LA to NY - yay or nay?
August 31, 2005 7:52 PM   Subscribe

MoveToNewYorkFilter: would you?

I live in a great apartment in the Hollywood hills, work in an beautiful office with ocean views and drive a car I love. But we've got new management, they suck and I want to leave, and I've been offered a position in NYC.
My prime concern is that I lived in London for years so I've already done the small expensive apartment/ public transport/ no car/ miserable winters lifestyle. Is it going to be like that all over again? Would it be worth it to live in a city with soul? And given that I'm looking at 80K and the business is located at 10011, how close to work could I live?
posted by forallmankind to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Would I? No.

I suspect it would be like your London experience, but with worse weather. Also, New Yorkers have a very different attitude than Angelinos. Or most anyone else. I'm not saying a lot of other stuff, which I will sum up this way: I really don't like the place.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:01 PM on August 31, 2005

How old are you? NYC is great if you're 21, not so great if you're 41.

80K does not go far. Let's say you can get a tiny, cheap hovel, errr, apartment for $1500/month or so. It won't include a parking spot, which'll cost around $500/month or so - or you can sell the car, of course. The government takes half, so... that leaves you more than $1000/month to live on! Which doesn't really buy that many $15 drinks, but you'll be living in the greatest city in the world, nay, the greatest city ever.
posted by jellicle at 8:17 PM on August 31, 2005

I was born and raised in California, and grew up in Orange County. And I did Bay Area, CA to NYC nearly two years ago. Both places have their pros and cons. One point to make: the subway in NYC is climate controlled, and I understand that the Tube isn't. (Or at least doesn't have air conditioning.)

If your salary's $80,000 a year, and you're supporting just yourself, you'll do just fine trying to live in Manhattan. Landlords typically require you to make 40 times the monthly rent. By that estimation, you could live in an apartment where you pay $2000 a month in rent (or less), and be the envy of many people because you can afford to live alone.

Looking at a map, 10011 appears to be Chelsea-ish or central Village. Can you give more particulars? You can definitely swing close by work. Here's current Craigslist offerings on 1 BRs in Chelsea.

Here's another thread on moving to NYC.
posted by kathryn at 8:31 PM on August 31, 2005

To comment on Jellicle's post, NYC is great if you're 21, not so great if you're older -- unless you're rich. And 80K a year is a nice salary, esp. if you're single, but in no way does that make you rich in NYC. I lived for years in 10011, got my last apt. around '95 for close to $1000 a month, and that was a small 1-bed walkup on the 5th floor, in a nothing special building (and that was considered a deal).

I'm speaking as someone who'd rather live in NYC than LA, where I've also lived. Noo Yawk is The city, but it demands a lot from its residents, and after a while, that can wear even the most durable of us down. The way you start your question, I suspect you value your creature comforts too much to give them up. Nothing wrong with that.
posted by rob511 at 8:33 PM on August 31, 2005

It won't include a parking spot, which'll cost around $500/month or so - or you can sell the car, of course.

Why would anyone have a car in New York?

It costs a bit less to live in Brooklyn and way less to live in, say, Astoria. Manhattan is not the only interesting place to live in New York. 80K is certainly a living wage in NY, and you could save a bunch of money by not having to buy any gas. Plus, a small apartment costs you less in electricity. You're living space may be smaller, but you can go outside and walk places -- places you want to go -- in NY. I would do it, even if it's just for a couple of years, but I'm not an LA person.
posted by Airhen at 8:53 PM on August 31, 2005

I just have to reply to the first comment up there... NYC folk are good people; it is the commuters from Long Island, CT and NJ who sit in traffic/trains for two hours each way during rush hour traffic who are mean and angry and nasty and give NYC peeps a bad name.

I say do it. NYC is a blast and what if you just did it for a year? Do you have to stay with this job forever?
posted by dhammala at 8:56 PM on August 31, 2005

I grew up outside of NYC, (and spent a lot of time here then), left for college, spent grad school in Austin, then a stint in Seattle before coming back. I love NYC. I really do. But after 7 years back I am very burned out on the stress of living here. If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed in Seattle or Austin. I love my job, and it's in NYC and wouldn't be replicable elsewhere. That is the best reason to live here -- to put up with living here: there's something here for you (job, person, culture) that you can't get anywhere else. So if the job you've been offered is its own reward, that's one thing. If you could do it somewhere where you could actually own property and build equity, raise a family, eat fresh food for a reasonable price, and spread out a little, and god forbid see a little nature on the horizon, I'd say don't move to NYC. And I say this as a lover of the place.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:59 PM on August 31, 2005

One point to make: the subway in NYC is climate controlled

The cars are, but the stations sure as hell are not. In the summer, expect really hot temperatures down there, even at night.

I wouldn't live in Manhattan if I moved to New York.
posted by oaf at 9:18 PM on August 31, 2005

the greatest city in the world, nay, the greatest city ever.

Meh. NYC is overrated. The architecture, bars, and museums are nice, but the soul is gone. There's no mystery, no magic like there is in Shanghai, Bangkok and London. If you were a youngster from Iowa it might be fun, but it sounds to me like the big city lights aren't going to spin your head, so you'll just be stuck with small apartment, grumpy neighbors, and crappy weather. (And no In-n-Out, either.)
posted by soiled cowboy at 9:24 PM on August 31, 2005

always move anywhere in the country from LA, and always move to NYC from everywhere else in the country. makes the answer pretty simple.
posted by yonation at 9:36 PM on August 31, 2005

Not exactly a comparison between LA and NYC, but SF and NYC which may be helpful.
posted by dobbs at 10:13 PM on August 31, 2005

Meh. NYC is overrated. The architecture, bars, and museums are nice, but the soul is gone.

I disagree. The soul may be gone from some areas, like Times Square (ick), but there are still neighborhoods where you can explore and find weird little places you'd only find in New York, especially in Brooklyn and Queens.

I was born in NY, grew up in Phoenix, lived in L.A. for 4 years, NYC for 3, and now L.A. again for the past 5. I miss NYC like crazy, so I am going to live there part-time (no, I'm not wealthy, but my job is 80-100% travel and doesn't require me to come to an office, so I can live anywhere). So, roommate in both places, and I'm good to go.

I'd say try it for a year or two. With an 80k salary, you could live in Manhattan just fine. Brooklyn, Queens, or even Jersey would be viable options. If you're working in 10011, you can easily commute from any of those locations via public transportation. No need for a car.
posted by bedhead at 10:25 PM on August 31, 2005

I make a good deal less than $80K (and moved to the city three years ago on a good deal less than what I make now) and I get by just fine. I have a big one-bedroom in an interesting part of Astoria that costs me $1200. My job in 10019 is a twenty-to-thirty-minute commute by subway.

And it's wonderful. (I'm 30, by the way.) New York is such an amazing, vibrant place, and I honestly can't envision living anywhere else. (We may not have In-and-Out -- which are great -- but we have Paul's Palace, which more than makes up for it in the burger department.)

I think it depends on your examination of what you like and dislike about a city. If you like driving and hate public transportation, New York probably isn't for you. However, I love that I can walk or take public transportation to get everywhere I need to go, and never need to worry about traffic, auto insurance, or parking. But the city has oodles of soul and other good things, and yes, you can definitely swing it on $80K.
posted by Vidiot at 11:09 PM on August 31, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers so far - it's really useful to hear all the different sides. I'm 33 btw, and yes I love having a car, but I also miss and love walking (and stumbling after I've had a few :-)
posted by forallmankind at 11:32 PM on August 31, 2005

dhammala wrote:
I just have to reply to the first comment up there... NYC folk are good people; it is the commuters from Long Island, CT and NJ who sit in traffic/trains for two hours each way during rush hour traffic who are mean and angry and nasty and give NYC peeps a bad name.

No, I'm thinking about people who live in the city. I am sure that New Yorkers do not see themselves are rude, but pretty much everyone I know agrees they are. And it goes beyond just the way NYers talk to others - it seems that they are so used to having to put up with a ton of crap to get through the day that they can't understand why anyone would object to crap.

Me, I've been trying for a long time to eliminate unnecessary hassles from my life, so I would never move to NYC. The benefits of living there are, for me, so far outweighed by the inconveniences and psychic costs that it would not work for me.

But I encourage everyone else to move there.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:51 AM on September 1, 2005

My husband and I (33 and 29 yo), on a combined income of around 100K live in the east village. Sure it's a small apartment, but we're rarely there. Who wants to be at home when there is so much on your doorstep? Anywhere in the city (and I include the outer boroughs) is accessible by public transport. Not owning a car is a great feeling. And walking a lot gets you fit.

I couldn't imagine living here my whole life, but we are looking at 5 years in the city and that feels about perfect.
posted by gaspode at 5:12 AM on September 1, 2005

Look, everyone is different and living in New York is very much a love it or hate it thing, so asking here is actually sort of unhelpful, but I can personally attest that moving back here this year was *easily the best thing I ever did.* I have never been so happy or busy. I used to sit home all the time, now I go out almost every night. I've met all sorts of facinating people - musicians, theatre folk, publishing types, artists - and already have a towering stack of programs from shows I've seen.
A single person making $80k can have an absolute blast here. (And yes, one of the great unsung advantages is never having to worry about drunk driving! You can party to your heart's content.)

But it's all about whether you like the vibe here. Have you been here before? It's a very particular thing and you know immediately if this is a place you could love. People always say New Yorkers are rude, but they never say they are *also* the friendliest people around. I talked to more strangers on my first weekend here than I did in four years of the city I lived in before.
The other day, after a hideous week of high temperatures and stultifying humidity, the weather finally broke. The skies grew dark and rain started cascading in sheets. I got caught under an awning with a your typical mix of other pedestrians, including a crazy homeless woman and several suits. And everyone started exclaiming to each other "finally! rain!" One guy did a little dance. Everyone was smiling at each other. A woman walked by, soaked head to toe, her face and arms raised beatifically to the heavens, and we all cheered her on. That little moment of community is why I love this city so much and why I'll never leave again.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:10 AM on September 1, 2005

I wouldn't say New Yorkers are rude. I'd just say that everyone has a little shell around them, so they can deal with being one of a large number of people in a small space. They're focused on doing what they need to do to get through the day, and they're not being're just not on their radar. But once that shell is broken, they're far friendlier and more helpful than their reputation.

Case in point: I moved from Atlanta to New York, not knowing very much about the city or having visited there since I was nine, three years ago. I went up for a long weekend about a month before I moved, so I could start looking for an apartment and taking care of stuff. In three days in New York City, I fell into more interesting random conversations with people than I had in six months in Atlanta. All it took was asking for help -- pointing at the subway map and asking how to get to a particular place, usually -- and people would drop everything and go out of their way to help me.

CunningLinguist, that's a great story....and I'd say that any transplant to NYC has a million stories just like that, and as many reasons why they love living here.
posted by Vidiot at 6:30 AM on September 1, 2005

How old are you? NYC is great if you're 21, not so great if you're 41.

First off, as a 46-year old who loves New York, let me declare the above statement to be utter tosh. In fact there's a good argument that you get more out of NYC when you're old enough to have a bit of cash rather than being an impoverished youth. What determines whether you'll like New York is not age, it's if you answer predominantly in the affirmative to the following checklist.

1. Do you like big, noisy, lively cities?
2. Do you like great restaurants, great bars, great clubs?
3. Do you have a reasonably decent paycheck? (NB: you do NOT have to be rich to live a good life in NYC, but it helps a lot if you're earning at least a moderate wage.)
4. Can you live without your 4-wheeled pollution machine?
5. Do you like the idea of having access to a huge selection of museums, art galleries, theatres and so on?
6. Do you like living in a liberal, multicultural place?
7. Can you handle crowds, rush, rats and roaches?
8. Are you okay with living in a smaller, less luxurious place than you could afford pretty much anywhere else?
9. Do you want to live in a place with a higher proportion of smart, bright and educated people than pretty much anywhere else in the US?

There are other factors but those are pretty big ones, in my view. And I second CunningLinguist's observation about the friendliness of New Yorkers. They really are friendly. In Williamsburg I honestly feel like I live in a village. People know me in the convenience stores, the bars... I am constantly surprised by how often I run into acquaintances on the streets of the neighbourhood. It seems far smaller and less populous than it actually is, for some reason. I can get into conversations with complete strangers really easily. As an ex-Londoner I'm stunned and delighted by this, always.
posted by Decani at 6:46 AM on September 1, 2005

The car-free thing is something to be careful about in budgeting.

While 21 year olds, and dyed-in-the-wool city-people singles, are usually happy to do without cars, a lot of other people still like to have their cars. If you're at all outdoorsy, or have a family to shop for in quantity, or work in a job that doesn't keep you in Manhattan at all times, you'll find a car remains very desirable. You woudn't use it every day, but you'd use it suprisingly often.
posted by MattD at 8:18 AM on September 1, 2005

I wouldn't worry about the car-free thing. As a native NYCer who lived out of town for a few years and sold his car upon moving back... It's no big deal.

Car rentals here are plentiful and cheap + no big deal at all. Not to mention that Metro-North, LIRR and NJ Transit trains all offer easy access to the beach, the mountains and ridiculous amounts of outdoors stuff.

I love my drives out to the country and my trips to Costco & Trader Joe's as much as anybody, but given how car insurance in my part of Brooklyn costs +/- $300 a month and that I routinely had to park three or four blocks away... I said fuggedaboutit and started using the subway again.

Did I mention how much I liked having trains come every 5 minutes and not having to pay for a gas anymore?
posted by huskerdont at 8:24 AM on September 1, 2005

One omission I found odd in your question: You don't say if you've even been to NYC. Have you? Did you like it? Obviously there's a difference between visiting a city and living there but I personally had a visceral negative reaction to Manhatten for the all of 6 hours I was there. So I certainly wouldn't go live there.

I personally wouldn't commit to moving somewhere I hadn't at least experienced first, no matter what anyone else said about it.
posted by phearlez at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2005

CunningLinguist: your answer just heightens my desire to move there.

I just visited NYC and stayed with a friend in lower manhattan. It was my fourth time there and I have loved it every time - there is just such a strong energy there, which I didn't get from being in LA. One can go out and never feel sleepy, bored, or lonely.

Personally, I hate car traffic but I love crowded streets, I thought the people in LA were rude and road-ragey but the people in NY were friendly if rather direct. So NYC seems like a good choice.

As for space, money, etc: you are still fairly young. Find some excitement and something to get you up in the morning, and worry about comfort when you are frail and old. Anyway, that's my philosophy. Good luck.
posted by mai at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2005

It's a cliche, but:

People in Los Angeles say "have a nice day", but they really mean "fuck you."

People in New York say "fuck you", but they really mean "have a nice day."
posted by Vidiot at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2005

There's a reason why cliches become cliche - they are true!

mai - you are clearly a New Yorker, whereas phearlez is clearly not. That's what I meant about knowing right off the bat. There's a vibe here that you either groove to or don't. I spent years away pining for just the simple pleasure of walking down third avenue.
Forallmankind - if you've been here, you'll probably already know if you'll be happy here.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:17 PM on September 1, 2005

What CunningLinguist and Vidiot said. NYC is the greatest city in the world, and the alleged rudeness is largely a matter of outsiders not understanding the cardinal rule of NYC politeness: Don't Waste the Other Guy's Time. I've found New Yorkers consistently kind and helpful and the city an unending source of surprise and pleasure. Granted, it's not for everyone, and you might want to visit before committing to living there, but if it appeals to you at all, I think you'll love it.

But think seriously about living across the river: you'll spend a hell of a lot less in, say, Astoria and get a lot more for your money, and the city's just 20 minutes away on the N train (which runs, as has been said, every five minutes).
posted by languagehat at 5:24 PM on September 1, 2005

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