Moving the Hard Way III – New York

By Landing | Dec 9, 2019
New York

People keep asking me how I like living in New York. “Is the subway as awful as it looks on TV?” “Does the city smell?” “What’s your favorite pizza spot?”

No, you get used to it, and the one with the shortest wait.

But I’m rarely asked how the move-in process was, and even after living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for six months, I’m still working to make my apartment feel like home. Every move-in story is different, and each pro comes with a con. 

For example, having an elevator made moving into a fifth-floor unit much easier, but I’m still having trouble getting utilities to work. After solving our cold shower issue, our only kitchen outlet broke. Everyone in the apartment now takes shifts using their rooms to power the microwave. We have fun like that.

You can’t prepare for everything, but I can assure you that moving into a new apartment isn’t a one-day affair. Doing it right saves plenty of headaches down the road, and messing it up can really put a damper on arriving in an exciting new place.

Here are some tips I have for those moving to New York for the first time:

New York City Manhattan aerial view with skyscrapers and buildin


No matter how much you research or ask others for tips, the neighborhood you move to will have its special quirks. “Special” meaning unexpected and “quirks” meaning annoyances. There are plenty of things I love about where I’m living in New York right now, but I wouldn’t mind trading the drunken midnight singalongs outside my window for some peace and quiet.

That I’ve been one of those singers on more than one occasion is besides the point.

And this sentiment goes both ways. It took me actually talking to my eventual roommates before I arrived that I realized the Lower East Side was right for me. Everything in New York is so accessible by train that where you live really doesn’t limit what you do. Don’t count any one spot out.

Unless it’s Times Square. Don’t live too close unless you love tourists and everything they do.

Landing has apartments in many neighborhoods in its cities. You can see our New York apartments here.



There’s really no universal utility rule in New York, and that caused some confusion during my apartment hunt. One place will brag about having free Wi-Fi, but that doesn’t matter if it’s slow and you’ll need to upgrade it yourself. Air conditioning is only as good as where the unit is placed, and if you already know you can’t cook anything outside of a microwave, paying a flat rate for gas is probably a loss.

Personally, my apartment includes heat and water in our rent, and everything else is extra. I bought an air conditioning unit off a departing tenant when I moved in and it was my everything this past summer. Highly recommend.

On top of all that, utility maintenance isn’t just something your parents complained about in your childhood home. I’ve been lucky not to have too many issues so far, but there’s no harm in getting recommendations for a plumber, electrician and general handyman before things go awry. The last thing you want is a flooding toilet and your friends showing up while you’re running to grab more towels and yelling at the building maintenance over the phone.

Was my landlord immediately available to solve the problem? Somehow they never are.

Landing takes care of these issues for you. We have staff available 24/7 to coordinate maintenance requests and any other issues you might have while in your home.



My problems with furniture began before I even found my new apartment. I didn’t have many items to bring to New York but I still had to consider how much space I would have in my room and how easy it would be to move it all in. If I majored in something more immediately lucrative than journalism, I’d probably spring for some movers. Yet here I was.

When it came to move-in day, I ended up lucky. My new apartment has an elevator, and many properties are strictly walk-ups. Surely every five-story building would need an elevator, right?

Think again. 

Thanks to this blessing of an elevator and my mom’s help, I was able to get everything into my place in roughly an hour. Then the hard part began. Moving things around to find the right layout slowly chipped away at my sanity until I just left things where they were and accepted it. One day I’ll revisit the task, but know taking that challenge on alone can quickly wear anyone down.

Finally, I’ve had trouble finding the pieces of furniture and decoration I was missing when I arrived. There were some deals that came close to what I needed, but was often too expensive, unwieldy, unreliable or far away. Still working this one out, and the ideal scenario would’ve been to buy my furniture off of the previous tenant. He seemed to have his life pretty put-together.

Landing’s homes are all thoughtfully designed and furnished so you never have to worry about a thing. You can see photos of our apartments here.

Top view of messy and full of moving boxes room

Lost & Not Found

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the odds of losing something in a move are pretty high. Budget for it. Prep yourself emotionally. I always trust myself to double and triple check my things when I move out, and make sure everything is where is should be as I move in. Yet every time, something goes missing, and it inevitably costs me a pretty penny to replace it.

I also realized that things I took for granted at my last place were nowhere to be found when I arrived. I didn’t know how irksome this would be until I cooked my first meal and immediately noticed I had no silverware, plates, napkins or cups. What I can tell you is saucepan pasta and drinking straight from the sink faucet sure is humbling.

With Landing, you’ll never have to worry about a lack of dishware. See what sets Landing apart


The Unexpected

Every apartment has its quirks, and working through them has taken away time and energy I could’ve put toward exploring the city or meeting with friends. To start, I had to clear out a ton of the last tenant’s stuff. Dusty books, trash, letters, wrappers and bedding was strewn throughout my room, and the last thing I wanted to do while setting up my living space was clear away the last one. Appreciated the freebies, but I wish his life had been as put-together as it seemed.

On top of that, my sublease agreement ended up changing once I moved in. Classic bait-and-switch, I should’ve seen it coming all the way from Chicago. It wasn’t a huge shift, but since I’m subletting for six months first and was rushed to find an apartment, I wish things were a little more transparent up front. My rent ended up increasing a decent bit, and to this day, it’s a bit vague what my monthly apartment costs will be when I sign on to the next lease. 

There was also a lack of transparency when it came to the building’s rules. 

Blast music? Um, nobody will tell you not to. 

Candles? … sure?

Mount a TV? Jury’s still out on that one.

It’s certainly not my roommates’ job to know these things, but when I’d go downstairs, often the only person available to ask was the security guard. And it’s not their job either. Yes, having a live-in super has it’s benefits, but I wish there was a specific spot where I could read these rules and get to know my building better instead of just guessing. 

Businesswoman planning work


Speaking of standardization, there should really be a universally agreed-upon method for paying rent!  Right now I have to rely on my roommate sending in a check for the whole unit, as the other tenant and I send him money digitally to cover our portions. But if the one tenant responsible for paying rent on time is away, forgetful, or otherwise busy, we’re out of luck and will likely face a fine. Not cool when said roommate is a consultant and travels for a living.

Beyond this, there’s very little transparency with what our utility payments are. If I want to see a bill, I have to remind my roommate not to trash the letter once he’s done paying it. I’d love to track my utilities usage, but relying on mail to get that info is decidedly 20th century.

Landing always charges on the first of the month, and our member app allows you to view an itemized invoice for each transaction.


I wish there was greater flexibility with apartment lease terms. It took me a while to find a place with the six-month subletting term I needed, and even then, my next lease is almost guaranteed to be a year long. If I got a different job somewhere else, wanted to move in with different friends, or needed a change of local eats, I’d have to find someone to take over my lease. That’s a problem for another blog post.

The static rental period also keeps me from looking for other apartments until I reach the end of my lease. I have to squeeze showings and online browsing into a smaller window, as there are only so many months of overlap I can have in transitioning between homes.

Rigid leases are a thing of the past! With Landing you can stay as long (or short) as you’d like – and you can cancel whenever you like, as long as you give us 30 days notice.



Finally, if I leave this apartment for whatever reason but still need to pay for a few months of rent, finding a subletter is a wild goose chase. I’d likely have to search among friends, through Facebook, roommate-search apps, and maybe even through my office. Even then, there’s no guarantee I’ll find the right person to replace me. 

I could even find myself on the hook for two apartments at once. As I said before, I’m a reporter, and I’m not rolling in Anderson Cooper money just yet.

This situation also makes things harder if one of my roommates has to find a subletter. Long story short: subletting issues are bad. Lease flexibility would be great!

Ben could have saved so much time and effort if he had chosen to Live with Landing. Check out our available apartments in New York today! 


Ted may be the world's slowest typist and struggle to hold a pen, but he has mastered how to pursue a more flexible lifestyle throughout his airborne adventures around the U.S. Whether you're looking for more information before migrating to a new city or want to find an easier way to rent a nest—erm, apartment—Ted will always be here to share his best advice for where to live and how to thrive.