10 Things You Need to Know Before Moving To New York

A place of extremes and strong opinions, America’s most populous city has 8.6 million residents, who are much more than stereotypes would suggest. Tough on the outside, New Yorkers — at their core — are much warmer than you might expect. 

However thrilling living in New York City can be, though, it’s far from easy. Understandably, knowing the city’s quirks, nuances and unspoken expectations can help you feel more at home.


  1. The quality of the public school system varies widely by neighborhood and borough. There are schools devoted to those pursuing careers in science, the arts and engineering. There’s even Harvey Milk High School in Manhattan’s East Village to accommodate the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. As for its private schools, competition is fierce and expectant parents have been known to enroll children before they’re even born.

  1. New York is decidedly not car-friendly, so many people become deeply connected to their immediate area, leaving only to commute to work or spend a special evening out “on the town.” In fact, it’s not unusual to find a lifelong resident of Manhattan who has never visited Queens (and vice versa).

  1. New York’s neighborhoods change rapidly, ushering in skyrocketing rent and the disappearance of the communities’ defining cultures. Chances are, though, families who have lived there for generations remain, so be sure to pay them respect.

  1. If you plan on walking slow, get out of the way. Busy New Yorkers have no patience for lollygagging.

  1. The cost of living in New York City is staggering. Young newbies often arrive expecting to share an apartment or loft with several roommates. Depending on who you end up with and how timely you are with you or rent and utilities, the experience can be awesome or awful. The good news is — given the transient nature of the city — living arrangements can often be tailored to your needs. Opt for a short-term lease (sublet) before securing a permanent home if you’re unsure.

  1. Impressively effective, New York’s comprehensive subway system is the best in the world. That said, you need a monthly pass or you’ll pay through the nose.

  1. Drink prices in Manhattan are really expensive — after all, something has to cover the exorbitant rent. To keep their  budgets in check, many of those hitting the town “pregame” in their neighborhood. 

  1. New York is loud, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days of the year, so don’t expect to hear chirping birds and crickets without seeking out the serenity. But do plan to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

  1. Seamless is great in the sense you can order food from most every restaurant under the sun. However, it’ll land you in the poorhouse if relying on it as a habit.

  1. Houston Street is not pronounced like the Texas city — House-Ton is the proper — pronunciation. Be sure to remember, as it’s key to navigating the city. SoHo, for example, refers to the area south of Houston Street, while NoHo resides north of the road.

Discover more about the city of New York — as well as things to do — on our blog.

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