“You talkin’ to me?” If you’re about to move to New York City, then yes, we ARE talking to you! We know that moving to a new place can be intimidating, especially if that new city is one of the busiest and most famous places in the world. To make that leap easier, we’re sharing our top ten things that you should know before you move to New York.
1. Best apps for life in New York City
When it comes to living your best life in a big city, your phone (and a few apps) can be your best friend. Seamless allows you to get restaurant food delivered to your door, ILOVENY comes from the New York Tourism Board and is filled with events and pop-up suggestions, and TodayTIX brings you discount tickets to same-day Broadway shows so you can snag a bargain.
2. The subway can be a strange place
It’s a very convenient way to get around, but it can be crowded and sweaty, and you’ll see all kinds of things on the subway: From an entire train carriage filled with people in fancy dress to people’s pets of all shapes and sizes and even impromptu music performances. Never enter an empty carriage though – it’ll be deserted because it’s covered in vomit or the AC is broken.
3. New Yorkers LOVE circular foods
I’m talking bagels and doughnuts. With the number of bakeries in the city, you could literally live on rings of dough. Just imagine: cinnamon and raisin bagels with your morning coffee; a marble-rye or poppy seed bagel for lunch; a classic New York-style bagel smothered in cream cheese for your mid-afternoon snack. And then for a sweet treat, one of the many utterly delicious doughnuts on offer all over the city, from triple chocolate fudge to peanut butter with cream or maple syrup and bacon (YES, bacon!).
4. Find a place to live
Pretty much everybody in New York shares an apartment because it’s far too expensive to live alone, especially if you’re a student. Websites like Craigslist or RoomieMatch can help you find a spare room in a shared house, but the company or school you’re going with can also help you find accommodation before you start your job or studies.
5. Getting around
Nobody really drives in New York and cabs are expensive and often get stuck in traffic, so purchasing a Metrocard from your nearest station and taking the subway is the easiest way to get around. Some trains run less often during the weekends and walking is also super popular. Invest in a good pair of trainers to keep your commute comfy; the miles add up pretty quickly as you explore. Remember that the city is arranged in blocks; avenue blocks are longer than street blocks, so keep that in mind when your friend says “It’s just three blocks away!”
6. Eating on a budget
Just like renting, travelling and breathing (pretty much…), eating in The Big Apple can be EXPENSIVE. But, there are ways to fill your face without completely emptying your wallet. On the corner of many streets, fresh fruit stands and food carts are a cheaper alternative to many grocery stores or fast-food restaurants. There are also lots of pizza places which sell their doughy goodness by the slice and you can keep an eye on websites like TimeOut which find cheap eats and deals for you. Remember that in New York, menu prices will not reflect the final price as you need to account for a 10-20% service charge that will either be added to your bill automatically, or that you will be expected to pay yourself as ‘tips’.
Healthcare in the US is not universally free and can be pretty expensive if you don’t have insurance. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but it’s good to have sorted before you arrive. For advice on the best health insurance option for you, speak to the company or school you’re travelling with.
8. Stay Connected
Loads of the parks, including Central Park, have free WiFi so you can check your emails or post to the ‘Gram on the go. If you want more flexibility without international data roaming charges, you can also pick up a local SIM card; AT&T and T-Mobile USA have SIM cards which you can pop into your phone if it’s unlocked.
9. Personal space doesn’t count
At least once a day a stranger will bump into you on the street and chances are you’ll enjoy more than one subway ride far too close to a commuter’s armpit. Don’t take it personally.
It’s a busy and crowded city, so people have gotten used to life quite literally in each other’s pockets. Oh, and no matter what, eye-contact is a big no-no – New Yorkers are very friendly, but like to keep to themselves when they’re commuting.
Navigating the complicated US visa system can be a long process. As a student, the best place to start is by speaking to the company arranging your job or the school you’ll be attending. In many countries, to secure your visa you’ll have to take your ID, documents and student transcript to your local US embassy.