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Apr 07

My Move to New York City

Posted by Domonique Williams in Graduate Admissions on Apr 07, 2016

I was extremely thrilled and overjoyed when I received my acceptance letter from Bank Street. However, with each new person I shared my good news with, that excitement was replaced with something else: reality. The first thing out of everyone’s mouth after “congratulations!” was, “So where are you going to live?” I lived in Maryland at the time of my acceptance and while the thought of moving to New York City had always been a dream of mine, I admittedly didn’t put that much thought into how I would actually make this relocation happen. With no family or friends in New York, I questioned my decision...for like two minutes. No one ever said chasing your dreams would be easy!

One of the first things I did was reach out to my advisor to ask for suggestions on neighborhoods I should consider. I felt the best option for me was to be in Manhattan, since that is where the school is located. During a trip to New York for my admissions interview, I used AirBNB and stayed in a great apartment in Harlem and knew this was the area I wanted to live in. I began to search on Craigslist and for apartments, which is difficult being out-of-state and not being able to check out apartments as soon as you would like. Another resource I used was the Bank Street Admitted Students Facebook page. There were several students in the group searching for roommates or listing apartments and rooms for rent. Additionally, Bank Street’s Graduate Admission website has a housing resources page that I found to be really helpful in terms of providing online housing list websites that I hadn’t heard of. After a month of actively searching, inquiring, and visiting apartments, I found a room in an apartment that met all of my requirements (via Craigslist). I happily signed my sublet agreement and breathed a sigh of relief.

My first room in NYC! 

Relocating to any city has its own set of challenges, but doing your research, knowing exactly what you want, and being prepared to act (sign the lease, pay deposit) as soon as you find the place, is important in the expensive and competitive NYC real estate market. Some questions to consider are:

  1. Do you want to live with a roommate? If so, what is your max? For me, I knew I had to have a roommate, but I didn’t want to live with more than one other person.

  2. What subway stations/buses are near me? How long is your commute from home to school? Not being very familiar with New York, I didn’t want a long or complicated ride home, especially after night classes.

  3. How safe is the neighborhood? Do you feel safe in the neighborhood?

  4. Can I afford it? One thing I would say is overestimate your budget. After being in my apartment for about a month, I realized how I didn’t factor in many costs into my budget, like laundry and transportation. Budget for EVERYTHING (rent, groceries, utilities, Uber rides, cell phone, toiletries, coffee runs, happy hours, gym, laundry, etc…) and then overplan.

New York City is arguably one of the greatest cities in the world and the journey to move here can be both thrilling and terrifying, much like making the decision to go back to school.

Have any tips or suggestions for how to move to NYC? Have any questions for me? Please feel free to share your responses below!
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