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You found us! How to use this blog

28 Feb

Updates, May 2012:
Welcome, new readers! We are growing daily and so happy to have you here. 
Have you found our Facebook and Twitter yet? Join the conversation, meet other newcomers, ask us anything!

This is, the definitive guide to moving to New York City as a young professional. We give a running start to the thousands of twentysomethings who move to the city each month, many of whom are unsure how this whole thing is gonna turn out. We’re here to tell you the truth about NYC: It’s not impenetrable, impossible, prohibitively expensive, or too much of a pipe dream to really do it.

Yes, life in NYC is challenging, but if you hold tight to the gratitude and allure you felt in those first few months, it will stay with you for years. There’s too much to appreciate to be jaded.

Sarah Protzman Howlett, founder of

In these pages, you’ll find nearly everything you need to get started on your new life in NYC, including how to prepare before you even land. Via the search and categories at right, you can read about how to apartment hunt, how to navigate public transit, and how to spend wisely while you’re having funfun, fun! Most of our readers spend a lot of time on this site, devouring the posts and bookmarking them for future reference. We hope you’ll do the same! Now, for the FAQ:

I’m trying to get a job in NYC before I move. Why isn’t anyone hiring me?
Usually because of the sheer number of capable people already living here. It’s hard, but not impossible, to get the attention of a company from, say, Georgia, when there’s an equally qualified person, resume-wise, two subway stops away. Having said that, don’t give up contacting companies in the city, and remember that your network is always bigger than you think. Better yet, fly out for a week of informational interviews and networking events. If you take the leap and move without a job, consider temping — maybe working in the afternoons or evenings while you go on interviews in the mornings would work for you.

How much money should I save before I move?
As you can imagine, there’s no definitive number — but I usually ballpark it at around $3,000. If you have a roommate or two or three, there’s no reason this amount shouldn’t last you at least a couple months, food and PBR included. Even if the New York dream is just a glimmer in your eye at this point, start socking away $20 a week; it’ll buy you precious flexibility and peaceful sleep once you’re here.

Can I afford to live alone? Roommates are soooooo freshman year. 
Not if rent would have you treading at or near the 45%-of-your-income mark. A cool life is way more satisfying than a cool apartment, I promise. Part of the New York adventure is meeting new folks. Move in with someone you don’t know — tiny apartments and bff’s don’t mix — via rooms/shares on Craigslist. Open houses will make your head spin, but you’ll find something right for you. Not to mention they’ll give you great stories to tell.

I have expensive taste and a huge sense of entitlement. Will I survive in this booming metropolis of temptation?

What’s it like to date in Manhattan?
Educational. Bottom line is, you’ll have good dates and bad, but there are great people out there, and it’s important to meet a wide swath of people. You’ll see new places and experience haunts you never would’ve found on your own. And remember, almost everything is funny in hindsight.

Should I send you my own experiences, thoughts or tips?
Yes! Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter, and email me at


Moving in: Do or don’t?

15 May

New York is a fantastic place to fall in love, and the expense of the city breeds a large amount of couples tempted to cut their rent in half.

But is this smart, or are you just broke?

A pretty good list from a pretty silly book called "Why Hasn't He Proposed?"

Good, healthy reasons to move in obviously exist, but the doing so for the primary reason (admitted or not) of financial relief has always made me nervous.

Recent studies also say this more often leads to a breakup than lifelong partnership. (There are conflicting studies and counterarguments, of course. Most involve a variation of the phrase “test drive the relationship.”)

By my simple random sample of my New York friends, all of them (and I mean ALL) who moved in with someone in their mid-20’s ended up moving out. From where I’m sitting, it’s an alarming rate of same story, same outcome.

Sure, not everyone cares about societal endpoints like marriage or monogamy, but I don’t actually know any of these people. Regardless, some things to consider:

Whose place will you move into? How will you tell your roommate? Do you have equivalent hopes for where this step will take your relationship? Whose commute will be affected most by the move? How will you secure needed alone time? Where will our guests stay? How long will our lease be? How will each other’s sleep habits be affected by your schedules? What will your parents think? Do you care what they think?

New York is a small place, and we all need our space, even when we can’t always have it! Being in love is FUN, and only you know how to do right by your relationship.
As always, comments are highly encouraged. We’re nothing if not a place for healthy debate and firsthand experiences. What are your thoughts on shackin’ up in the city?

You and your S.O.: The Tiny-Apartment Etiquitte Guide

4 Dec

There’s no quicker way to sour a roommate relationship: All of a sudden, the whole joint reeks of perfume or the toilet seat’s left up — all thanks to your freeloading boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s a problem as rampant as rodents, and in New York City, miniature apartments only add to the tension.

Don't make us resort to this.

Let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with having guests. Unless a no-overnights policy was part of the deal when you signed your lease (and sometimes it is), it’s your right. But it’s the way we handle it — or don’t handle it — that causes problems. Courtesy is everything. You might be in love, but you also have roommates.

In New York, we have roommates far past the age we would in Normal Rent World, and it’s only natural for our adult relationships to spill over into our personal space. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is visiting or staying over more than a couple nights a week, run it by your roommates — not to ask permission (after all, you pay rent too), but just to extend the courtesy.

Avoid becoming THAT PERSON by following these guidelines:

• The default toilet seat position should reflect the gender of the rent-paying majority. (Guys get most of the flack for this — but girls, if you’re staying with your boyfriend and it’s up when you get in there, put it back up when you’re done.)
• If you’re going to have a phone conversation, go into the bedroom.
• Do not commandeer the common room. The worst thing for a roommate is the feeling you are being kept out of, or intruding on, a space you should be able to use anytime. Leave no trace — especially beer cans.
• Do not smoke in the apartment unless every other roommate does, and says its OK. (A friend of mine once lived with a girl whose trust-fund boyfriend kept smoking inside after they asked him to stop. What a catch!)
• If you cook, clean.
That night. Bonus points for doing a few stray dishes that don’t belong to you.
• Be mindful of your bathroom usage.
Make sure the roommates are never waiting on The One Who Doesn’t Pay Rent so they can take a shower.
• Keep the noise down.
You know, the noise.
• Be at least a little social. Everyone likes someone who asks them questions. Chat with your s.o.’s roommates from time to time, just so you’re not the guy or girl who comes over, shuts the bedroom door and never says a word to his or her roommates.