Anxious about moving to New York? I’ve been getting so many emails about advice for moving to New York, finding a first apartment, finding the right neighborhood, etc. that I thought it might be worthwhile to compile some of the most frequently asked questions into one post. I hope some of you find this helpful!


How did you find your apartment?
I’m obsessed with Streeteasy and highly recommend it for preliminary research. You can search by neighborhood, price, number of bedrooms, pets, etc., save listings you like, and contact brokers and owners directly through the site. I have a couple friends who found their apartments without brokers but I was moving during my busy season for work so it was hugely helpful to work with a broker. Mine worked so hard to find the right apartment that I was almost happy to write him a check for all his help. (Email me if you’d like his info!)
Which neighborhood do you live in? 
I lived on the Upper East Side my first year and just moved to the West Village. The Upper East Side was more “affordable” (which I use as a relative term given that everything in New York is pretty pricey) but the West Village is a better location for downtown meetings, my social life, and taking Rory to the dog park. I now spend more money on my apartment but less time and money on cabs.

How should I choose where to live?
Consider where you work, what you can afford, where your friends live, how often you take the subway, and where you tend to eat and go out. There’s no one “cool” place to live and each neighborhood has its own unique feel. Talk to your coworkers and friends who live here and spend an afternoon in a couple different neighborhoods to decide where you feel most at home. I equate it to touring different college campuses your senior year of high school, except you’ll only have to stay one year.

How much did you save before moving to New York?
Obviously this is a personal matter but my advice is to save as much as you possibly can. I was lucky that I could live with my parents in Connecticut for a year to save money. If that’s not an option, you could always pick up a second job on campus during your senior year to start putting money aside. (I worked in alumni relations on campus and did a virtual internship for an online magazine.) There are no two ways around it: New York is expensive and it helps to start saving early. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

How can I make living in New York more affordable?
Pick your battles. For this apartment, I cared most about location and natural light. For other people, having a great kitchen or a true one-bedroom might be more important. My situation is rare in that I work from home and it wouldn’t be fair to subject a roommate to my business, dog, inventory, etc. But if your post-grad situation is more traditional, having roommates and living in less central boroughs or neighborhoods is a great way to cut costs. Here’s a map with the median rent for one-bedroom apartments last year to help you get a feel for which neighborhoods cost less than others.

How can I decorate my first place on a budget?
I wrote a whole post on that right here!

This all sounds like a lot of work. Is it worth it?
Ask anyone who’s dealt with moving to or within New York and they’ll tell you it’s not a walk in the park. But there’s something about this city that sucks you in and makes you fall head over heels in love with it. My friend Hallie did an awesome job explaining it in her love letter to New York City.

I’m visiting New York for the weekend. What should I do / where should I eat?
Check out my New York City guide — I’ll be adding new favorites every week! Some recent favorites include Café Cluny, Café Gitane, the Mermaid Inn, Palma, and Tipsy Parson. And definitely see a Broadway show if you can — I loved these three.


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  1. Lovely advices here! I am so excited these days because I am going to move to New York and I want to know everything about this city. I already found an apartment and I am starting work after a few months. Wish me luck!

  2. Mackenzie, this is a marvelous post! I visited the City twice, but it was 5 days each time and that is not nearly enough time to grasp the beauty of the City and feel its breath full of diversity! I’ve been in love with NYC since I was a girl and my Dream is to move and live there, but making my dream come true is far more complicated because I love across the Atlantic in a very small country! I hope that your guide will serve me some day, though. I wanted to send you an email to ask you for some advice and information, but I figured – you must be too busy, so I guess a comment is more appropriate! Anyway, enjoy the life in New York and maybe we’ll run into each other on the street some day :)))

    How I felt and still feel about NYC is described in a piece of writing: which is very dear to my heart.

    Thanks again,


  3. Love this, Mackenzie!! Everyone has a different story about moving to NYC—it’s always really great to hear how it happened for people. I’m on my third year in the same apartment, which is practically unheard of for most people. It’s a little further than I’d like it to be from some things, but it’s always an amazing little neighborhood that’s completely underrated which is fine by me!

    I also moved here with some savings, but getting into my first apartment really drained it—by the time I started my first full-time job, I was pretty low on back up funds…but there is absolutely a way when you have the will and there are a lot of great people in this city who will help you make it happen!

    Blonde in this City

  4. Thank you for this! I’m about to graduate from Penn and will be moving to New York this summer and I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, particularly about the financial aspects. I’ll keep your advice in mind as I continue to plan!

  5. What an amazing post! I’ve been considering making the move from Boston to New York (Despite just landing in Boston a few months ago – I’m from Ireland!) the past while and this is beyond helpful! xo

  6. This is so helpful! I’m Chapter Advisor for my sorority at a campus in Texas and I’m going to bookmark this so I can send it to any of my girls who want to move to New York after graduation.

  7. Great post! I’m also obsessed with Streeteasy… I browse it even when I’m NOT looking for an apartment, haha.

    And thanks for the link love, girlfriend. 🙂 See you soon!

    x Hallie