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min read

A transferee’s guide to New York City

What every professional needs to know about living, commuting, and enjoying life in the Big Apple

Hi, I’m Mary Kathryn, and I can’t wait to introduce you to my home of the last 12 years: New York City, where dreams come true and magic fills the air. As Relocity’s first Relocation Consultant in this bustling metropolis, I've witnessed its ever-changing landscape and vibrant culture for over a decade. As you prepare to grow your abundant career in the City That Never Sleeps, let me show you the real New York, an unparalleled experience of excitement, opportunity, and diversity — well beyond what you can experience on movie screens or vacation.

Geography and history

New York City's geography invites exploration across its five boroughs: The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. Manhattan, the center of the city, is the most densely populated of all the boroughs. The Bronx is located to the north of Manhattan. Queens and Brooklyn are located to the east and are separated from Manhattan by the East River. To the south lies Staten Island. To the west, across the Hudson River, sits the gold coast of New Jersey. To the northeast, across Long Island Sound, is Connecticut, bordering New York as part of the Tri-State area.

Relocity's native mobile application provides a flyover view of each borough.

Dating back to 1624 (over 150 years before the United States gained independence from Great Britain), New York City was named “New Amsterdam” by Dutch colonists who used the town as a trading post. Since then, New York City has become home to over 8 million people

Changing skylines

View of Hudson Yards from Chelsea: a mix of brand-new skyscrapers and traditional pre- and post-war buildings

In light of New York City’s rich history, many landmarks — including Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building — are preserved amid an otherwise evolving skyline. For example, the Tenement Museum, which tells the stories of immigrants who lived on the Lower East Side between 1860-1930, was formerly a residential building. 

While many structures in Manhattan are landmarked, the perimeter of the borough has newer residential buildings. Midtown has recently seen some new development in the  One Vanderbilt and Moynihan Hall commercial spaces (which are linked to transit hubs) and the residential development of Hudson Yards.

Looking east from a rooftop in Hudson Yards

Like Manhattan, Brooklyn is also changing. Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are developing new highrise buildings to accommodate the growing population and commercial interest from the likes of Apple, Whole Foods Market, Target, and Trader Joe's.

New York City’s real estate market 

You'll need a place to call home when you’re off the clock, which leads us to home-finding. Rentals, condominiums, and co-ops offer various options, each with its unique process. In this fast-paced market, leverage expert guidance. As a Relocity Relocation Consultant, I guide my clients on home-finding and identify no-fee listings wherever possible. I also explain the difference between apartments with and without broker fees. Over the years, I’ve become a master at finding apartments with no out-of-pocket fees.

Additionally, keep in mind that tenants are typically required to earn 40 times the monthly rent to qualify for rentals and some landlords even require third-party guarantors when transferees have little to no United States credit. I’ll help you understand your options to qualify and show you other, less expensive places to live in the Tri-State area, if needed.

One thing to note is that in densely populated New York City, space is a precious commodity. Studios span 500 sq ft, one-bedrooms reach 650 sq ft, and two-bedrooms start at 700+ sq ft. Challenges arise for families seeking larger units, especially in specific neighborhoods. Newer units tend to be smaller with longer commutes, emphasizing the importance of proximity to subway lines.

The Relocity app displays neighborhood descriptions within the map to introduce your talent to the area.

My top priority is to streamline your home-finding process. I’ll start by clarifying your preferences around location, square footage, amenities (including laundry, gyms, and doormen), budget, lifestyle, noise level, and commuting time. Then, I’ll explain the tradeoffs at every price point. In the end, I think we’ll find an almost perfect place that you will be thrilled to call home.

Commuting and transportation

If you’re thinking about bringing your car to the city, you may want to reconsider. Garage parking costs upwards of $1,000 per month in Manhattan and $400 per month in Brooklyn. You’ll still be able to do everyday tasks like grocery shopping and laundry without a car. Dry cleaners, restaurants, and grocery stores usually offer delivery for a nominal fee. Stroll to the grocery story, and get your four bags delivered shortly. Call the dry cleaners when you wake up, and wear your freshly pressed outfit within an hour without ever leaving your apartment.

When you need to travel more than a few blocks, embrace the unique commuting experience with the extensive subway system, which connects the city like a web. Considering factors that affect your overall commuting time (like walks to and from the subway station and line transfers), you can travel to most neighborhoods in Manhattan within 30-45 minutes. Or if you have a bit more time, explore the city on foot and enjoy the vibrant streets and diverse neighborhoods along the way. 

Culture and things to do

Once you’ve secured a place to live in the Big Apple, you’ll quickly discover the city’s fast-paced, vibrant, and diverse culture firsthand. Streets are bustling until approximately 3:00 a.m. with people enjoying time with friends and colleagues at the city’s many restaurants, bars, entertainment centers, art galleries, shops, or exploring its iconic landmarks. Yet, as dawn breaks over the iconic skyline, a sense of calm envelops the city's avenues on weekends, ushering in relatively peaceful morning hours.

There's always something new and exciting to discover in New York City, whether you're a foodie, an art aficionado, a music lover, or a theater enthusiast. In this cultural mecca, you can immerse yourself in diverse experiences. Savor global culinary delights, revel in world-class museums, and connect with like-minded souls.

Socializing and meeting like-minded people is easy, with numerous opportunities to gather and connect over drinks or a meal. New York City is also a haven for fitness enthusiasts, with a variety of options for staying active, from trendy gyms to beautiful parks where you can jog or exercise outdoors.

No matter how niche your interests may be, there's a community waiting for you. For instance, I have a client who loves pickleball, an increasingly popular sport, and they've found their place in the city’s new pickleball venues. I've researched everything from skateboarding to kombucha!

You don't have to break the bank to find entertainment in New York City. I love helping clients explore free activities and hidden gems.

When it comes to the arts, New York City is home to world-class museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. For fashion enthusiasts, the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology offers incredible exhibitions for free. If you're seeking live performances, the New York City Center is a fabulous theater that showcases a diverse range of programming that sometimes ends up on Broadway.

An ideal weekend day for transferees

After moving to New York City, you’ll have endless opportunities to immerse yourself in cultural splendor, explore vibrant neighborhoods, enjoy unmatched entertainment, find oases of green spaces, stay fit, and create memories that will last a lifetime. To start, make the most of your weekends! For single transferees, the perfect weekend day offers a blend of fitness, delicious food, and cultural experiences. Start off by heading to a local gym or yoga studio to get energized. Afterward, since brunch is a citywide phenomenon, meet up with a friend at Jacob's Pickles, known for its mouthwatering dishes and Instagram following, or Good Enough to Eat.

Once you're fueled up, consider exploring the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where you can catch performances by the New York City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic. The campus also boasts the Vivian Beaumont Theater, a Broadway house, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Immerse yourself in the arts, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and revel in the world-class performances that make New York City famous.

For families, a wonderful weekend day is filled with activities for kids and parents alike. Take advantage of the city's ferry system, which offers a convenient and stroller-friendly way to get around. Explore one of the many farmer’s markets scattered throughout the city, where you can indulge in fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local treats.

Central Park is an ideal destination for a leisurely walk, with the Central Park Zoo and playgrounds to help kids burn off energy. If you're up for a longer adventure, consider Brooklyn's Prospect Park, where you'll find another zoo and a museum — a perfect blend of education and entertainment.

When you get hungry, head to Junior’s in Times Square or Shake Shack at Madison Square Park (the original location) – both are excellent options that cater to adults and children.

Finally, no time in New York City is complete without a stop at a famous landmark like the Statue of Liberty. Consider dedicating some time to explore this symbol of freedom and take in the breathtaking views of the city skyline from the ferry. 

Whether you're exploring the cultural offerings of the city or enjoying family-friendly activities, New York City has something for everyone.

Working remotely and connecting with colleagues

During the work week, you may need a change of scenery from your corporate or home office. Take a meeting from Think Coffee, which offers comfortable seating and has several locations in the technology corridor between 14th and 34th Streets.

When it's time for lunch, opt for a fast-casual eatery. The areas around office centers are filled with fan favorites like CAVA, DIG, and sweetgreen.

Find CAVA in the Relocity app by navigating to the “Explore” tab and selecting “Lunch Spots.” (Ask your Relocation Consultant for more information.)

After work, connect with colleagues over a well-deserved happy hour near the office. You'll find plenty of trendy bars and lounges to unwind and socialize.

Welcome home!

Why move to New York City? It's a city that empowers you to dream big, embrace diversity, and live life to the fullest. Let's make your dreams come true in the City That Never Sleeps! Our Relocity team is here to guide you every step of the way, as you embark on this magical journey through New York City.

Be sure to check out our latest articles below.

Mary Kathryn Monday

Relocation Consultant

Whether you wish to be in a fast-paced location or find a quiet side street, Mary will make your transition to city living simple by helping you find your right pace and space.