Prior AskMeFi threads and new answers on the subject of a restless kid moving to Brooklyn?
August 15, 2007 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Help a nervous kid sort through all the helpful AskMeFi threads already out there to answer this question: I'm moving from the Bay Area to Brooklyn - how can I do it effectively?

I'm not quite sure what I need to do to make sure I do this right. What loose ends need to be tied up, what to pack, how to pack, how to ship it, how to job-hunt, how to apartment-hunt? Basically, I'm more than a little clueless, but I've got to do the foolishly young New York adventure while I'm still foolish and young. This is my first question for AMF, so I'm sorry if I don't have the right etiquette down yet. Thank you in advance, hive mind.
posted by rmrudy to Human Relations (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
OMG how dare you violate the guidelines!!1! Just kidding - welcome!

First off, you'll find heaps of previous questions by clicking on the tags you posted on the left, and you can also combine tags; here are all the posts tagged with nyc and moving.

But before we send you on a wild goose chase through the AskMe archives, we need to know more about you. Where are you moving from - Hawaii, Chicago, Westchester? Why are you moving to NYC? What field are you looking for a job in? What's your budget for living expenses and rent? Roommates, housemates, catmates? Are you planning a scouting trip to the city?

Not being a New Yorker myself (left coast represent!) I'd recommend going to your library (you do have a library card, right?) and checking out books on moving and packing strategies and guidebooks to the city. Troll Wikipedia's articles about NYC neighborhoods to get a general gist, then check out the local web scene and local media if you can.

We're happy to help, but we need more info! (Just post it here as a comment.) There's a big NYC MeFi crowd, too...perhaps one or twenty of them will jump in here to give you some more specific tips once you give us some more details.
posted by mdonley at 3:23 PM on August 15, 2007

i was lucky enough to move to new york for school, so i had my housing all set up. the best advice i've heard, though. is to find a sublet for a month or three in a neighborhood you're interested in, preferably with a roommate or two who can get you oriented. most new yorkers are nice, and most transplants understand, so as long as you aren't needy, i don't think anyone will mind showing you the ropes.

craigslist is invaluable. for young creative types, i recommend searching for park slope, williamsburg, fort greene, brooklyn heights, gowanus, cobble hill, carroll gardens, boerum hill, red hook, bushwick (eh), clinton hill, kensington, and windsor terrace. but don't stress about a neighborhood just yet--you're getting the short-term sublet to buy time to find your spot.

of course, your sublet will probably be furnished, so you'll probably have to store your stuff, but to be perfectly honest, you may be better off selling all your stuff and replacing it when you arrive. compared to the cost of renting a truck or hiring movers, i imagine you might even come out ahead. also, you won't have to find movers when you arrive.

if you can pare it down to just clothes and books and knicknacks, see if you can box it up and ship it via ups. i did this when i moved from new york to tennessee. alternatively, if it will fit in a minivan, that's a good option for a one-way move.

i'm sure other threads have lots of other good advice. good luck! brooklyn's wonderful.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2007

Doh, just reread that you're moving from the Bay Area.
posted by mdonley at 3:50 PM on August 15, 2007

You need to give us a lot more information. We can't tell you how to do a "job hunt" without having any idea what kind of job you want, and we'd also need to know your educational and work experience. We can't tell you what to "pack" or "ship" if we don't know what stuff you have and how you're going to be traveling.
posted by jejune at 3:56 PM on August 15, 2007

I moved to Brooklyn from Florida in February. Not sure what kind of experience you have or job you are looking for, but I was software engineer with a M.S. degree agressively wanting to relocate when I did the move. Here is how I did it:

Put my resume on Dice/Monster with a friend's Brooklyn address and a NYC phone number I purchased with Skype. Prior to the local address and ph #, no one contacted me.

Went through a couple telephone interviews and eventually flew up here for in-person interview. I made up a reason why I was still in Florida, but assured them I would be in NYC soon enough. (The company paid for the flight, but I was prepared to pay for myself since I fibbed on my resume.)

The first company I interviewed with was awesome and made me an offer. I told them I would be ready for work in 3 weeks.

Oh christ, I have 2 weeks to pack up my all junk, tell my parents and friends, put in my 2 weeks at my current job, and find an apartment.

My Brooklyn friend (one who let me use his address) and I looked for apartments. I gave him craiglist links and he followed up on them. The apartment broker was a huge pain in the ass. He had problem renting to someone that he didn't meet despite having lots of good credit and renters history. I had to fax and overnight lots of paperwork. It all worked out in the end.

I packed all my stuff into about 30 boxes. I decided to bring my furniture up here (bed, couch, seat, desk). I rented a moving truck (Penske, much cheaper than Uhaul). I was packing till 4am of the day I left. Lots of stuff ended up trashed and given away in the last 24 hours of packing. Some of the stuff I brought up here is still in boxes. I'll get to them any day now...

Driving a moving truck isn't that bad. Having lived in Florida, I never had to drive in snow. I hit a few snow storms on my way and managed not to die.

I used Flatrate to help me move in. They cost a bit, but moved a moving truck worth of boxes (I picked up my roommates stuff the night before) in only a few hours. My couch did not fit into the apartment entrance. I still had moving expense money, so I got a carpenter through Flatrate to cut it down and rebuild it in the apartment. I was not disappointed in the outcome, but if I knew ahead of time, I would have left my furniture for someone in Florida.

I started work 2 days after I moved in. One of those days I spent locked out of my apartment (without shoes, phone, or wallet, no less). Over the next week, I spent countless hours taking subways in wrong directions. It took me about a month to get the hang of everything. Winter was a new experience. Thank goodness for the one jacket and hoodie I brought up with me.

New York is lots of fun. Having a good job helps. Good luck.

thinkingwoman is correct on the neighborhoods you should search in.
posted by gaelenh at 4:24 PM on August 15, 2007

as to searching for apartments, i would say the first thing you should do is check into the average rental price in various neighborhoods. i say this because that might define the search for you. i mean, i assume you are moving to brooklyn, and not manhattan, because of the rental prices in manhattan. (don't get me wrong, i've lived in brooklyn nearly my entire life, and personally believe it to be the best part of the city).

if you don't think you can afford manhattan, then you need to decide, can you afford brooklyn heights, cobble hill, or carrol gardens (all great neighborhoods, but can also still be fairly pricey)

if you are thinking to yourself: where are the cheapest rentals in a nice neighborhood on a subway line which can access the whole city - then one great neighborhood is bay ridge, which is at the end of the R train. nice neighborhood, it is the night-life area of south brooklyn (tons of bars and restaurants in bay ridge), 30 minutes to greenwich village (40 to mid-town) on the subway, and some of the cheapest rentals (in a nice neighborhood) in brooklyn.

i admit some bias, i have lived in bay ridge for almost 20 years. it is a great neighborhood. overall, if you can afford it, the young foolish adventure should be in manhattan. if not manhattan, then cobble hill or carrol gardens (or astoria, queens), if you could afford those areas. however, if you want to start off with the lowest rent possible, with access to the whole city, and in a fun neighborhood - then bay ridge is your choice.

as we say in this part of new york city: South Brooklyn, top of the food chain. bay ridge is great. you can always move closer to the manhattan, into a higher rent, later
posted by Flood at 5:18 PM on August 15, 2007

The Consumerist had this article "How to Move to NYC Sane and Not Broke" and it has a lot of good advice. Read the comments- they contain some good tips and tricks (including my own).
posted by kimdog at 6:07 PM on August 15, 2007

oh, i would add one important thing: have at least $5,000 in cash when you get there. this will cover your paycheck-less first few months of living expenses, plus the security deposit, 1st and last month's rent, and broker fee (you may not pay one, but expect to) for your apartment when you find it.

expect rents to equal those in the bay area, but you won't need a car.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:18 PM on August 15, 2007

It's hard to give specific advice until you update with some details, but until then...

I've sent Civil_Disobedient's comment in a related thread to many, many people, because it is dead on.
posted by lalex at 7:39 PM on August 15, 2007

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