New York City is full of great food, beautiful sights, and endless things to do.
But it’s also a place of inflated prices, tiny apartments, and a less-than-perfect public transportation system.
Take our word for it: Moving here is equal parts amazing and terrifying. So for anyone courageous (or foolish) enough to think about packing up and heading to the Big Apple, we surveyed our editors and readers about what they wish they’d known before moving to New York.
Here’s what you should know:
1. “That halal food would be like an addiction. It’s like crack. It only takes once.” — Alexandra Cardinale
2. “I wish I knew trying to get an apartment through Craigslist was like The Hunger Games.” — Matt Johnston
3. “Walk everywhere you possibly can. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you over time.” — Julia La Roche
4. “I wish I knew that Chase ATMs are virtually everywhere in Manhattan. Including in Duane Reade! If you have a regional checking account, open a Chase one as well so you’re never caught without an ATM.” — Libby Kane
5. “Your momma told you to look both ways when you cross the street for a reason. Watch out!” — Hunter Walker
6. “It seems obvious now, but there is no cell service underground. Look up directions before you get on the train.” — Emmie Martin
7. “Don’t waste time comparing yourself to the version of NYC life you assumed you’d be living and just figure out a version that makes sense for you.” — Caroline Moss
8. “Anyone who moves here and isn’t rich has to have a high tolerance for tiny spaces, weird apartment layouts, and barely functional kitchens.” — Pamela Engel
9. “In a nutshell: That asking for directions really isn’t scary, and people are happy to help!” — Kim Renfro
10. “Never commit to an apartment without physically seeing it first if you can help it; finding an apartment is harder than finding a job.” — Alyson Shontell
11. “Trains sort of don’t work on the weekends.” — Hunter Walker
12. “When renting in a walkup it is a HUGE advantage to rent on the top floor even if the stairs are a pain. More light, fewer neighbours, more quiet.” — Jim Edwards
13. “It rains in New York more often than I thought it would. You can never have too many umbrellas.” — Hayley Hudson
14. “How to buy an apartment: Find a place near a good pharmacy, grocery, and laundromat; check for broker’s fees; see how far it is from public transportation. Once you move in, develop a good relationship with the super.” — Richard Feloni
15. “Have a basic idea of where you’re trying to go before getting in a cab, so you can correct them if they go the round-about way.” — Jenna Goudreau
16. “Indian food is delicious.” — Sam Ro
17. “I wish I knew that even if you’re lucky enough to find an ‘affordable’ rental that you like, give it a year or two — it will probably be a lot less affordable.” — Kevin Kaplan
18. “Hiking trails and other outdoor adventures are easy to find — even without a car. You can take subways and buses to reach beaches, forests, lakes, and neighborhoods that feel like fishing villages. Metro North will take you even farther.” — Lauren Friedman
19. “I wish I knew just how badly the subways can break down. I’ve been late for so many things because the trains and signals act up.” — Richard J. Anderson
20. “The empty subway car is empty for a reason.” (One example: a homeless person might have used it as a bathroom.) — John McDermott
21. “How to pronounce ‘Houston.'” (It’s HOUSE-ton, not HEWS-ton.) — Heidi Grant Halvorson
22. “That living in NYC is like being in an abusive relationship with the coolest guy in the world.” — Arikia Millikan
23. “There are a million people (and more) here who are smarter than you.” — Chloe Tseung
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