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What do you wish you knew about living in New York before moving in 2024?

All the research in the world can't prepare you for that first day in a big city. If you're anything like me, you've come from a place that is nothing like New York City and while you know everything on paper, that first time you fall into a New York puddle, you realize you're in a different world. So what does the community at large think you should know before you move to New York City?

Here's some of the things we heard from you and we'd love to hear yours in the comments below.

What clothes to buy (and where) when moving to New York City

Buy really good walking shoes because you will pound the pavement. And you don't need big thick clothing, wear layers because the subway and indoors can get really hot!

Tracey M.

Also how quickly cheap, low quality shoes fall apart when you have to do so much unavoidable walking

Lucy M.

If you are coming this winter buy all your stuff here. So much cheaper than Aus. You will need proper coats so best to get them here

So many outlets with discounted, quality clothing. And way cheaper than Australia. 1. Century 21. TJMaxx. Marshall's. These are all discount places if you have little money. If you have a fairly fluid bank account you will have no problem.

All the outlet stores in Manhatten. Great deals. For higher-end stuff go to Century 21 or Off 5th which is the outlet store for Saks 5th Ave. Then great deals to be had at TJMaxx, Burlington Coat Factory, and Marshalls. Scarves, hats, gloves, coats, etc, cashmere, thermal underwear, just buy lots of layers. It is the secret to a happy winter as you will be peeling off layers once you are inside. And buy more than one of each as you WILL lose them.

Robbie M.

Cannot stress buy a proper coat enough!

Ellen F.

It's difficult to find a good place to live (for a good price)

I wish I understood how difficult it was gonna be to find somewhere to live and saved more money!

Joshua E.

Things to know about life, food, and culture in New York City


Tracey M.

NY is very expensive, and a bit of a rat race. But, it also had great pizza, bagels, culture, and gorgeous buildings

Sara D.

$1 slices of pizza are awesome?

Andrew S.

People are obsessed with “organic” food, but organic doesn’t mean free range here (for meat). Free range meat is hard to find and expensive. And lots of locals don’t seem to understand that organic and free range are not the same thing.

Kirsty W.

The weather isn't always what you expect in New York

I didn’t do due diligence on the stinking hot & humid summers! I hate it.

Sometimes technology and processes in America are not quite what you expect

Banking is way behind the time – payments are slower and checks are still a thing. Apple Pay not widely accepted.

Kirsty W.

Any paperwork to do with the Government is very timely, unnecessary and almost impossible.

Megan L.

It's important to know how important health insurance is

Health insurance! Super important to negotiate as part of any job you take up.

Andrew S.

Apparently you can’t swap in and out of plans too easily.

Helen V.

Yep swapping in and out is tough! Given even ambulances can cost thousands of dollars in the US I would always opt for the most premium package possible – totally worth the peace of mind. Depending on your work/bargaining power, I also try to negotiate that the insurance will cover me for 6-12mths after the end date of my employment (eg to cover you just in case the business goes under, you get retrenched etc)…. obviously they normally build in a caveat you won’t be covered if fired for good cause/misfeasance. Unfortunately, basic packages don’t cover a whole load of things.

Andrew S.

It’s a fab city, but don’t come without health insurance sorted out!

Nakia G.

Getting a job can be difficult and time-consuming

Even after attending multiple interviews it still takes months to actually start the job. Saw the job ad in Jan, interviews in Feb, second and third interviews in March, started in May on a J1 then took till September to get the E3 done, it was a long often frustrating process.

Helen V.

It's expensive to live in New York

Just how much money you need to stay afloat. When you first hear that you need 40x your monthly rent in annual salary to get your own lease it sounds ludicrous. But turns out that’s what you need to make to not be watching every cent. If you don’t mind roommates you’re golden but in my mid 30s I didn’t want to go down that path. If you’re lucky enough to be on a salary of 85-90k or more, you’ll be fine even by yourself. Just don’t expect to save anything

Dion S.

Sometimes the big picture is different

Mindset. NYC is nothing like Oz…even tho cities in Oz think they're the big smoke. Compared to NYC, they're not.

Jack F.

Actually one really big thing….I didnt realize how much taxes would be. Federal, State, NYC, Social Security, Sales Tax – plus HUGE health fund costs – on a smaller salary I pay more tax than I paid on double the salary in Australia. But New York was always an adventure destination for me- I didn't come here to build wealth…that would be nigh impossible unless you are in investment banking earning big bonuses or scaling your own business.

Annalie K.

Expect to have no life, no weekends and no peace, even on holidays. US work culture can be intense (especially in NY). Also wish I’d known how soothing it can be to escape the madness of manhattan. I think it is amazing to look back at the skyline and appreciate how epic the city is. From Brooklyn for example. You don’t get that as often if you live in the city.

Cal F.

And sometimes it's the little things that are different

Doona covers here are different sizes! A Queen here is bigger than a queen at home so my new bedding doesn’t fit my Aussie doona. Very annoying.

Kirsty W.

Bedrooms don’t necessarily have ceiling lights ? So if you go for a room without ceiling lights or windows…you better get a lamp!!

Michelle B.

I'll never get used to the laundry situation. Be prepared for everything to be ruined in the industrial washers and dryers and also the literal bat shitness of tumble drying everything.

Luc D.

I have not been able to find a good pair of comfortable undies since arriving – stock up before you come!!

Cath C.

But finally, the one that I agree with most

You need noise cancelling headphones

Coco E.
Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

4 thoughts on “What do you wish you knew about living in New York before moving in 2024?”

  1. For NYC in particular, it is so easy to get caught up in the pace and rush lifestyle which is often for no reason. I was given advice from another Aussie I met there early days, every now and then pull yourself back (without getting stampeded) , change the speed of your walk, and be present. You are in New York City. Let that sink in. Reclaim a little of your individuality from the throng.

      1. My wife and I are thinking of moving to NYC in late 2021. My wife is American and I am from NZ but will have a green card.

        For anyone there now, is it madness to consider in the context of covid or is it returning to normality ?

        And re jobs – is it recruiter based like in UK for instance ? And what are some good job sites to look up ?

        1. Hi Patrick, I’ve written some articles about this (linked below) but I would say that in the last few months it’s really felt like things are coming back to life as we step out of winter. I don’t think it’s madness to consider it, but it’s going to be a slog and you’ll need some savings:

          Getting a job:

          I’m not familiar with the UK but it’s heavily recruiter based, especially for foreigners who have no network!

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