A woman looks at a view of New York City

City Guide / New York City

Moving to New York: Relocation Guide

By Bri Hand | Aug 30, 2021

From the Flatiron Building to the Brooklyn Bridge, New York is an urban paradise unlike anywhere in the world. With the largest population in the country, NYC is a buzzing metropolis home to every walk of life, from paint-splattering artists to hard-as-nails entrepreneurs.

New York might be a little intimidating to a prospective resident, but it doesn’t have to be. This guide will take you through exactly what you need before moving to any of the five boroughs, including:

  • Demographics
  • Living costs
  • Weather
  • Transportation
  • Culture

New York City demographics

With a population of more than 8 million people, New York City is the definition of a big city, and with that many people comes a level of diversity few other U.S. cities possess. 

This city, which harbors a cross-section of cultures and identities within roughly 300 square miles, changes from block to block. Before moving to New York, you might be curious to know some key demographics, such as:

This diverse hub is unique for its international influences, providing residents with numerous opportunities to expand their horizons, from trying new cuisines to attending cultural festivals. 

NYC living costs

New York City has a reputation for its high cost of living, largely due to its booming economy and large job market. If you’re thinking about moving to NYC, but are worried about how it’ll affect your wallet, here’s a rundown of potential monthly expenses you’ll encounter in the Concrete Jungle:

  • Housing: Probably the most expensive expense you’ll need to consider when moving to NYC is the cost of your living arrangement, whether it’s a house, condo, or apartment. While the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is nearly $4,000 per month, you’re paying to live in the heart of the city. If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable option, Brooklyn and Queens are only a bridge or tunnel away.
  • Parking: Owning a car isn’t a necessity, but if you’re planning on bringing your wheels when moving to New York, you might want to consider the price for parking. The average New Yorker spends $430 a month on a permanent parking spot. If you’re leaving the city by bridge or tunnel, you’ll also want to consider the cost of tolls. Luckily, there are many affordable transportation options in the city like the subway, biking, or rideshares.
  • Food, healthcare, and necessities: Residents pay slightly more than the national average for monthly necessities (averaging around $2,000 per month). Fortunately, higher living costs are offset by the higher wages in the city.
  • Entertainment costs: From Broadway to Madison Square Garden, New York offers unmatched entertainment to residents and tourists alike. If you’re planning to spend a few weekends in front of the stage or listening to big-name musicians, it’s important to factor in entertainment costs into your monthly budget. Generally speaking, Broadway show tickets cost anywhere from $20 to $175 depending on your seat, while the average Madison Square Garden ticket averages at $225

New York seasons and weather

If you’re moving from a southern region with milder winters, you might be in for a bit of seasonal shock when December rolls around in the city. New Yorkers may be known for their fashion sense, but they’re also all about practicality when it comes to dressing for the colder weather.

During the winters, the city sees average temperatures of 43 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s often wind chill and frequent snow showers as well. 

If you’re moving to the city for the first time, it’s a good idea to prepare ahead of time by finding:

  • A reliable winter coat: A thin jacket won’t protect you against the bone-chilling winds of NYC. You’re going to want something warm, preferably insulated, and practical if you plan on walking the streets from early December to late March.
  • Durable boots: There’s nothing worse than walking around with wet socks in the winter, so purchase some durable winter boots. You’ll want soles that can grip the ground when the pavement is icy, and something strong enough to keep your feet dry all winter.
  • Hats, gloves, and scarves: You may fear the hat-hair, but when the winter comes in New York City, you’re going to want all the protection you can get. That means accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves are a must. 

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s not all snow and sleet, all the time! New York City residents enjoy brisk falls, warm springs, and steamy summers with high temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and lots of humidity, especially if you’re trotting around the concrete jungle of Manhattan.

Transportation options in NYC

New York City residents are constantly moving, and the city offers numerous options for getting from one end of town to the other. The following are some of the best transportation methods to commute around the city:

1. Subway

The MTA New York subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world and is used by many city residents to get to and from work, appointments, and friendly hangs. With 28 train services, frequent stops, and overnight transit, the subway covers the entirety of New York and provides numerous benefits, such as:

  • Convenience: You’re rarely more than a few blocks from a subway station. Plus, there is no need to plan routes, account for traffic, or pay attention to the road. All you need to do is pass the turnstiles, board your train, and stand back from the closing doors. 
  • Cost: A monthly MetroCard pass costs $127 and gets you as many rides as you want. Use your travel time to read a few pages or catch up on your podcast back catalog—you’ll be at your destination before you know it! 

2. Biking

While New York City may be known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic, there are bike lanes throughout the city for bi-pedal travelers. Biking is a great option for:

  • Cycling enthusiasts
  • Health-conscious commuters
  • Residents looking to take in the city at a slower pace

3. Taxis and rideshares

If you’re looking for the convenience of a temporary chauffeur, consider hopping in a taxi or rideshare car and traveling to your destination in comfort. 

While both taxis and rideshare options offer a similar service, there are a couple of things that differentiate them:

  • Taxis: Few images feel more New York City than hailing a taxi cab. In Manhattan, you can wave down a taxi on the street or call ahead to arrange a pickup. You can’t know exactly the cost when you hop in a taxi, but you will be able to pay with a card when you arrive—just keep an eye on the meter.
  • Rideshare apps: While rideshare apps allow for the convenience of ordering a ride through a few taps on your phone, you should be wary of surge pricing. Prices can easily double or triple depending on what’s going on in the city, so be wary of the cost discrepancies. 

When choosing between a taxi or rideshare, it’s really about what kind of experience you want—the classic cabby or the contemporary rideshare. You can’t go wrong with either. 

New York City culture

While we can’t overstate just how diverse NYC is, certain types of people typically flock to the Big Apple, who can be characterized as:

  • Busy: Work or play, New York City isn’t exactly a place for homebodies—especially because most apartments aren’t particularly spacious. People move quickly on the streets, and while they’re typically courteous, don’t expect a wave or a nod from passing strangers. We’ve all got somewhere to be.
  • Ambitious: New York is a city of ambition. Whether you’re a Wall Street trader or a Brooklyn painter, you’re always looking for the next opportunity to grow your name and expand your skills. There’s no shame in putting yourself out there and taking your work seriously.
  • Cultured: With more museums than just about anywhere in the world, New York is a city for culture lovers. There’s so much world-famous art in New York City that it can be almost overwhelming. Take it at your own pace, and you’ll soon be chatting with your friends about Van Gough, Monet, and Picasso like you’ve known them your whole life.

Fitting into some cities can be a little tough, but in New York City, there are so many people, places, and things to do that you don’t have time to worry about fitting in. It’s just as easy to meet people in Central Park as it is in a chic Chelsea bar—so relax, and embrace the New York City lifestyle.

Become a New Yorker with Landing

There are about a million cliches when it comes to New York, but one thing is true—it’s a world capital brimming with unique experiences to be had. 

When you’re ready to make New York your home, there’s no better way to do it than with  Landing

With flexible options for furnished apartments in NYC, no leasing offices, and no landlords, Landing makes finding a home stress-free. Browse our apartments in New York City, or contact us to learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you.

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.