everywhere. Wal-marts have sort of taken over the small businesses in other states and NYC wants to keep people shopping locally. There are some chain stores here and definitely more chain restaurants than I remember seeing even six years ago. However, most chains are in the times square area due to tourists who are looking for familiarity here. Sidenote: If you live here, don’t go to times square, there are way too many peeps taking pics and walking slowly, please don’t torture yourself. You will be living in NYC, now act like it. Just kidding, but not really, you will feel differently about times square after living here, oh the horror, the horror! No New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for Me!

Local NYC shops and markets

Hope this helps.

Dominique Duarte

Would you ever move to NYC? Why or why not? Comment below!

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