Before you flip out at the title of this post, let me say this: Every new New Yorker should do what they want upon moving here. Some people are in relationships and don’t crave the bustle of Manhattan like a single person might. Some need more space or simply don’t have a desire to live on this tiny island. That’s more than OK. But if that’s not you — and you’re considering Brooklyn or Queens as a new New Yorker merely because of the expense or a perceived intimidation factor of Manhattan — then get a place on the tiny island!
My logic is as such: You’ve come a long way for this New York dream of yours. Everyone I know who lives outside of Manhattan (and is new to the city) laments the back and forth on some level. They’re on subway for an hour or more every day, the idea that other people can pop home after work to change, and so on, creates a degree of frustration for them. (Not to mention it’s really, really hard to get any of your Manhattan friends to come to Brooklyn.)
Some people will take a morbid joy in telling you there are no afforable places in Manhattan. Especially lately, that is just not true. I have my own room, a decent bathroom and a great neighborhood (Murray Hill) at my doorstep. It’s not a “fabulous” Lena-Dunham-in-Girls apartment, but I keep my things organized and my space clean, and I can afford it. Living within my means feels better than waking up in a sweat worried about how I’ll make rent.
In the end, you have to decide what it’s worth to you. You’ll pay a little more to get a little less — but only in square footage. Manhattan, to my mind, is worth every penny. Daily life is remarkable, convenient, safe, at your fingertips.
**My latest book, The Guide for New New Yorkers, shows newcomers how to survive and thrive in your adopted city, with advice on everything from apartment hunting and salary negotiation to meeting friends and avoiding debt. Want more insight into what it’s like to build a New York life from the ground up? Check out Two Years in New York City, a memoir in snapshots of 20-something New York life, written as they happened.