Moving to New York: One Week In

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We did it. We got up and left LA to move to NYC. One coast to the other: beaches to skyscrapers; beach bums to investment bankers; kale salads to halal carts.

I moved on a Sunday and started work the following day on Monday. I didn’t (still don’t) have a place in New York and I’m just into my fifth day of work at my new job. It’s been a mixed experience and here is what I’ve learned the past week as I settle into New York.

. . .

This city is huge. From borough to borough, from Upper East Side to Two Bridges, from Shelter Island to Hells Kitchen, New York is as diverse as it comes. Most people think of Midtown, of Times Square and the Empire State Building when they think of New York. This week, though, while apartment hunting, I found smaller niches of New York that challenge this “Sex and the City” image and provide a softer, more complicated version of a city that is way more than just gorgeous city views.

There’s Williamsburg, a San Diego-isque version of Brooklyn, with booming street corners full of bars, ice cream shops, yoga studios and boutique restaurants. There’s Washington Heights with the vibrant Dominican community of music, food and culture. There’s Chinatown, Tribeca, Financial District, Bushwick, Harlem and Long Island City that offer so much more than a superficial, skyscraper pretty face. There’s so much culture and life here.

Every part of New York is so different and distinct from another.

It’s booming with culture and life.


Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash
. . .

Apartment searching here is a bitch. I can’t put it any other way. This is the hardest city to find an apartment and move to. For the first time, I began weighing options of cockroaches, brokers fees, subway lines, commutes, safety, roommates, apps and early termination fees.

Finding an apartment here felt like dating here. I had such high expectations initially. I wanted an apartment with X, Y, and Z when I started. After searching a bit, I began to wonder, “are all the good ones taken?” and then a bit later, I began to compromise on my expectations. Please don’t have cockroaches. Please don’t have psycho roommates. Please be close to the train and no druggies on the corner. With dating, I lowered my expectations to, “please don’t be the drug dealer on the corner of the apartment I was looking at”.

It’s rough out here.

Unlike other cities in the US, New York has so much going on with their properties that landlords use brokers to lease out their places. These are the people you most likely meet as a possible tenant when checking out places. When you fall in love with the place, they hit you with an extra two grand to three grand fee (depending on your rent) that is generally 14% of your annual rent. That is an extra months rent just down the drain for someone who just opened the door for you. I’ve never heard of that before.

I quickly discovered apps that introduced me to numerous brokers, landlords and possible roommates. There are facebook groups looking for subleasers. The place you’re looked at one day is gone the next day.

Things move incredibly fast here.

Be prepared to be flexible with your budget, stay in seedy Air BnBs and possibly moving in with roomates as a subleaser if you’re moving to New York quickly.

. . .

People are nice here actually.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

People are raw here. 

That’s better. Whereas in LA, we tend to be more put together, filtered and fake (depending on who you talk to), NYers are unfiltered, unbothered and frankly, don’t give a shit what you think. They’ll tell you to fuck off if you make eye contact with them on the subway (true story). They’ll give you honest advice about apartment searching (hello Latin nanny in Downtown Brooklyn). They’ll help you if they can (thank you random park guy who took my banana peel so my pants won’t get dirty).

They don’t give a fuck what you think of them and they’ll be completely honest with what they’re thinking. I’m not sure if it’s the fast paced environment that destroys their patience for politeness but they’ll tell what they’re thinking, whether you asked for it or not. It’s refreshing coming from LA. It’s like a whole level of fakeness just got lowered.

Things are what they are here.

. . .

Networking is insane.

My first week in NYC, I met someone on a venture capital approval committee who supported women led projects. She connected me to someone else who was doing work in my field and I’m scheduled for a phone call with this global health entrepreneur who’s been internationally recognized for her work next month. Now, I built a connection with an entrepreneur and also a venture capital fund committee member.

You don’t know who you’ll bump into and meet who can connect you with someone else. Your dream is just a few connections away.

There are people from all walks of life, countries and backgrounds in this city and the possibility of organically networking with someone is so real here. It’s like one big mixer at a party and we’re all exchanging business cards throughout our days.

If you’re going to move to New York, I highly suggest that you start networking. This is the city to do it.

Practice your pitch, your handshake and your smile. Build your empire. Build your network circle just like the Subway lines throughout this city.

Get connected.

. . .
This city is addicting.

There is something about this place. I haven’t quite figured out what it is. There is a special energy: People are ambitious. There is a hussle. They’re making something of their lives. They’re focused. It is so easy to feed off.

This city is also breathtakingly beautiful.

One week in and I think I like it enough to sign a lease.

Let’s see where this goes.


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