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Moving to NYC takes more than a dollar and dream. Check out this article  by David  Everett Strickler.  GoNookie.com is a cool site where you can have certain items delivered or moved. Your friend with a van as they say!

I am available for neighborhood consultations. A quick ride on the subway can be a world (and a $1000) away on the rent you pay!

 

By David Everett Strickler

So you’ve decided to pack up and leave all that you’ve known for the bright lights and the city that never sleeps. It’s a daunting task but preparing yourself ahead of time will help make your pilgrimage here a rewarding one. Here’s how you will make it a smooth transition:

 

Save, Save, Save.
You’ve heard the stories of moving to New York with a dream and a dollar in your pocket- that’s not enough. Set aside several months of savings before the move because there will be unexpected costs. The general rule of thumb is 3-4 months of the cost of living. If you’ve found a room (sublet) or are renting an apartment, you’ll need a security and sometimes a broker fee in addition to the first months rent. Having this “cushion” is essential while you look for work. Keep in mind: Sublets are rooms (and sometimes full apartments) where the owner is granting you housing for a period of time. This can be a few weeks, months or even a full year. Rentals will require a slew of documents and upfront costs that you should prepare for whereas sublets generally do NOT require a credit/background check or additional fees above what I call the “FLS”- First month’s rent, Last month’s rent and security.

 

Think CHEAP Young Grasshopper.
The city has a lot to offer yet it comes at a price. Drop the dream of living in “hot” areas like Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea and look for up-and-coming neighborhoods that meet your budget. You can score great apartments in the city if you look in the right place and at the right time. I have many friends living in affordable apartments in Washington Heights, The Upper East Side and even the Lower East Side. Craigslist is a good start or for any starry-eyed actors, Gypsy Housing, a private group on Facebook, is a great starting point. Try to stay within 40-50 percent of your monthly or annual income to ensure you cover the additional costs of living. If you stick to your budget and live within your means, you’ll have that SoHo loft apartment in no time, well- sort of.

 

Look Before You Move.
I nailed an apartment on the Lower East Side for $700 when I moved to New York City in 2007. Sounds like a great deal yes? No. I ended up living in a closet-sized room with a Haitian woman who slept with men, in the apartment mind you, for her “share” of the rent. Needless to say, I left there soon as possible. These scary stories exist but you can avoid this by finding a friend to stay with while you look for the right place. Airbnb is a great way to stay and save while the temporary housing section of Craigslist offers a crash pad for the interim. The takeaway here: Do your research and take your time. You want to make sure the living arrangement you find will be a healthy and stable environment so you can focus on taking over the city or learning the subway.

 

Start the Job Search Early.
I didn’t have a job before moving here and it took me about a month to find one. Start the job search BEFORE you move. Look at other resumes for your industry and mirror their style and format. Chances are your resume needs updating to compete in the job market here. Sites like Indeed and Monster offer a slew of job listings to flip through. For actors, consider a subscription to Backstage Magazine and comb through Playbill’s Job Listings. Know that before you’re big break, you’re going to need a stable job and income. Find something flexible like waiting tables or working at a gym. Until you’re booking work left and right, think of a place that you could benefit from (i.e. A gym membership or grocery store). You make money, get a discount on necessities and have time to go on auditions. As for young professionals, most corporations will require an in-person interview. You can look for work a few weeks prior to your move but I wouldn’t go beyond a 3-4 week window. If you’re a recent or soon to be college grad look for jobs a month to a month and a half out from graduation. Positions posted by companies are generally looking for immediate replacements and want to interview candidates and fill the position for a quick turnaround. I will cover more job search tips in my next article, “Dear NYC, I Need A Job.”

 

Learn Thy Ways
This city is vast and dense so chances are you won’t see it all in a day or two. Most “real” New Yorkers require a minimum of 10 years before you get their seal of approval but you can get that designation sooner. Uptown, downtown, East, Southeast corners-it’s all so confusing. Pick a train and learn. Where is the first/last stop on this train? Where can you connect to other trains? I went with colors first and then by name. Getting out of the train can be confusing however, listen carefully. Generally speaking, downtown trains will drop you off on the west side of the avenues. From there, you have two exits: Northwest or Southwest corners. The northern exits will point you uptown and the southwest, downtown. Bam. Oh and while we’re at it, Fifth Avenue separates East and West from 57th Street to 8th street. Odd-numbered streets are one-way toward the west. Even-numbered streets travel toward the East. If you’re heading to a pier, subtract “40” from the pier number and that is what street it is located near (this only works for piers 57 and above). Cross-town busses can save valuable time too. Most “major” streets (14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, etc.) have cross-town busses that will get you to the East or West side in no time. This is certainly true when going “through” Central Park. Instead of taking the 4,5,6 down to the shuttle and back up the Westside, take a cross-town bus (66th, 72nd, 96th) to get to the other side quicker. These are just a few ways you can conquer the city, spend less time learning and more time exploring.

 

Welcome To New York
As the newest Taylor Swift song proclaims moving here is an exciting moment and time for anyone. Keep in mind the costs, location and culture before you move. Have a game plan and be diligent to follow through with these tips and you’ll be well prepared to jump right in and begin the next leg of your journey in the greatest city in the world.

 

By David Everett Strickler

 

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