Many people consider New York to be the center of the Universe. If that’s true, then Manhattan is the center of the center of the universe. While all of NYC is vibrant, lively, and full of culture, most of the archetypical New York locations are all based in Manhattan. But if you’re moving to Manhattan, what should you expect? Manhattan living can’t be everything it’s chalked up to be in all of the TV’s, movies, and books, can it? Is relocating to Manhattan even a good idea right now?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This article will let you know everything you need to know about moving to the center of it all, from the Manhattan housing market to the culture and life.
1. The Price
Oh boy, this is a big one.
If you’re considering moving to NYC, you’ve already probably heard horror stories about the price. Any NYC veteran has tales of a friend of theirs who had to pay 1,000 dollars a month to live in an apartment that forced them to sleep in the kitchen with their feet in the hall.
Unfortunately, a lot of these stories are true. Not only is the rent expensive, but utilities, groceries, and commodities are expensive as well.
It isn’t a reason to not move to Manhattan — there are so many job opportunities out there that you’ll surely be able to pay your rent. However, you should consider grabbing a roommate to help you cover the costs.
2. Practically No One Has a Car
This one might be a shocker if you’re moving from an auto-based city, like LA, or a suburb. But it’s true: while there are many cars on the streets of NYC, most of them are from people visiting, taxi cabs, busses, or Ubers. Driving in NYC is just impractical for more people.
Luckily, NYC has a unique solution!
The United States has long been criticized for not putting funding into public transportation. Many people are shocked when they go to Europe and realize just how many places they can go through busses and subway systems. This has contributed to the automobile’s central place in American life.
The exception is the NYC subway system. While most subway systems in the United States are pretty useless (there are huge sections in Philadelphia you cannot reach by train), the NYC subway system is world-class. It’s complex, thorough, and guaranteed to get you where you want to go.
3. The Culture Is Everything People Say It Is
As stated earlier, you’ve probably heard about Manhattan as a hub for culture and life. This is certainly true.
For starters, Manhattan is the theatrical capital of America. Though you might only be familiar with theatre through high school plays, Manhattan will convince you of how great it is.
If you want to a see big, spectacular, commercial product, there are always at least twenty broadway shows running in some of NYC’s broadway theatres. Prices for broadway get expensive, but they’re guaranteed to give you a night you won’t forget.
If you like stuff that’s more strange, experimental, and in-your-face, there’s no shortage of that too. Manhattan is famous for experimental shows that pop up in small theatres, warehouses, and sometimes even people’s apartments! These shows are normally cheap and culminate in the Fringe Festival, a once-yearly festival that celebrates independent theatre.
If you want something that walks the line, you won’t find a shortage of options.
Some of the best theaters in NYC —like the Signature Theatre and Playwrights Horizon — are focused on producing plays by the most important playwrights of our generation. While they’re not quite commercial and mainstream enough to go to Broadway, they’re still big enough to win Pulitzer prizes. Often, these plays go on to get published, and eventually produced in regional theatres around the United States.
There’s hardly a better place to go for music than Manhattan. The open, friendly, and bustling culture means that you’ll likely find the next big artist before they even get famous. There are many suburban Dads and Moms living out in Westchester county with stories about going to see some of the most legendary punk bands in the world for cheap, simply because they were in Manhattan at the right time.
Manhattan is the world capital of jazz, a music based on live performance and improvisation. Heading to a jazz club like The Blue Note or Smalls is a great hear some of the best musicians in the world play for very cheap. They’ll likely be hanging out with each other, testing out new material, and improvising in “jam sessions”, which are similar to comedy club nights.
4. People Move Fast
If you’re used to a more laid-back atmosphere (the kind usually found in The South, and California), you’re in for a rude awakening when you move to the big apple. People talk fast, move fast, and are in a general hurry to get where they need to go.
New Yorkers are often stereotyped as being rude. However, nothing could be further from the truth. New Yorkers are simply adapted to living their life in the fast lane.
A waitress won’t stop and talk to you in New York City, preferring to get your order and get out of your hair. This doesn’t mean that she’s rude, just that she’s busy. Similarly, expect to get bumped out of the way if you’re walking slowly down the street.
However, despite the pace at which they live their lives, New Yorkers are known for their friendliness when it comes down to it. An NYC taxi driver won’t hesitate to answer your questions, and most New Yorkers are willing to point you in the right direction if you happen to be lost. This is most likely due to the fact that New Yorkers are extremely versed in their city, and like to show off their information.
5. The Nightlife
New York didn’t get the nickname “the city that never sleeps” for nothing. One of the first things you’ll notice upon living in Manhattan is that the city stays alive at night.
This is due, in large part, to the vast amount of people who work late at night. Cab drivers work at all hours, and you’ll quickly get accustomed to hearing their horns.
It’s also probably due to the excellent nightlife that exists in NYC. It’s hard to find better bars, clubs, and restaurants in the whole world. Not to mention the fact that the theatre usually gets out close to 11, so around that time late at night you’ll see flocks of people in town.
What this means for you is that the day doesn’t feel like it “ends” when the sun goes down. The world keeps buzzing around you, and going to sleep is simply unplugging yourself from it for a little while.
Some people find it extremely helpful to know that if they get hungry late at night, they can probably walk to a grocery store, restaurant, or food cart near them that’s open at all hours.
6. You Might See Celebrities
Tons of celebrities live in and work in New York City. If a famous actor happens to be starring in a Broadway play, there’s a very good chance you’ll see them walking down the street. There’s also a good chance that if you go to a famous restaurant, you’ll see an NYC-based famous person enjoying a meal.
While this might seem overwhelming at first, it ends up just becoming a part of your everyday life. Considering the number of movies and TV shows that are shot in the big apple, it’s no surprise that there are so many celebrities around.
7. You Might Find Love
Eight and a half million people live in New York City. While not all of those people live in Manhattan, Manhattan is central and historically important. Almost all of those millions cross through Manhattan here and there.
With so many people in one city, it’s much easier than anywhere else in the country to find love. If one date doesn’t work out for you, it’s beyond easy to find someone else. The saying “there are plenty of fish in the sea” is a metaphor, but it helps when there are so many people in your city that it truly does feel like a sea at times.
Moving to Manhattan
Moving to Manhattan is a big deal. There are many advantages and disadvantages to living in the center of the world. The rent is expensive, and life moves vast, but you’ll also have access to a wonderful transportation system, incredible culture, vibrant nightlife, celebrity encounters, and a plethora of people.
If you’re ready to take your life to the next level, we strongly recommend moving to Manhattan.
For more articles like this, check out our “travel” section.