New York City is famous for its fast-paced lifestyle, dazzling sights and sounds, and endless opportunities. With over 8 million residents squeezed into 302 square miles, New York can seem overwhelming to newcomers. However, it’s entirely possible to carve out your own lifestyle in the Big Apple if you strategize and make choices that align with your priorities. Here’s how to create a lifestyle feature tailored just for you in New York City.
Evaluate Your Needs and Interests
First, reflect on the lifestyle components most important to you. Making a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves will help guide major decisions like where to live and work. Think about these factors:
Career interests – Finance? Fashion? Media? New York has it all. Focus your job search on your desired field.
Housing preferences – Do you require lots of space or are willing to downsize for better location? Decide your priorities for neighborhood, amenities, commute, and budget.
Social life desires – New York offers endless options for entertainment, cultures, meeting new people, and more. What types of scenes and activities interest you most?
Health/wellness goals – The endless concrete jungle can take its toll. Consider how often you want access to nature, fitness facilities, healthy food options, and ways to decompress.
Once you analyze these components, you can start mapping out a lifestyle plan tailored for your NYC dream.
Choose Where to Live
New York City encompasses 5 boroughs, each with its own vibe and landscape. When choosing where to live, consider things like:
This borough offers ceaseless activity and entertainment in a compact area with excellent public transportation. But it’s also the most expensive borough for housing. Best for people who can afford higher rents and want to immerse themselves in NYC’s iconic fast pace.
Brooklyn features more affordable housing options while still retaining NYC excitement. It has a vibrant art and foodie scene with lots of young professionals. The commutes can be long, so best for people willing to travel for lower-cost living.
The most ethnically diverse NYC borough. Housing prices are reasonable, especially further from Manhattan. Queens is great for authentic global cuisines. Best for people who value multicultural communities over nightlife. Commutes vary based on your Manhattan destination.
Up-and-coming neighborhood with quaint residential communities plus cultural attractions like the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. Housing is very affordable but commutes to Manhattan are longer. Great for nature-lovers wanting cheaper costs.
Quiet “suburban” borough with houses, yards, and green space contrasting the dense high-rises of other boroughs. Affordable rents but lengthy transit times. Best for families and people valuing tranquility over convenience.
Within each borough, research specific neighborhoods that seem to align with your must-haves. Times Square feels vastly different from the Upper West Side, for example, so choose carefully based on your interests and budget.
Land a Fulfilling Job
The job market in New York City is intense but presents opportunities across countless industries, from finance and real estate to arts, fashion, tech, healthcare and beyond. With so many options and people vying for every position, the job hunt can be frustrating. Use these strategies to land a fulfilling NYC job:
Determine your must-haves – Income needs? Prestige? Stability? Creativity? Identify your priorities, then narrow your search to well-matched positions.
Leverage your connections – Over half of new jobs come from personal referrals. Reach out to people in your desired field for informational interviews, leads, and recommendations.
Broaden your credentials – Consider supplemental training like certificates or workshops to make you more marketable, especially for competitive industries.
Persist despite rejection – The NYC job search is filled with nos before the right yes. Stay determined through the ups and downs.
Watch for “foot in the door” openings – Entry-level or administrative roles can provide experience needed to advance to your true target position.
The key is pinpointing companies and openings well-aligned with your skills, interests and career aspirations. The right NYC job match will help customize a lifestyle that genuinely energizes you.
Design a Healthy Routine
Between work demands, social events, and the 24/7 hustle of New York City, it’s easy to burn out without a balanced routine. Protect your mental and physical health in a city where grinding seems glorified by making self-care a priority in your customized lifestyle.
Incorporate Natural Spaces
Central Park offers a welcome oasis from urban chaos. Take advantage by going for jogs, reading on the lawn, or doing yoga by the water. Can’t make it to Manhattan greenspaces? Search for botanical gardens, trails, and parks in your borough for some fresh air.
Maintain Physical Activity
The skyscrapers, crowded sidewalks, and crammed subways discourage active movement, but exercise is crucial when living in cramped quarters. Look for boutique fitness studios or local gyms so you can maintain workout routines. Explore your neighborhood on foot/bike and stand while riding public transit.
Designate Off-Duty Hours
With endless entertainment options and FOMO, New Yorkers often overbook themselves. All that hustle warrants downtime. Determine blocks for meal prep, household chores, self-care activities, and just relaxation without work or social obligations. Honor those off-duty chunks to avoid burnout.
Indulge Your Interests
Immerse yourself in NYC’s cultural attractions aligned with your hobbies – concerts, museums, classes, festivals, and more. When you make time for enjoyable pursuits, the stresses of New York living feel less intense.
Embrace the Sociable Scene
Forging community is crucial when adjusting to new territory. The good news? New York overflows with social scenes if you know where to look.
Explore Activity Groups
Sites like Meetup offer groups for any interest – book lovers, entrepreneurs, photographers, runners, and more who coordinate outings. Browsing upcoming events is an easy way to find your niche.
Chat up Neighbors
Don’t let NYC anonymity isolate you. Introduce yourself to apartment building residents or chat with frequent faces at your coffee shop. Neighbors can evolve into gym buddies, restaurant reviewers, concert companions, and more.
Connect via Apps
Platforms like BumbleBFF help you swipe to find friends or dates with similar personalities, orientations, life stages, and goals. Virtual communication can lead to in-person camaraderie.
Talk to Anyone & Everyone
Cabs, coffee shops, bars, and bodegas all offer opportunities for friendly banter with strangers that could blossom into lasting connections. New Yorkers have walls up but are happier than the stereotypes suggest!
Make It Yours
Curating an intentional lifestyle in New York City requires crunching numbers, assessing options, setting priorities, and committing to self-care. But the hustle pays off through people you meet, new skills you learn, and adventures you experience. Tuning out the noise and distilling the essence of what makes you tick is achievable with strategic choices. Before you know it, you’ll be cruising through NYC streets thinking, “I’ve got this.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Creating Your Own Lifestyle in NYC
How expensive is it really to live in New York City?
It’s true that NYC has a very high cost of living, especially for housing. However, there are still ways to cut costs through strategic budgeting, roommate shares, commuting from outer boroughs, limiting eating out, and taking advantage of free activities. Salaries also tend to run higher here.
Is New York City safe?
Like all major cities, NYC has some areas that are safer than others. Overall crime rates have dropped dramatically since the 90s. Using good judgment, especially at night, can go a long way towards staying secure.
Will I need a car in New York City?
Likely not, especially if you live and work in Manhattan. NYC has an extensive public transportation system of subways, buses, and trains that can connect you pretty efficiently to most destinations. Other options are taxis, rideshares, biking, or walking.
How do I meet people and make friends in a huge city like NYC?
Pursue your hobbies by joining Meetups or clubs. Chat up familiar faces at neighborhood haunts. Use apps to connect with like-minded people. An effort to socialize can build community and make a potentially isolating city feel friendlier.
What are the best ways to find an apartment in New York?
Online rental listings, brokers, walking different neighborhoods you admire. Check commute times to work locations and factor that into your search. Visit apartments in-person before signing any lease to avoid rental scams.
What are fun, affordable things to do in New York City?
There are tons of free activities like public festivals, outdoor movies, museum pay-what-you-wish nights, visiting different neighborhoods, walking across iconic bridges, people watching in Central Park. Be sure to also check out the countless cheap eats across NYC’s boroughs – you can eat very well here without breaking the bank!
How can I stay healthy and fit while living in a dense urban area?
Walk as much as possible around this highly walkable city. Join a gym or fitness studio – ClassPass provides good deals. Designate time for meal prepping to avoid constant takeout. Utilize public parks and gardens for running, yoga classes, simply getting some fresh air. Maintain self-care routines to manage stress.