Everyone would like to live in New York City at least once in their life. If you’re getting that opportunity to move here, we are so very happy for you! But let’s be honest — you are likely feeling stressed and overwhelmed about moving somewhere you’re not familiar with.
This guide will help you learn more about the city you will soon be calling home. We will go over everything from the weather, job opportunities, education, to the things you should do once you move to the Big Apple. Let’s get started!
New York City Location
New York is located between two Canadian provinces — Quebec and Ontario — and Lake Ontario situated to the northwest, and the Atlantic coast to the southeast. The state borders on Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
New York spans 54,556 sq miles. To put it into perspective, that’s slightly larger than Greece and would fit into Texas five times. New York City is a major port in the United States, located on the entrance of the Hudson River. It is a significant trade, art, culture, and financial hub of the world. This city alone contributes to 2/5th of the whole state’s population. It’s segmented into five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
Weather in New York City
In New York City, summers are warm and humid, while winters are very cold and snowy. The spring season brings blossoming flowers and light wind, and the fall season brings out the layers with its chilly and crisp weather.
The warmest season of the city lasts for 3.5 months, from June to mid-September, with July being the hottest month. The average daily temperature during this season is above 76°F. The cold season lasts for 3.3 months, from December to early March, with January being the coldest. You can expect the average daily temperature during this period to be below 48°F.
The city is generally partly cloudy throughout the year. The clear part of the season starts in late June and ends around November 12. Expect rainfall throughout the year in New York City.
When it comes to snow, most snowfall occurs between late November and early April.
Summer months are easy to be prepared for, but if you’re coming from a sunnier state like Texas or California, we suggest packing up winter jackets, plenty of layers, and rain boots to stay warm and cozy here all year long.
New York City History
The first Natives in New York were members of the Algonquin tribe that settled between Delaware and Hudson River. At the turn of the 16th century, Europeans began to explore the region, with Giovanni da Verrazzano among the first. In 1624, nearly 30 families were sent to New Amsterdam (Governors Island). In 1626, Peter Minuit, the settlement’s governor, purchased Manhattan Island.
In 1665, the British colonized New Amsterdam from the Dutch and gave it a new name — New York City. About 300 people lived here before moving to Manhattan. By 1726, this population grew to 18,000, expanding with indentured servants, African slaves, and immigrants from France, Germany, England, and the Netherlands.
Today, over 8 million people reside in the city’s five boroughs — more than ⅓ of its population was born outside the United States. Its incredible diversity is the reason why it remains the cultural capital of the nation. This city is a perfect example of how people from different religions and countries can live alongside each other in peace.
Who Lives in New York City
New York City is the largest city in New York and the United States, with 8,230,290 people. Nearly 800 languages are spoken throughout this city, making it the most linguistically diverse place globally.
The racial composition of New York City is as follows:
- White – 42.73%
- Black or African American – 24.31%
- Asian – 14.09%
- Native American – 0.43%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander – 0.06%
- Other races – 14.75%
- Two or more races – 3.63%
The median age of New York City residents is 36.7. You will find people from all walks of life in this city. From families, single folks, to young professionals, this space is jam-packed with many goals, dreams, and ambitions.
Best Annual Events in New York City
There’s always something going on in the city. Here are the best 7 Annual events to keep an eye out for:
- Tribeca Film Festival: Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal to help lower Manhattan recover from 9/11, this festival has now screened more than 1,400 documentaries, shorts, and independent films from over 80 countries.
- Museum Mile Festival: For a single day in June, 8 to 10 museums located along the 30-block stretch of Fifth Avenue open their doors to the public with free admissions. The participating institutions include the Africa Center, El Museo del Barrio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie, and the Museum of the City of New York. Along with exploring the fine arts indoors, there are also numerous outdoor festivities like face painting, live music, street performers, chalk drawings, and more.
- Central Park SummerStage: This event is held across 17 parks through all five boroughs. It hosts 100 free shows that include everything from spoken word poetry, international music, American music, modern dance, and family-friendly concerts. We recommend getting to the site early since the space is limited and attendees start lining up over an hour in advance. Its leading site is Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield.
- New York Chocolate Show: Every November, pastry chefs and chocolatiers from around the world come together in a 13,000 square-foot space where the attendees can watch them make cakes, pastries, and even chocolate sculptures. There are also workshops for children available where they can make candy jewelry and decorate chef hats.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade: This event is one of NYC’s major attractions. Since 1924, this parade has gotten bigger every year with more performances and larger floats. Over 3 million people convene between 77th Street and Central Park West and the Macy’s store at Herald Square to watch marching bands, parade floats, dancers, cheerleaders, and over 1,000 clowns perform.
- Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting: In December, New Yorkers huddle around the giant Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center to watch it lit up with more than 25,000 lights. It stays lit till the week after New Year’s Day.
- Time Square New Year’s Eve: On December 31st, over 1 million come together to ring in the New Year at Time Square. They watch the crystal ball drop down the One Times Square tower, and there are performances, fireworks, and lots of confetti right at midnight.
Jobs in New York City
With more than 1 million companies and 65 Fortune 500 enterprises (second-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies outside of Tokyo), the Big Apple has an abundance of job opportunities.
The fastest-growing jobs in NYC are Registered Nurse, Software developer, account manager, accountant, sales rep, executive assistant, marketing assistant, data analyst, financial analyst, and business analyst.
Some of the biggest employers in the Big Apple include JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, ABM Industries, Pfizer, Carl Icahn, Philip Morris International, Omnicom Group, PwC, Alcoa, Marsh & McLennan, MetLife, NBCUniversal, American Express, AIG, Interpublic Group, The Estee Lauder Companies, Deloitte, Arconic, Mount Sinai Hospital, and L3 Technologies.
Education in New York City
The New York state public school system has nearly 3 million students enrolled. It also has nine specialized high schools for gifted students.
Most New York City public schools are very diverse and have students from all cultural backgrounds. There are many private schools in the city, but they have a strict application process, and the waiting list can be long. Also, note that the private schools in New York can be pretty expensive.
When it comes to higher education, there are over 120 institutions available with more than 600,000 students. Some of the top private universities in NYC include Columbia University, Cooper Union, Fordham University, New York University, New York Institute of Technology, Rockefeller University, and Yeshiva University.
Getting Around in New York City
New York City’s strong public transit meets the pace of the busy New Yorkers just right. There are multiple ways to go wherever you need to in New York.
- MTA — Subways and Buses: MTA New York City Transit is NYC’s train and bus system which is an inexpensive way to get around throughout the five boroughs. You need to purchase a MetroCard to use the subway and buses. You can start with just the minimum of $5.50 and refill the card as you go along. The MTA subway has 25 routes covering 665 miles of track, and while it’s susceptible to delays and breakdowns, the trains are still the most preferred way for the New Yorkers to get around.
When it comes to buses, there are about 6,000 of them operating in the city. They run on a grid system and cover uptown, downtown, and crosstown with stops at every, or every other, corner.
- Boat: New York’s ferry system is an underrated transportation method. The ferries connect communities spread across the water bodies, such as the Bronx, South Brooklyn, East River, the Rockaways, Western Queens, seasonal trips between Manhattan and Staten Island, Governors Island, and Coney Island.
NY Waterway connects Manhattan and New Jersey, too, with stops at midtown, Battery Park, and Wall Street, then crossing over the Hudson River to stop at Jersey City, Weehawken, Hoboken, and Edgewater.
- Taxi: The yellow taxicabs in NYC are iconic. These taxis are metered, and the fares start at $2.50, plus 50 cents per mile during slow traffic. Prices can increase based on where you’re traveling and tips. These taxis can take you anywhere within the city limits. To hail a cab, look for one with its rooftop lights on (lights off means that the cab is occupied or off duty) raise your arm.
- Rideshare: Uber and Lyft are very popular in this city, and you will always find drivers available quickly. Another ride-sharing company that operates here is called Via. Its prices are lower than its competitors.
- Walking: Traversing through the city on foot is the best way to explore the boroughs and neighborhoods. If you have time, pick an area and wander through all its avenues. But make sure to stay mindful of your surroundings. Do not look at a map to find directions, as it can make you seem like a tourist and attract scammers. Instead, use Google maps on your phone for directions. Also, be wary of walking through shady neighborhoods alone at night.
New York City Cuisine
Along with the central park, Statue of Liberty, and many iconic landmarks, another thing that forms a quintessential ingredient of New York is its food. It’s a cultural melting pot, and you can taste your way across the world right with the diverse restaurants confined within the city limits. Here are some classic NY culinary mainstays to try:
- NY Style Pizza: New York is known for its unique style of pizza — a hand-tossed thin crust outer layer with a thin crust under the toppings. The triangles are created to be folded in half.
- Bagel: Bagels are a staple of NYC. They were introduced to the city by Ashkenazi Jews from Poland. A freshly based NY-style bagel with a shiny exterior and deliciously chewy inside is unlike any you have tried before.
- Hot dog: A NY hotdog with mustard, tangy sauerkraut, and onions is a must-have in this city. You can get one from a hot dog stand pretty much at every street corner.
- Manhattan Clam Chowder: The Manhattan clam chowder is tomato-based, different from Boston’s cream-based chowder. This soup is seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt, thyme, and parsley.
- New York-style cheesecake: While traditionally cheesecakes rely on cream cheese and eggs, the NY-style cheesecake uses heavy cream or sour cream, which gives it a much more dense and creamy consistency.
- Gnocchi: Gnocchi is the favorite type of pasta for New Yorkers. There are traditional and modern versions available throughout the city. You can find them served with butternut squash, fresh sage, crunchy hazelnut, mushrooms, and Fresno chilies.
- Ramen: On a cold rainy day, there’s nothing more than a Bowl of hot Ramen, with toppings like pork belly, dried seaweed, and soft-boiled eggs. You will find so many types of Ramen throughout the city, some made from chicken broth and even fish-based broth.
Top Festivals in New York City
NYC festivals are a talk of the world, attracting millions of people from across the globe. Here are 12 festivals that you should try to attend:
- January – Three Kings Day Parade: This is an annual NYC parade that celebrates the Latino community in East Harlem while also commemorating the Feast of the Epiphany. The Three Kings Day Parade has been an NYC tradition for nearly three decades. Expect to see puppets, camels, and sheep in the event.
- February – Lunar New Year Parade & Festival: This event is held across Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing, Queens, Sunset Park, and Brooklyn. The Dazzling Dragon puppet wades through the streets, accompanied by floats, marching bands, magicians, musicians, acrobats, and more performers.
- March – St. Patrick’s Day Parade: This event is the city’s oldest and largest parade. It celebrates Irish culture and the Catholic faith. The parade starts at 11 am, and it’s led by “Fighting 69th” — a group of National Guard members from the 69th Infantry Regiment.
- April – New York International Auto Show: if you love cars, stop by this show in April. This is one of the oldest auto shows in North America that showcases some of the hottest, unreleased cars.
- May – Bronx Week: Since the 1970s, the New Yorkers have come together to celebrate one of the most iconic boroughs in NYC — the Bronx. There’s live music, parades, festivals, and new inductions to the Bronx Walk of Fame.
- June – Pride Week: NYC has the most vibrant LGBTQ communities in the nation, and it celebrates its strength and diversity during Pride. All five boroughs participate in events throughout the month, with the most significant events held towards June end.
- July – Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks: On Independence Day, you will find a stunning display of fireworks accompanied by musicals. These are viewable from multiple waterfront locations throughout the city.
- August – Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: This event is held in Tompkins Square Park, a street away from the block that Charlie Parker, a notable jazz saxophonist, called home. Some performances are held in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park as well.
- September – Feast of San Gennaro: This event in Manhattan’s Little Italy commemorates the patron saint of Naples with 11 days of Parade. The streets are adorned with dazzling lights and banners, entertainment, cannoli eating contests, and lots of delicious Italian food.
- October – Archtober: This event is perfect for those who love the world of architecture, design, and construction. During October, NYC’s design community at institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park Conservancy, and the Guggenheim opens its doors to the general public, offering tours, lectures, and the history of important buildings.
- November – Radio City Christmas Spectacular: NY’s lost iconic holiday production running since 1933. Some of the crowd favorites of this event every year include the Parade of the Wooden Soldier and The Living Nativity. There are also fireworks, animated projections, and falling snowflakes as special effects.
- December – George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker: A 50-year running event held by New York City Ballet, The Nutcracker is a hallmark of the holiday season. The on-stage set is magical, with Sugarplum Fairy, toy soldiers and the Mouse King, and of course the classic music of Tchaikovsky.
10 Things to Do in New York
NY is so big that you can spend your whole life here and there still will be more to see.
- Central Park: From famous sitcoms to movies, the iconic park has graced the backdrop of many productions. Situated adjacent to 59th Street, it’s 693 acres of man-made forest, gardens, lakes, and rolling hillsides. It takes 58 miles of walking to cover the entire pathways of Central Park. You will see fountains, sculptures, water bodies, bridges, tunnels, and monuments on your stroll. There are also 21 playgrounds, a zoo, an ice skating rink, and a castle! During the fall, the park becomes even more colorful, with the leaves changing colors.
- Visit the artisanal food market at Smorgasburg Williamsburg: Smorgasburg has an artisanal food market with over 100 local vendors serving delicious food. This event brings in thousands of people each weekend, from April through October. Although the admission is free, expect to pay as you make your way from stall to stall, discovering new chefs and restaurants along the way.
- Grand Central Terminal: This is more than just a train station. The Grand Central Terminal is a glimpse inside the old New York when traveling on trains symbolized luxury for the wealthy and a necessary means for the working class to get to their jobs. Take some time exploring the architecture and the marble floors. It also has fantastic dining and shopping spots inside.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met is the cultural hub of NYC, thanks to its unique and modern exhibits and expansive collection. The museum is iconic in its entirety, with its Gothic revival architecture and classic tiered stairs. If you go to the Met, don’t forget to explore the Temple of Dendur — a 2,000-year-old Egyptian temple that’s the only complete one in the Western Hemisphere.
- Union Square Greenmarket: Union Square is an initiative by GrowNYC where you can get your fresh food and veggies. You will find vendors here from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, and the Berkshires selling freshly cut flowers, artisan bread, honey, pastries, and so much more. There are also events like book signing and cooking demos that you don’t want to miss.
- Rockefeller Center: Rockefeller Center is the star of Midtown Manhattan. You can catch a TODAY show segment right outside the plaza, go ice skating at the rink, see the Christmas tree, or buy a ticket to the Top of the Rock, from where you can see the entire cityscape (with a great view of the Empire State Building). The views from the observation deck are even more spectacular at night when the lights sparkle bright, and you can soak in the animation of the city.
- American Museum of Natural History: This is the world’s largest natural history museum. It spans four blocks across Central Park and contains artifacts and exhibits from all facets of natural history. There are taxidermy mammals, detailed exhibitions portraying the life of Native Americans, and a whole hall exclusively dedicated to marine life. For all the archeology and paleontology buffs out there, this museum has an entire floor devoted to dinosaurs and mummies.
- Bronx Zoo: If you have kids, take them on a trip to the Bronx Zoo. It has over 700 different species of animals spread over 264 acres of parkland that mimics its natural habitat. There’s the Giraffe building, Congo gorilla forest, sea bird aviary, house of reptiles, and sea lions to see.
- Governors Island: This 172-acre island is located in the heart of NY harbor. It used to be closed to the public for 20 years and operated exclusively as a military base. Anyone can visit the island now, and it has parks, monuments, and plenty of exhibitions for families to explore during summer and fall. There are also music festivals, art exhibits, dance performances, and other festivities that will give you a break from the congested city life. To get to the island, all you need is a round-trip ferry ticket which you can get for free with a valid state license.
- The Strand Bookstore: If you love books, The Strand is a must-visit. This 94-year-old independent globally renowned bookstore holds over 2.5 million titles. If you go in looking for a book, we recommend asking an employee for quick service, or you could easily spend hours trying to find the title. The staff is also good at giving book recommendations. Once inside, don’t expect to come out empty-handed.
Tips for Moving to New York
- Bring a heavy coat: Winters here can get brutal, both in terms of wind and cold. There’s also a few feet of snow and a couple of ice storms and blizzards that visit the city annually. You also want to bring rain boots and snow boots because you will find yourself using them both throughout the year.
- Please don’t block the traffic when walking: New Yorkers hustle hard to survive in their busy and expensive city. Walking slowly or suddenly stopping in the middle of the path can annoy the rest of the walkers. If you want to browse the city at your own pace or are walking with a friend, move to the right, so you aren’t hindering the pace of others.
- Know your budget: New York City is expensive. If you don’t come with a plan and hard limits, money can disappear fast here. If you have a tighter budget for rent, consider finding a place in December or January since rent is cheaper around these months. Also, consider all your expenses like gym and transportation membership, grocery, Netflix, etc., when making a budget.
- Know your priorities: Determining your priorities is essential to figure out where you will stay. For example, if convenience is a priority, you should consider looking for a place with a short commute to the bus station and grocery store and maybe with an in-unit washer and dryer. If your priority is space, then look for a bigger apartment.
- Learn the public transit system: The Subway runs 27 lines. If not careful, you can easily get lost the first few times. Before catching a train, enter your address to the Google Map and find the nearest subway stop. Then start to map the routes to the spots you will be traveling the most, like your office, restaurant, gym, etc. Once you know how the subway works, you will be more confident about getting places instead of fighting anxiety about how to reach your next destination.
- Explore the boroughs: Instead of going to different neighborhoods for different things, pick one and explore it thoroughly. There’s so much diversity in every community; it can take days to get to know just one location. Don’t just limit your NYC experience to Manhattan, which primarily represents the commercial side of NY. But there’s so much culture and character also available in the other boroughs.
- Know the grid system: This is especially relevant to you if you want to live in Manhattan, NY’s epicenter. The Grid system has streets and avenues — they run, not parallel but perpendicular to each other. “East” and “West” routes are known as streets, with numbers ascending as you move from South to North (also known as uptown). The Southernmost street is East 1st Street, and the Northernmost street is 220th street.
The North and South routes are called Avenues, with numbers ascending from East to West. The Fifth Avenue separates the east and west sides of the boroughs, and then street numbers increase as you move away from the Fifth.
There are many more rules to the Grid system, which you will learn as you start living here. Keep the Google map handy for your first few weeks.
We hope this guide makes your transition to New York City smoother. We understand moving to a busy city like NYC can be tough. Just navigating the traffic alone with all your belongings in a moving truck can be an anxiety-ridden journey.
The Stark Team has relocated many families and businesses all over NYC. Our team is very familiar with the breadth of the city and get you moving fast. If you need help with relocation, don’t hesitate to contact us for professional packing, loading, and transportation assistance.