17 Reasons Not to Move to New York, New York (Voted by the locals!)

New York City skyline with urban skyscrapers at sunset, USA.

Some people may say that New York City is the greatest city in the world. It is where dreams come true, but it is also where dreams go to die, as optimistic 23-year-olds realize there are also other people who can write, act, sing and dance just as well as they. If you want to move to the big apple you need to be prepared for the reality of what this city has to offer.

New York City is fast-paced, expensive, dirty, ruthless, and crowded, full of homeless people, workaholics, extreme weather, crime, and more that maybe you haven’t considered before. Get ready to read all about why you shouldn’t move to New York City.

1. The lifestyle is busy and fast-paced

Something very important to know about New York is that the lifestyle is very different. It’s fast, busy, hectic, stressful, and loud and there isn’t a lot of time to relax or slow down. Taking a nice stroll on the streets will get you yelled at by people in a hurry, your job will demand a lot of time from you, and you probably won’t get a lot of alone time living with multiple roommates in order to afford rent. Many people say they thrive off of being busy, but if this isn’t you, then New York is not your city. If you get nervous being around lots of people, feel uncomfortable in tight spaces, or need more room to breathe, you may want to consider another city. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

2. Affordable apartments are hard to find.

Rent is crazy high in the big apple if you can even find an apartment to move into. Many people end up hiring a broker to find them the perfect place, which also costs a fortune. Most people who first move to the city live with roommates in order to split the cost, or they live outside of the city and commute to their jobs every day. Take your pick. Less space or less time. Many people cannot afford to live in their own apartments in the city with the average salary, so they end up having to live in low-income areas that are more susceptible to crime and danger. What you pay for a one-bedroom in any other city will maybe get you a closet in New York. You aren’t paying for the space, you are paying for the location. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

3. Anything and everything is expensive

It isn’t just rent that takes a toll on your bank account. Everything else you can think of or need is sometimes twice as much as normal. Since it costs so much to live in New York City, restaurants and food cost more as well. Everybody has to make ends meet, so you may end up paying $40 for a brunch out with friends depending on what part of town you’re in and how many mimosas you ordered. Going out to eat is more expensive whether it is drinking with friends after work, coffee on a Sunday morning, or a Friday night meal out on the town.

Even if you decide to save money by staying in and cooking yourself, groceries are overly expensive as well. It is a lose-lose situation. New York City is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Expect everything you pay for to be more expensive. Not just food, but shopping, household essentials, activities, and transportation. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Intersection of Broadway and Spring Street in SOHO Manhattan, New York City

4. Good luck with your transportation

If you own a car, say goodbye to it now. You probably won’t have anywhere to park or store it, and if you like going on drives to be by yourself, you will get stuck in traffic.

New York City is always full of traffic, so it takes longer to get places. If you don’t want to be running late every day, you need to leave your apartment and get a taxi early as possible. It may be better to walk or use the subway. However, the subway is overcrowded and dirty, late, or sometimes doesn’t even show up. Buses are also another way to get places but they take forever as well due to the traffic. The moral of the story is, that you need to be very patient. Especially since the city is full of long lines. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

5. The streets are crowded and every restaurant has long lines

New York City is the most populated city in America, with almost 9 billion people at the end of 2020. This causes the city to be very overcrowded. Expect the streets to be packed everywhere you go, including downtown and all the touristy spots. Everybody wants to visit New York City, and it’s not tourist season. You will get annoyed with them very quickly. With the citizens of New York City and all of the tourists, this is a perfect recipe for long lines, everywhere. Be prepared to wait in lines for every restaurant. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

6. It is one of the dirtiest cities in the world

New York is known to be one of the dirtiest cities in the world. It is nothing like the movies. They may make it seem all glamorous and fancy, but the streets are really filled with trash. Unless you’re up on fifth avenue trying to find all of the iconic gossip girl locations and taking pictures on the step of the met. The streets are filled with trash, rats, and filth. Of course, the city does its best to clean it up but with so many people in such a small space, it would be quite impossible to ever have the city fully cleaned up. (SourcesOpens in a new tab.)

7. New Yorkers are brutal

New York City is the definition of every man for themselves. The work environment can be very intense and harsh. It’s competitive and requires so many hours, but you still struggle to make ends meet. It’s hard to find friends that won’t disown you if you can’t afford to go out or live in a nice apartment. People can be very shallow and blunt. They don’t have time for your feelings, they have things to do. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

8. You will be working overtime, and it’s normal

This all may seem crazy to you now, but soon you will not even blink when you spend $40 on one meal and work late into the night. That is just the standard. Everybody here works long hours and you won’t succeed unless you do the same thing. How are you supposed to stand out to your boss when Becky was up all night working on the campaign proposal and you decided to go home at 6 and make yourself dinner, like a normal person. You won’t. You’ll never get a break from work. New Yorkers live to work. It is their pride and joy. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Alley in the Tribeca neighborhood in New York City.

9. The City just isn’t the same as it used to be

Ever since covid, the big Apple just isn’t the same as it used to be. New York City used to pride itself on being able to fit more people into smaller spaces but now it is an inconvenience for post-pandemic life. People are scared to go out and be exposed to so many people at one time. Many people have been leaving the city and moving to other cities or quiet suburbs, before and after the pandemic. Without people, businesses have been closing and haven’t been able to recover. The population is the lowest it’s ever been. New York City will never be the same, so change whatever expectations you previously had. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

10. Homeless

New York City is also the top city for homelessness, with almost 66,000 people without homes. This is due to how high the rent is, but New York City also houses the most homeless people in the country. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

11. High Crime Rate

Big cities are known to be dangerous with high amounts of crime and New York Cities’ crime rate has just gotten worse in the past few years. This is a major factor in why long-time residents are fleeing to the suburbs to raise their kids in a safe environment, now that almost everybody works remotely.

12. Nobody likes the mayor

New York City is very political, with not much of an even divide. It is common knowledge that the city leans more to the right, but they didn’t even like their 2014 democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio. Eric Adams was elected in 2021, but New York City will never be able to agree on anything when it comes to politics.

13. No backyard

This shouldn’t come as a surprise but as a reminder that you will not have a backyard! You will have no room to lay outside, no grass, no fresh air, and no sunlight with all the skyscrapers in the way. You can’t even hear the birds chirp in the mornings. You would be lucky to get a little deck, and it might have enough room to put a chair out there to sit in. For those of you who love to be in nature, New York City is not your style.

14. No pets

If you love your dog, for the sake of them, don’t move to New York City. They won’t have any backyard to run around in freely and it’s difficult to take them on long walks through all the crowded streets. If they need to go to the bathroom, you will need to walk them to the nearest park several times a day. It may not be daunting now, but you will soon grow tired of it. You and your dog would be happier in a smaller city or even the suburbs.

Old houses with stairs in the historic district of West Village, Manhattan, New York.

15. No kids

If you are thinking of living in New York City long-term and plan on having kids, think again. Raising kids in the city is a whole other experience and comes with lots of different territories (literally). Your kids will grow up mature, tough, and smart on the streets, but it will be a lot more stressful raising them on your end, making sure they turn out that way and can survive in the city walking home from school or hanging out with friends. Remember when I mentioned how expensive the city is? Raising kids is also expensive. Add those two together and you will be stressing to pay the bills. Raising a family in the suburbs is a lot safer and cheaper option.

16. The weather is either too hot or too cold

New York’s weather is extreme, with hot summers and cold winters. The summers are muggy and humid with temperatures ranging in the 80s or 90s. And since there is always trash in the streets, the smell is just amplified by the humidity. Summers in the city are often empty, as everyone escapes to the Hamptons or New Jersey.

On the other hand, the winters are brutal. if it’s not dumping snow, it’s overcast and gray skies. The humidity also makes the cold more intense, requiring multiple layers just to stay warm. Sure it’s fun to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center and take a carriage ride through central park, but once again these are tourist activities with long lines and high costs.

Yes, of course, New York City still has fall and spring. but they are very short-lived. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

17. Finally made 100k? Not with taxes

New York City is also heavily taxed. New York City taxes a city tax in addition to the state tax, about 3%. It just keeps getting worse. Since rent is so expensive, property taxes are high as well. New York ranked above average in all categories, besides vehicle taxes of course. It has the second-highest local and state tax and the sixth-highest income tax. Real Estate, they are 8th on the list, out of the 50 states. On average people pay over $3500 for real estate every year and the average family pays $11,000 on state and local taxes. Get ready for a huge chunk of your income to be put toward taxes. (Source)

Making the decision to move to New York City is a big deal. It should be highly thought out, and you have to think about every deciding factor.

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Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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