What It’s Really Like Living in NYC [Expectations vs. Reality]

What It’s Really Like Living in NYC [Expectations vs. Reality]

“What should I expect NYC to be like…really?”

Ever wonder what it’s really like living in New York City? There are expectations and then there are realities. We hope we can help show the REAL side of the city with this article.

We’ll break it down into separate categories and give the expectation versus reality of the category. It may not be what you think, or it may be exactly as you think. Keep reading to find out.

We’ve been part of this city for more than 30 years. We help people just like you make the big jump to the large city of NYC. Check out Moishe’s Self Storage for your moving and storing needs. We’ve done this for more than 30 years.

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Your career

Expectation: I finally realize my true talents and they’re discovered by a great organization that I love working every day for.

Reality: It’s not easy landing a secure job, and New York City is no exception. If you’ve looked for a job, you know from experience that it doesn’t usually land in your lap. You have to work hard to find the job, polish a resume, apply, interview (sometimes more than once), and then accept the offer for the position.

Be prepared for the worst but always stay optimistic. NYC is a grind, and things won’t be handed to you.


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Your bank account

Expectation: I’ll make tons of cash living in NYC because the job I just landed pays really well.

Reality: Sure, the job you just accepted will pay $70,000-$120,000 a year, but remember that the cost of living in New York City is outrageous. Between rent, food, entertainment, and taxes, your paycheck may dwindle fast. The bright side is you don’t need to pay for a car because of public transportation.

RELATED: 9 Easy Ways To Save Money At Home

Public transportation

Expectation: I’ll just hail a cab to get to my next meeting.

Reality: That cab may not stop for you, and if it does, it will cost you a lot. And not to mention the traffic on the main roads. Biking may be the way to get around, walking is your second option, and the metro is the most economical.

RELATED: 9 Transportation Types In NYC: Options And Price [Low To High]

Your apartment

Expectation: I’ll move to NYC and get myself a trendy studio apartment in SoHo or Chelsea!

Reality: A studio apartment in Chelsea will run you $2,500-$3,200 a month. Unless you have a high-brow job or a large family inheritance, you’ll most likely be living in a rundown apartment.

Most buildings are old and many are dilapidated, so finding an apartment that’s affordable and nice may be far-fetched. Lower your expectations when searching for a place to live. Depending on your income situation, you may need a roommate.

RELATED: 5 Productive Ways To Save Space In A Small Apartment

The People

Expectation: New Yorkers are always in a hurry and mean. They never look in your eye, say “hello,” or say “thank you.”

Reality: New Yorkers are much nicer than their given credit for. It’s best to not stop someone if they’re in a hurry, though. And it’s probably not the best idea to chat someone up while riding public transportation. Many residents, however, will help you if you’re in need.

It’s healthy to note here that homelessness in New York City is a real issue. If you’re committed to the cause, there are ways to help homelessness in NYC.

RELATED: 25 Things You Should Know Before Moving To NYC

RELATED: Things You Didn’t Know About The Population Of New York City

The diversity of people

Expectation: I’ll meet tons of new people every day and we’ll be best friends.

Reality: Sure! Meet as many people as you want. But remember, it’s better to have four quarters than 100 pennies. Be a friend to make a friend.


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The diversity of art

Expectation: I’ll get to see art and tour museums every weekend!

Reality: Yes! And you should! New York City is a city with vast diversity and rich history. Explore the five boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx) at least once.

RELATED: 11 Reasons To Move To The Bronx In 2020

Your Social life

Expectation: I’ll go to a party every night!

Reality: Unless you have lots of extra spending money and/or an easy job, chances are you won’t be going to lots of parties. Commuting to work then back home will most likely the extent of your first year of living in NYC.

RELATED: 15 Top Things To Do In Queens, NY

Your style

Expectation: I’ll be the first to know and wear the newest clothing trends.

Reality: New York City has no shortage of style. You’ll know the trending style before the rest of the world, but it will most likely cost you.


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Your fitness schedule

Expectation: I’ll commit to working out five times a week to get fit.

Reality: You’ll do lot of walking in NYC. If you can commit to going to the gym this often, then good job! Most likely, you’ll be pretty tired after a day of walking three to six miles a day.

RELATED: The Best Running Apps For NYC [FREE To Download]

The food scene

Expectation: I’ll eat pizza every day, try that authentic Mexican place tomorrow, gorge on sushi, get Chinese delivered, stop at that Greek place on the way home, try Indian food for the first time…I want to try it all!

Reality: It’s highly encouraged that you try as many foods as you can, but watch your budget and check your gut health. Also, ensure the restaurant has a great health grade and reviews (an “A” doesn’t always mean it’s clean).

RELATED: 7 Places To Eat Next Time You’re In The Bronx

The weather

Expectation. It’s cold and rainy every day in New York City.

Reality: It does rain a lot, and usually when you least expect it, but there are very pretty sunny days, too. It’s not as cold as you may think in the winter. The wind is what catches you off guard. Those long walks without a scarf can be brutal.

RELATED: 15 Reasons Why You Should Move To NYC In 2020

The happy ending

Expectation: New York City will become my longterm home.

Reality: It just might! NYC is the land of opportunity and many people make this their longterm home. You never know if this is your forever home until you move here and invest your life in this city.


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