One week after graduating high school, I packed 1 suitcase and moved to New York City. I entered school in the fall at Pace University and my adventure continued to study abroad, 4 Manhattan apartments, and a full time position at NBC Universal.
So after so many years of living in Manhattan why did I move to Brooklyn? I realized that there were some definite set backs that made it very difficult to live the Manhattan lifestyle.
1. RENT. RENT. RENT.
The dreaded envelope that I would receive under my door on the first of every month. The letter stating, you have 4 days to give us more that 50% of your income that you've made this month to live in a closet space with either no windows, building issues, or no hot water (yes I've lived through all these situations). If you want to live in Manhattan, and your not a millionaire, prepare to give up more than half your income on rent.
2. No Space
As mentioned above; Manhattan, although very glamours, doesn't really provide a lot of space for those that are living with very limited dimes. My first apartment I could stretch my arms and touch the walls on each side. So, unless you have or are willing to drop the big bucks be prepared to live in a shoe box for a bit.
3. Bodega/cart Wars
I'll never forget my first experience ordering a Bagel at a little cart on the side walk my first week in New York. At the time I hadn't realized that Bagels were a carb or only eaten in extreme circumstances (after a night of drinks, happy hour, or during Sunday brunch). So my two months every morning, I would make my way to the bagel cart. About my 4th time going that week the man had already remembered my order BUT another woman behind me decided her time was a bit more valuable than mine. Let's just say I thought speaking my mind to the woman was the best solution, and let's just say I did not get a bagel that day.
Not only do people live in Manhattan, you also have to remember, there are commuters too! Shoving yourself on the train in the morning or in the evening is less than glamours. Be prepared to stand your ground and push your way through. If you must live in New York, definitely avoid Midtown and possibly FIDI (but on the weekends it's very quiet down there).
5. Overall Atmosphere
If you have to live in Manhattan, below are the districts that I have lived in.
- Roosevelt Island>A tiny island between Manhattan and Queens this district is quiet, calm and collective. However, you only rely on the tram or the F line to get you there.
- Lower East Side>Great place to live if you are young, single, and ready to have fun. BUT this was the apartment that I could touch the walls with both arms. I lived in a lofted bed, and shared a bathroom with 2 men in their 30s.
- South Street Seaport>My favorite place I lived. Space, little restaurants, shopping, and the water front. However, since Hurricane Sandy (I lived there when the hurricane struck) the renovations and construction done on the buildings and apartments has drastically increased $rent$.
- Financial District>Lived here out of pure convenience (same area as Pace University). Quiet on the weekends but during the week be prepared to see Wall Streeters, tourists, and school children.
Now don't get discouraged just from my experience. If I lived in Brooklyn first I would have always wondered what it was like to live in Manhattan. However after living in New York for 5 years I decided that the city wasn't right for me. Being originally from Boston I wanted a mix of both city and space. Brooklyn is where I found my happy medium.
Where Do I live in Brooklyn?
Currently my boyfriend and I live in Kensington Heights. Although not the ideal neighborhood we pay about 35% of our monthly income on rent, and have a spacious 1 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, living room, and little dining room area. We rely on the F line off of 18th avenue and it takes us 30-40 minutes to get into the city. On the weekends we usually go out in Brooklyn or lower Manhattan (luckily most of our friends live around those areas), and we take a cab back if it's a late night.
So what do you think? Manhattan or Brooklyn? Where would you live?