Local Highlights

A beginner’s guide to New York City


New York is the city of all cities: 8.5 million people, 472 subway stations, 5 boroughs, and too many high-rise buildings to count. As exciting and sexy as this city is, there are certain intimidating features that everyone needs time to adjust to. Thinking of moving to the city or need more tips to settle in? Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you out.

Look for housing a month (or less) before your move-in date.

You might have heard about how big of a nightmare it is to find housing in New York, so this might come as a surprise. Early bird gets the worm, right? Not in New York. Apartments here are typically listed just 30 to 60 days in advance of their available date. Expect your rental search to take some time — anywhere between a few days to a month. Also, consider timing. The summer months of July, August, and September are the worst times to find a new rental because of high demand and even higher prices. Though it’s not the ideal moving weather, look for housing in December and January to save money.

You will have a love-hate relationship with public transportation.

On some days, the train will magically arrive just as you make it down the stairs, and other days, you’ll find yourself waiting 20 minutes because of an L-train delay. The public transportation system is unpredictable, and certain stations are constantly under construction. Don’t be surprised if you find out that your train isn’t running as soon as you arrive at the station. Always check the MTA information site before leaving the house, and save time by downloading apps like City Mapper and Via to ease your familiarity with the chaos.

Come prepared for all types of weather.

When I first got here, I couldn’t stop sweating. The sun glared relentlessly day after day, and the humidity made it hard to breathe. I didn’t even want to move. Just this past weekend, however, it wouldn’t stop pouring. The wild winds disfigured my umbrella, and my suede shoes suffered. I can’t even begin to imagine what the winter will bring. Just come prepared for all kinds of extremes.

Explore, explore, explore.

New York has so much to offer. Of course, you already know that if you’re considering moving here, but never lose that enthusiasm for the city. Don’t become jaded by the lights at Time Square and the morning rush on the streets. There will always be places you’ve never been, foods you’ve never tried, and people you’ve never met. Whether you get a museum pass to visit all the major museums in the city or just sit in Bryant Park one afternoon, keep exploring and trying new things.

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Make friends.

New York can make you feel very lonely. After all, there are 8.5 million people in the city, and you probably know a maximum of 100 people. Ask around on Facebook to see if you have friends in the city. If not, grab drinks with your co-workers for Happy Hour or try sparking up a conversation with the person in front of you in the line of a Sweetgreen. Try Tinder, if that’s your thing. Put yourself out there because 8 out of the 10 times you meet someone new, they’ll turn out to be super interesting.


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Even after reading this, are you worried about finding housing and making friends? Learn more about Common. We have beautiful, fully-furnished homes in New York to make your moving as simple as one suitcase and your city living better.

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