Moving to New York?

Having lived in Manhattan for almost seven years (four of which I spent at NYU), I often refer to this racy city as my second home. Since many of you will be spending the summer or even a few years there, I thought I would give you a taste of what it is like to work, live and play in this lively city that spans 11 miles long by 4 miles wide.

On Living…
Living on your own in Manhattan can get quite expensive; however, in my experience of living with roommates, I found that rent was actually cheaper than it is in Boston. Most people end up living in luxury high-rise buildings with a doorman, elevator and oftentimes amenities such as a gym or pool. “Converted” apartments are a popular concept in New York-for instance, one can convert a 2-bedroom into a 3-bedroom apartment by installing a pressurized wall, which looks and feels like a real wall, that splits the living room into a bedroom and basic living area. Some of the more popular neighborhoods include Midtown East or West (the 50s, close to many office buildings), Murray Hill (although somewhat “collegey”), and Union Square/Gramercy (posh, but can get quite expensive). Of course, having gone to NYU, I am a bit biased towards the Lower East Side, where you can get a slightly more cultural experience and hospitable environment. Craigslist and CitiHabitats are some good resources to help you with your apartment search.

On Working…
Living in New York City will place you at the precise center of global business-physically, intellectually, and culturally. The city’s vast resources will constantly be integrated into your experience at Wall Street’s major powerhouses. Although NYC certainly thrives on a “work hard, play hard” mentality where grueling hours are the norm, the upside of this is that everyone around you is in the same boat as well. Nine to five jobs do not exist in New York unless maybe you’re manning a hot dog stand, if even that. If you are in investment banking, you will quickly get used to coming in around nine or ten each morning and working until one or two the following morning (on a good day). You may even choose to keep a toothbrush at work, as many bankers do. Nonetheless, the bright side of this is that you will be surrounded by some of the smartest, and most ambitious and successful people in the business world, which in itself will be very motivating-not to undermine the heap of green that you will be making. In a city that offers you everything at your fingertips, you will find that you never run out of options for food either. Whether you’re in the mood for candlelit fine dining, or want to grab a quick, healthy meal on-the-go, you will find it all within the vicinity of one mile-Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Brazilian, fusion and even Vegan, just to name a few!

On Entertainment and Nightlife…
Manhattan’s infamous nightlife is about as exhilarating as it gets. In the city that never sleeps, you can count on hitting up at least four or five lounges within the same night, followed by breakfast at Meatpacking District’s famous PopBurger or L’Express on Park Avenue. Although the “scene” can be quite frustrating at times-especially for guys when they get rejected for wearing brown shoes to a chic place like Marquee or Cain-people are still willing to spend frivolously on models and bottles (a.k.a. buy their way into clubs or get tables). I still continue to be surprised by how many people are willing to shell out $700 to be surrounded by some of the most attractive human beings in the world. Outdoor places such as 230 Fifth, Bryant Park Hotel and Union Square’s Luna Park also rock an incredible crowd during the summertime. Something must be said, however, about the capricious nature of the city and how quickly a place can go from being hot to completely not within just a few months. Minus a few long-time favorites, the average club or lounge has a lifetime of about three to five months before it loses its charm, is torn down, redone, and renamed-and then the cycle begins again.

After a rough night of partying, nothing is more relaxing than spending a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon in Central Park, whether it’s biking, tossing a frisbee around, or simply sunbathing and picnicking with sandwiches and a few beers. If you feel like getting cultural, the Moma and Met await on Museum Mile on the Upper West Side. Brunches in Union Square’s Coffee Shop and Meatpacking’s Pastis are also popular Sunday favorites.

On Relationships…
You can forget about ’em. I’ll go so far as to say that living in this city can turn you into a scavenger. With all that Manhattan has to offer, it makes it very tough for people to settle down. I’ll admit that the Sex and the City depiction is a bit of overkill, but let’s just say that being surrounded by gorgeous, intelligent people all the time can make it very hard to commit (not to say it’s not possible).

On Life…
So do things ever slow down? The answer is no. For the sake of maintaining your sanity, be sure to just stop every now and then, catch your breath, and relax! As much as I love this city and strongly encourage everyone to experience living there at least at some point in their lives, I have to say that being in Manhattan for too long can be the road to burnout. Money is gone before you even see it and you will age a lot faster as well. Nonetheless, perhaps I am just addicted, but I still get excited at the prospect of going to my beloved New York City.

March 5, 2007
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