Yep, we were the same. It’s impossible to read the title of this one without getting that bloody song stuck in your head. But moving to any big city, let alone the Big City, is a serious, intimidating business. You might want to stick on some classical instead.
Whether it’s work, love or simply curiosity bringing you to the City that Never Sleeps, there are a few essentials to bear in mind to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible. Here, to help you set sail and settle in, are 7 IDEAL tips for moving to New York.
OUR GUY ON THE GROUND
New York neighbourhoods are hugely diverse, with each a completely different proposition to the next. Within a borough, district, even block, lies a hugely diverging, unique personality and local pride. With the makeup and manoeuvring of each area forever in a state of shapeshifting, deciding from afar where you want to settle before you actually spend time there is a foolish move indeed.
It’s best practice to arrange a short term lease (sublet) in the city for a couple of months to get your bearings and figure out which ‘hood best chimes with your expectations. Legally, a sublet needs to last for a minimum of 30 consecutive days in NYC, but going through Airbnb negates this, at a cost. A cheaper option could be couchsurfing (still going strong in the city) which allows you to experience multiple areas more transiently.
JOB FIRST, APARTMENT LATER
Sure it might feel liberating to leave London (other cities are available) for New York with little in the luggage and even less on the agenda. But with no job secured, you might find yourself sinking fast, financially. New York is an expensive place with a lot of temptation, and the new-to-a-city mindset usually involves a huge amount of spending to in the same of getting acquainted.
Practically, then, it’s well worth having a job secured, or at least for several interviews to be lined up, before you make the move. This is the most common trajectory for obtaining a Green Card or other visa which allows you to work in the country. Once you know where your office is, you’ll have a more clinical focus on where you’ll be looking to live.
GET RELIABLE MOVERS
Renting in New York is complex, costly and multi-layered. The good news is if you’ve rented in London you’ll be used to keeping your cool in the face of lousy landlords and pushy estate agents. Once you’re ready to make a more permanent move, getting your stuff across town is surprisingly affordable. Companies like NYC movers offer decent, competitive rates and cover all the boroughs. One less thing to worry about, we think.
LEARN LOCATION LINGO
Though it might make your head explode when first confronted with central New York’s layout, it’s actually kinda simple when you get used to it. A few pointers; avenues run north and south whereas for streets, it’s east and west. Odd numbered streets go west while even heads east, and odd-numbered buildings are on the north side of a street, even-numbered on the south (anyone got a compass handy?). Wait, there’s more; in Manhattan, uptown refers to, generally speaking, anywhere north of Central Park, midtown is between 59th and 30th, and downtown starts south of 30th. Confused? Perhaps one of these might help….
‘APPY TO HELP
If you’ve ever fallen asleep on the Piccadilly Line and ended up in Cockfosters, we’re sure Citymapper or Uber has come to your rescue. Both too make the New York travel experience a little easier. The app Exit Strategy NYC Subway Map makes travelling underground a lot easier. When you need something at your door, pronto, there are countless delivery based apps for the lazier denizens of the city; Postmates is probably the most popular. Finally, finding a public bathroom to do your business in New York is notoriously difficult, but the rather crudely named Sit or Squat will guide you to one.
ENTERTAIN YOURSELF FOR FREE AT FIRST
When you first arrive, you’ll need every extra cent at your disposal to find a place and settle in. In the first few months, it’s wise to enjoy the free stuff of the city rather than spending your budget on Brooklyn restaurants, ‘Burg bars and Broadway shows. Fortunately, there’s plenty to keep you entertained on the cheap.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMO), one of the best of its kind in the world, offers free entry on Friday evenings (4pm to 8pm). Strolling the High Line also won’t cost you a dime, and gives amazing views of the city, the opportunity for some stargazing and people watching. Great stuff. If you want an even better view of Manhattan and beyond, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry comes at no cost. And of course, a stroll around Central Park or across Brooklyn Bridge needs no ticket and gets you well and truly acquainted with some of the most famous landmarks in the city.
MAKE SURE YOU PACK YOUR ‘LONDON ATTITUDE’
The ‘New York attitude’ is an infamous one. No smiling at strangers, no striking up of conversations on the subway and definitely, 100%, no ‘good mornings’ to people in your block. Well, if you’ve ever lived in London, you’ll be well learned in this lexicon. Or rather, lack of it. You’ll also know that, by and large, this reputation for the curt and unkindness is undeserved. Be polite, enthusiastic, arrive with open arms and an open mind, and the city will embrace you, too. Good luck!