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Moving to The Big Apple? Here’s What You Should Know

The movies always make moving to New York City look so easy. One second, the main character talks about how they’re doing to make it there. The next, they are living in a great apartment with an ideal job and busy social life. The truth is, it’s not easy making the move to the big apple. Here are some tips people should know before starting a life in the city.

There are 5 boroughs

First, it helps to understand the city’s geography. New York is split into five different boroughs, each with their own personality. The boroughs then are split into individual neighborhoods. For example, Times Square is in Midtown, Manhattan. Generally, uptown means toward the upper part of Manhattan and the Bronx and downtown means the lower part of Manhattan into Brooklyn. This is important to remember in regards to transportation.

Public transportation is a must

When it comes to getting around the city, most people ditch their cars and take public transportation. New York has one of the best public transportation systems in the U.S. with the extensive subway system along with several bus routes. The MetroCard works on both buses and the subway, and there are kiosks throughout the city. If you plan on using the subway in your daily commute, consider getting a card that refills monthly. This saves money in the long run and gets rid of the anxiety that comes when funds are running low.

Things in New York can change at the blink of an eye. This makes it very important to plan trips ahead of time. Try downloading one of the transit apps available for both iOS and Android devices that show the fastest way to get from point A to point B.

While the subway is a great option to getting around, it is not the timeliest. Trains also run less frequently on the weekends. Luckily there are thousands of taxis that run through the city. Understand that not every taxi is the same. Green taxis cannot pick up passengers below West 110th and East 96th streets, or at the two city airports. Yellow taxis do not have the same restriction. If a car is absolutely necessary, try using Zipcar. They have many neighborhood locations and offer cars at a monthly or annual membership fee.

Brokers can help you shop for a home

Finding an apartment can be the most difficult part of moving to New York. The city has a notoriously low vacancy rate, and apartments aren’t always what they seem to be on Craigslist. Some people who have difficulty searching online rely on a broker. Brokers can save a lot of time and money apartment hunting, but they can be very expensive. Most charge around 15 percent of the annual rent.

Finding an apartment without a broker is not impossible but be prepared to sign for a great deal as soon as possible. The best advice when apartment hunting is to really consider the location. Think of how close it is to the subway, the safety of the area and consider the quality of nearby schools or nightlife.

There is always something to do

One guarantee with New York is that there is always something going on. On any given night someone is taking the stage or a new art gallery is opening. Seeing all the city has to offer doesn’t have to be expensive either. TimeOut magazine regularly keeps tabs on the best free events going on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world. This has led to a wide variety of cuisines opening shop. Head to Chinatown for some of the best dim sum in the city. Chinatown also has highly-rated Malaysian restaurants such as Nyonya and Aux Epices. Both Prosperity and Tasty Dumplings regularly have lines out the door. Rubirosa in Little Italy is where people go for a classic New York Italian meal. There are also several stands in the neighborhood that serve creamy gelato. Jackson Heights in Queens has some of the best Indian food in the city. And Harlem is where people go to get serious soul food either at Sylvia’s or Melba’s.

Contra to the gruff attitude associated with the city, New York is actually a great place to meet people. Many residents are new to the city and just as eager as you are to make friends. Meetup.com has hundreds of groups organized around people’s interests. Some organizations also host networking events in the city. ZogSports is a very active league in the city with more than 100,000 members. People don’t have to be super competitive to join, and the league partners with local restaurants and bars for happy hours after the games.

While the city-life is great, it is recommended to get away every once in awhile. Central Park is a great place to start. Its size and landscape makes it so you forget there are skyscrapers only a few blocks away. Another good place to escape is The Cloisters museum in upper Manhattan. Parts of the museum have been reconstructed based on their original locations in Europe, transporting the visitor to another era. For longer vacations, take a train out of the city to the Adirondacks or use the Empire Service for scenic views of the Hudson River.

Written by Jeremy Alderman