Moving to New York City is a wild ride. In some ways you can know what to expect, but truth be told it'll all still be quite the surprise and shock when you settle in. Here are so things I experienced moving here and some tips of what to expect:
1. The commute is REAL.
Decide where to live - Manhattan/ Brooklyn / Queens / Bronx Manhattan will be more expensive and less space but your commute will probably be 30 min or less. Living the outer boroughs will be cheaper (still expensive though, don't get me wrong) and have more space, but also your commute will likely be 1-2 hours. Keep that in mind.
2. The city moves FAST.
I know we've all heard this, but wow does it still really hit you the first day you're living here. It will take a few days to adjust to the place, but for the beginning just try to stay to the side and out of anyone's way.
3. The city is loud AF
Also another thing you've heard, but a whole new ball game experiencing it. The good news? You WILL get used to it. I remember being so in shock by the sound, the sirens and honks at the beginning but now I will be on the phone with my parents and they will say 'oh haha there's the New York sirens" and I'll realize I didn't even hear the siren.
4. Everything looks the SAME.
As in, when walking anywhere all the streets and street corners look the same and you will definitely find yourself going the wrong direction for a little. Accept that this is normal and constantly make sure you are headed the right way by looking to see if the street numbers are going up or down and landmarks. A tip that really helped me was using the compass feature of the maps app. If I knew I needed to head to 14th st and I'm on 20th, I would locate myself on the map, enable the compass and then point around me until it was pointed towards the direction I needed to go on the map. I'm telling you guys, this SAVED ME countless times.
5. Make sure to check to subway signs for 'Downtown and Brooklyn' vs 'Uptown and the Bronx'
Usually this is the only REAL direction you are given with the subway so it's important you envision where exactly you are going in the city, uptown or downtown before you swipe that metro card. Another confusing thing- bigger subway stations will have you swipe at one place and then go towards uptown or downtown once inside.
Smaller stations will usually have uptown and downtown stations separately and you'll have to cross the street to get to the other one. So don't just see the station and swipe your card before realizing you need to leave and go across the street to get to the right station. Of course if you do do it, it's fine because literally everyone has done the same thing.