Moving to New York City – 2020’s Complete Guide



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Moving to New York City

Many immigrants and expats all over the world are attracted to New York City due to its excitement, diversity, and space. The city is known as a city of extremes, and thus, people willing to relocate there should be aware.

Almost everyone dreams of living in this city at a certain point in their lives. New York City is an amazing place to live because of all the goodies that are in the city, such as the best neighborhoods and best restaurants in the world and many great city parks for every person.

Adjusting to a modern education system, job opportunities, and the tough competition in the housing market are part of the things expats must be ready to manage when planning to relocate to NYC.

The lifestyle and working environment in Manhattan are energetic and lively, and the enjoyment that comes after work is the best part of working there.

All you need to make your relocation to the Big Apple a successful one is covered in this guide regardless of the type of your move, whether individual, business, or college student.

Get familiar with what your future home will look like by going through our relocation guide before you make a reservation with the airport. Let’s first take look at New York as a city.

New York City Overview

In America, the biggest cultural base is New York. The total labor force in the state is constituted by expats from other states that move in because of the promise of an exciting and fulfilling life they are being drawn to.

Millions of people relocate to NYC annually to chase and live the American dream. New York City is the choice of most people all around the world when it comes to relocation as there are many job opportunities in almost every field of life such as law, media, arts, fashion, business, architecture and finance.

The city contains five divisions that can be distinguished by their lifestyles and costs of living. The divisions include The Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, which are like a hub for newcomers in the city.

There are many popular landmarks in New York City that will keep you in high spirit while you learn about and settle in your new home.

Coney Island, the Statue of Liberty, Upper East Side, Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, and Brooklyn Bridge are all great and amazing places to visit.

You will find all type of lives in New York City as it is known to contain varieties of nightlife, entertainment options, cuisines, and many other amusements. Anything you cannot find in New York City is not in existence.

Climatic Condition

Cold winters and hot summers (continental climate) are the climate condition residents experience in New York City. They only enjoy normal weather conditions here.  The temperature during winter is averagely 0°C but may dip lower to -10°C.

Endeavor to get a nice winter coat, as there are much snow and intense wind chill. Summer, on the other hand, can be so hot sometimes that all you will be hoping for is for those winter days to come back.

The season residents considered to be the best in New York is during spring and fall, as they are not that intense. Consider the table below to have an idea of the weather you will be facing once you relocate to New York.

Winter (Dec to Feb): -3°C to 7°C

Spring (Mar to May): 2°C to 22°C

Summer (Jun to Aug): 16°C to 31°C

Autumn (Sep to Nov): Varies

Cost of Living

You will be paying a huge sum to live in New York, so it is quite important that you learn to appreciate the city. Simply put, you will have to base your living on Budget.

It will cost you between 28 to 39% increase to the national average to get to the grocery store on a single trip, as reported by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Expatistan reported that it would cost you $31 for two tickets to the cinema while you may have to pay $7 for a pint in your local hood.

There are many foods available for your consumption in the city, so you don’t have to eat pasta every time even though it is an expensive city. To live an affordable life in the city, there are some basic tips to follow.

Avoid eating outs, compare prices of items before you buy, eat at home and make use of websites such as Nifty NYC and The Skint to find cheap markets during weekends.

The annual income in the year 2017, according to the United States Census Bureau was USD$35,761 (AUD$49,125).

Many things are to be considered when relocating to New York City. The basics include:

  • Average wage: None of the average full-time workers in other cities in the United States earns up to what the average worker in NYC earns. The average weekly wage in Manhattan is $2,954, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Rent prices: It will cost an average of $2,890 and $3,330 to rent a one- and two-bedroom apartment in NYC respectively. These rates place New York City at the 2nd position on the list of the priciest city to live.
  • Utilities: It will cost an average of $126.50 on utilities for a 915-square-foot apartment and between the ranges of $40 to $90 on internet services.
  • Transportation: It will cost an average of $121 for adult transit passes, and most of NYC’s residents take public transportation.
  • Food costs: 7% of the household budget of New York residents are being spent on food; this rate is, however, low compared to the national average. 56.5% of this food budget is spent on the household meal, and the rest is being spent on eating out.

Getting Around

Driving in NYC is not necessary; you should be glad about this because the majority of your income will be spent on rent and tabs.

New York is a city where you can easily walk around, and the transit system in the city is effective and efficient. You can also get around in NYC by riding bikes, only that you have to lock it to something that cannot be disassembled easily by trespassers.

Obtain a limitless MetroCard and download the map of the subway system will also help. Set out early and plan for the unexpected. Trains do not work as much as they do during weekends compared to weekdays.

However, you will have no difficulties getting around, as there will be bus and Uber available to take you around. The quickest ways to get around during peak hours is through the subway. Even celebrities like to take the subway; you should also try it.

The road networks in NYC are very long and many compared to other states across the country; this is due to the busy nature of the metropolis.

Traveling to and fro from work, New Yorkers spend a median value of six hours and eighteen minutes every week. The difference in time of getting to work between a worker in NYC and a worker in San Francisco is up to an hour.

That being said, workers in San Francisco also spend four hours and fifty-seven minutes traveling to and fro, making it the second-largest commute in the nation.

For this reason, the longest working hour in America is in New York, which is a little higher than 49 hours. There has been an increase in uttermost commuters in recent years.

To acquire a cheaper housing outside the city center, working residents in areas like Connecticut and New Jersey travel through many distances daily with no difficulties whatsoever, this is made possible by the transport system in New York City.

Below are some means of getting around:

  • Bus: If you are not in a hurry to get to your destination, there are blue MTA buses available to take you from one place to another with ease (whether uptown or downtown). You can pay the transport fee of $2.75 through a MetroCard or exact amount though coins.
  • Subway: The subway in New York is cleaner and more secure than it was a decade ago. By making a single payment of $2.75 (flat fare ticket), you only need to sit back and relax while the train (working almost every time) takes you around. Express trains only stop at major stations while local trains stop at each station on the way.
  • Ferry: Passengers in places like Long Island often get around with ferry. The journey is very short, although ferry operators usually charge high costs.
  • Train: PATH trains, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad are all examples of train lines that service the rail system in NYC. New York City’s hinterland is linked to Manhattan through these passenger trains.
  • Bicycle: Among the Citi Bike program in New York are some bicycles that you can ride on to enjoy speed, exercise, and fresh air. The bikes are widely known and easy to use despite the odd spelling of Citi.

New York Neighborhoods

There are five divisions in New York City, and each of them contains different neighborhoods that operate on different modes and do things differently. Relax and consider which of them does things similar to the way you do:

  • Manhattan: It is situated right at the center of the world. Familiarizing yourself with the most popular division in New York is greatly recommended if this is your first time in New York City. It is very common among first-time residents of New York City to pay $2000 monthly for a 600feet room with 4 of their close pals. Welcome to Manhattan.
  • Brooklyn: Among the 5 New York City’s divisions is Brooklyn, but it also consists of many diverse neighborhoods. The leading neighborhood in Brooklyn is Williamsburg, and it consists of fashion designers, young families, artists and indie singers as its residents. You will have a lot of thrilling experience in Brooklyn.
  • Queens: Queens is the largest division in New York and is reputed to be the number one urban area in the world with people from the different ethnical background. This neighborhood is where US open is being played, and it is also a home of a baseball team known as New York Mets.
  • The Bronx: The neighborhood has seen its economy enriched for the past years even though it still has some ugly reputation. Regardless of the rough reputation, the division is as safe as any other division and even more affordable. To make your friends agree with you to move up, there is another issue.
  • Staten Island: This division is a little bit isolated to other divisions and is located on its island. You will have to take a ferry going there from Manhattan or cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn. If you are fond of walking on green lands, there is a Greenbelt on Staten Island, which is about 2,500 acres that has about 45 km walking trails and a large forest.


Once you feel ill in the United States, you are certainly going to spend much. The health system in the United States depends solely on constantly expensive health insurance.

An average American spends about $10,345 annually on healthcare according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the year 2017.

An imposition was made by the 2010 Obamacare Act on most citizens to purchase health insurance coverage; those who refused to follow suit will be required to pay additional tax.

As harsh as this may sound, it is for their own sake. As a settler in the United States – NYC, purchasing health insurance will not be mandated for you, but it is advisable to get it.


Schools that are well recognized internationally and that offer quality education are mostly situated in New York.

Students are provided many opportunities to acquire varieties of skills and knowledge in any area of their choice in schools like New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and Ivy League Harvard University (a private institution).

Things to do in New York

You have to be up and doing if you are living in New York. There are numerous places to visit and things to do in the city. Three of our best New York City spots are discussed below.

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Nothing can be compared with an art gallery. However, even though the parks in New York are beautiful, the weather can still send you away from it. The Metropolitan Museum of art is a beauty to behold, with uttermost creativity by the human and incomparable display, no one can decline an offer to be in this place. Renaissance paintings, ancient Egyptian artifacts and much more are waiting for you here.
  • Brooklyn Bridge: Built-in 1883, this bridge still maintains its beautiful look till date. The bridge links both Manhattan and Brooklyn together in an astonishing style and is the first suspension bridge in the world built with steel. The East River, the intriguing view of lower Manhattan and the waterfront in Brooklyn are the eye-pleasing experience you will have while crossing the bridge. Avoid walking on the path for bikers, as they can be merciless.
  • Central Park: The central park even though it is popular still ranked 5th on the list of largest parks in New York. Regardless of the size, residents of New York are very well entertained at the central park. You can ride on gondola all around the lake, play tennis, swing in the playgrounds, and walk around Belvedere Castle, smell roses at the reserved garden, play around on the Great Lawn, enjoy puppet shows, watch a live performance of Shakespeare at the open-air Delacorte, and climb on natural stones.


The tax system in America is complicated compared to the tax system in Europe. The tax system in America is divided into three categories, the federal, the state and the city tax system.

An employee’s type of job and frequency of pay will determine how much tax will be deducted directly from the pay. To ensure that returns on tax are properly paid, the IRS is put in charge of tax monitoring and auditing.

Citizens may be required to pay their tax after the yearly accounting has been done before mid-April or it may be rebated.

Tax owners that are either with or without children enjoy much city-specific tax credits available to them in New York City.

Finding a Job

Before you get a permanent job in New York, you have to consider the ones that are available that you can manage if you have not secured a job before you relocate to the state.

It is advisable to include a trip to the city of your choice in your pre-relocation plan, so you can get to attend interviews if you are looking to begin work as soon as you arrive.

LinkedIn, online job websites, local and state newspapers, and recruitment agencies are all nice places to begin your search for a job.

You can as well send an introductory message in the form of an email to any particular company you would like to work with to make inquiries about any vacant position and make sure you point out how you can be of great help to the organization.

Even though there is a tense competition in the job market in New York, however, the median salary per month in the state is about $5,000, one of the highest amounts being earned worldwide.

Visas and Work Permits

Before you can be allowed to work and live in New York, you have to complete and submit some paperwork. The good news is, you will find all the necessary information required of you when you approach any United States of America embassy.

To hear it directly from someone sitting right in front of you, the US embassy is always there for you.

Weird Laws

Some outdated laws are still a must-adhere in New York even though the state is more than developed. Let us take a look at some of the ridiculous laws.

  • Before you can hang clothes on a clothesline, you have to purchase a license. One can only imagine how many people in Brooklyn would be behind bars right now if the cops decide to enforce this law. The ban placed on the clothesline is being lifted by many states because they are now getting to see the need for it.
  • Throwing a ball at someone’s face for fun is illegal. Anyone caught throwing a ball at someone else’s face will be charged for an offensive exhibition. This law seems to be protecting some set of people from bullies. Another part of the law states that it is unlawful is to point a knife at a person or force them to dance or ride a bike for over 8 hours without taking a break.
  • Taking selfies with tigers is prohibited. Linda Rosenthal, an assemblywoman in Manhattan, brought the law to stop mauling after a $500 fine on the books in the year 2014, only two cases were reported in the past ten years, and it happens in traveling circuses and county fairs where the audience were allowed to move closer to tigers.
  • Selling of cat or dog hair is unlawful. It is considered a great crime to sell, import, transport, and offer for sale or even market cat or dog fur in New York. Meanwhile, if you are selling fox, bobcat or coyote fur, no one will arrest you.
  • Having an ice cream cone in your pocket while walking on Sunday is unlawful. Although no evidence points to the origin of this law, stated that laws that prevent people from eating ice cream on Sundays have once been in existence. This means ice cream lovers will have to keep their cones away from the patrolling cops.

Pros and Cons of Moving to New York City

Many people wish to live in the most populated city in America, even though these cities are considered to be a tough place to live.

Among the advantages of living in New York City are entertainment and job opportunities. Expenses and weather are great disadvantages.  Others include:


  • Career Opportunities: There are many job opportunities available in many sectors, such as advertising, marketing, finance, modeling, and fashion and PR.
  • Great Food: There are many bars, art events, music, and restaurants available for you to keep you happy just as the culture would do. There are varieties of food from all around the globe available to you.
  • Public Transport: Driving is not mandatory in NYC. You can easily get around through an efficient and cost-effective subway system. Should the subway not enough for you, Uber, buses, and taxis are also available to take you to your destination.
  • Reduced Crime: The crime rate in the city has reduced drastically, and most neighborhoods in the city are now safe to pass.
  • History and Culture: In NYC, everywhere you look filled with history and culture. You will find iconic buildings and world-class museums everywhere you look.
  • Celebrities: New York City is the perfect place for you if you like following celebs.
  • Free Events: If you are a social person, there are many events out there that you can attend, such as free concerts, art openings which involve drinks and snacks, parties with free drinks, and so on.


  • High Costs of Living: NYC is an expensive place to live if looked from another angle. You can get a bottle of beer for $10 in some places. Eating out, utilities, services, and groceries can also be pricey.
  • The Weather: The summers are sometimes hot and humid while winters are intensely cold. There are, however, many cities in the United States with improved weather.
  • High Rents and Property Costs: Many of the people cannot afford the cost of real estate in NYC, and the cost of rent is no different. Most of them end up living in a remote area with inadequate amenities. This is where most people begin to plan for a roommate to share the costs with.
  • Employment: There is much competition for a job in NYC
  • Traffic: The traffic in NYC is always heavy and full of noise. Driving yourself means your life is in your hands and riding a bicycle also means you have to be brave, regardless of the fun in it. There can be a lot of crowd at the subway during rush hour. There may also be a delay in train arrival due to ongoing construction.
  • Homeless and Crazies: There are lots of mentally derailed people, homeless and addicts walking on the streets of NYC.

Moving your Items to New York City

You are most certainly not considering leaving all your belongings behind while relocating to your new home in New York or wherever you are moving to, as this may leave you emotionally disturbed in the end.

You get the chance to move each of your belongings along with you to your new home without breaking a sweat by hiring from handpicked professional moving companies in New York City that offer full and stress-free relocation service coupled with absolute security.

You just let them handle the job for you from packing from your old home to unloading at your new home while you concentrate on other stuff.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ways to save on an apartment rental in New York City?

Cities such as NYC are known for having a very high cost of living. One of the options for lowering the expenses of monthly rent is to consider living with other people.

Rather than searching for studio or one bedroom apartments, you may want to search for a room in two or three bedroom units in one of the boroughs of the city. It is likely you will see savings of anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on the areas where you are willing to live.

How can I effectively downsize my possessions if I am moving to a smaller apartment?

Many people who come to New York City from other states find they have too many possessions for a small apartment or a room in a shared unit. Downsizing is essential if you want to smoothly transition to your new environment.

The best way to downsize is to start early. Begin a few weeks before your move by dividing all your clothes and such items into two piles. One pile is items you wore in the past year, and the other pile is items you have not touched in that time. Then do the same for any knick-knacks or electronics you have lying around.

The final part of downsizing involves your furniture. Think about what pieces could fit into a NYC apartment. If you are getting a studio or one bedroom, you may not need more than a couple of tables and chairs, a sofa, and a bed – if you even have room for that much.

How can I ensure the mover’s van is able to park near my apartment building?

One of the issues with moving in New York City is that moving vans and U-Haul trucks are not easily parked. Although commercial vans have certain special privileges, like being able to double park in most areas of the city, you should check the signs and be aware of alternate side of the street parking as well as street cleaning. You might be able to schedule your move for a day that works better for parking.

You may also be able to find a paid parking spot within walking distance of your building. In some instances, you may have to apply for a parking permit for the larger moving van a few days ahead of time.

How can I ensure that my pet can live with me when I move to New York City?

Many apartment buildings in New York City have strict laws against having pets in your unit. It is imperative that you do not try to sneak a pet into your unit. If your landlord finds that you are going against the terms of your lease, you could be evicted.

It is much better to try and negotiate with your landlord when signing the lease. Inform them about your pet, explain that you have a small cat or dog who remains indoors, and say that you are willing to pay a deposit or cleaning fee.

Most landlords are flexible, provided you are upfront and willing to take on a greater financial burden.

How can I avoid paying high prices for ride share or taxis if I do not own a car in New York City?

One of the advantages about living in NYC is access to the subway and buses. Most lines run 24 hours a day, and it is very easy to use mobile apps to access routes from the places you visit the most.

If you travel to and from work and other locations each day, it may be helpful to purchase a monthly pass. It is often a lot cheaper, compared to buying a weekly pass, and it offers a lot of savings compared to paying full fare for each trip.

Wrap up

There are unlimited opportunities in New York. The uniqueness of the city is accompanied by numerous outdoor spaces, booming restaurants scene, world-class theaters, and museums. You have to consider factors like the amount you are willing to pay for an apartment, the neighborhood you want to settle in, how close you want your home to public transportation before making a move. You will be fully equipped with all you need to know once the basics are clear to you. Stay tuned for more informative posts from this page!

Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.
Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.

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