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Pleasantville to Gotham: Novelties to Consider When Moving into the City

MyApartmentMap - Jun 28, 2011

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Moving from the suburbs into a city is a big change.  It‘s possible to feel lost when making the big move, however if you go in with an idea of what to expect the culture shock won’t be as dramatic. There are a couple of things that you should consider before moving into the city including transportation, costs, safety, noise, shopping, and apartment size.  The benefits of moving into a city are immense with the amount of culture and the increase in your social life that come with the big move, however you need to make sure you’re ready to deal with the city culture before moving. Although all cities are different, we’ve compiled some “perks” to be aware of when moving into a city, including a few tips to help you out.

Efficient apartments

Apartments in the city are great because you literally have everything at your fingertips, which is good since the size of the apartment will make you want to spend as little time as possible in the new place. Apartments in cities are small, because at the end of the day you’re paying for “location, location, location”. Sometimes, you’re even lucky enough to get a 1 bedroom turned into 2 bedrooms sans the living room. Or better yet, a bedroom that you have to walk through to get into another bedroom, the proper term for this is “railroad style apartment”. Can you say, lack of privacy? So, don’t be surprised if on your apartment search you run into some of these.

Since rent is so high, and apartments are economical, living a simplistic lifestyle is ideal. The ability to maximize space may be one of the best characteristics to have in the city. Tupperware, space bags, stacking and bed lifts will be your new best friend. Closet space and cabinet space are hard to come by, so the more storage units you can find the better. Or maybe it’s time to donate and sell off some of the clothes you don’t wear, or furniture that won’t fit- let’s be serious you could definitely use the money when moving into a new city.

Cost

It’s not a surprise that moving into the city will increase the cost of rent. The increase has the potential to be substantial, but it’s important that you’re not being scammed. Every day we compile a list of rental data that shows how much you should be spending in your area. Check it out and make sure that the price you are about to pay really isn’t as outrageous as it seems. And, don’t be surprised if some apartments have hidden fees that you were not aware of, such as broker fee, first month and last month rent. Rental costs may not be the only increase that you will see in your bills. Grocery shopping in the city can be a lot more expensive, too. Just beware and try to shop around for the best price, for instance $3.00 for a 2 liter soda can be avoided if you plan ahead.

Safety

The city can be a dangerous place to live, however if you take a few precautions it can save you lots of problems. Granted, some areas are safer than others, but it’s possible to remain safe even in the toughest of neighborhoods.  Here’s a list of things I used to do to make sure I was safe, it may be a little over the top but (knock on wood) nothing ever happened to me:

1.) Buy pepper spray, when walking late at night I would keep the cap off and in your hand (spray out- you don’t want any mishaps). This is a good way to calm your nerves if anything suspicious comes about.

2.) Take a cab late night, especially if you’re by yourself. Personally, I wouldn’t take public transportation past 10:30, something about being underground made me nervous. A lot of people disagreed, but personally I walked everywhere any ways, so if it was past 10:30 I would walk home.

3.) Unless you have iron bars on your windows, I would refrain from leaving the window open, especially if you have a fire escape window. You never know when Spiderman might be scaling up the side of your building.

4.) Acting like you’ve had one too many drinks when walking home, or on public transportation isn’t as cool as it was in college. You don’t want to show that you’re vulnerable in any way. 5.) Act like you know what you’re doing, and where you’re going at all times, especially when you don’t. Again, looking like you’re vulnerable puts a bulls eye on you.

5.) Hold onto your zipped up purse/wallet and never under any circumstance take it off your body. I would even go the extra step and hold the bottom of it or the strap; you never know when someone will cut the bottom, true story.

6.) If you’re taking a cab, try to take it with another person, or get on your phone and start chatting with someone.

Noise

One of the biggest adjustments that come with moving into the city is the noise factor. Unless you’re used to falling asleep to loud noises such as ambulances, drunken people screaming, and horns, you may be in culture shock. The up side to this is after you live in a city you can sleep through almost anything- literally anything. There are two tips that I give to people that are moving into the city:

1.) buy ear plugs.

2.) learn how to meditate and cancel out the noise. If you figure out a way to relax your brain, you will eventually learn how to sleep through the endless noise. I’ve even heard that some people just throw on a fan, which works too.

Unexpected Pets

These unexpected pets that I speak of are little critters that include cock roaches, roaches (there is a difference), and mice. Even if you have a clean apartment, in some cities such as NYC, it is inevitable since the buildings are so old. The lack of up keep from the landlords turns into having to share your rental space with unwanted house guests. A couple of tips for keeping these unexpected pets to a minimum:

 1.) Always clean, daily if not twice a day.

 2.) Have the landlord plug up holes of any kind with steel wool, or any other sturdy object.

 3.) Try to dry up water in the kitchen and bathroom.

 4.) Mouse traps are your best friends, buy them, use them. The type I find most useful  are the pieces of cardboard that are sticky all around the cardboard and you fold into  a rectangle with a hole for your friend to climb into.

 5.) Ask the landlord to bring in an exterminator.

Adventures of shopping

Shopping in a city can be a bit of an escapade. Unlike living in the suburbs, in most cities having a car is a luxury. So, the art of shopping is a bit different than what you’re used to.  The idea of jumping into a car, going to the store, packing up your car with all of the items you bought, driving home and unloading are long gone. Now, when you go shopping, the weather and public transportation play a major factor in your journey. Further, making big shopping trips is usually not a good idea in the city, and should only happen from time to time. However, in the recent years, store owners have realized how much of a hassle it is for city dwellers to shop, and have started to offer delivery service to their customers with a small fee. This has relieved a lot of problems for the urbanites. However, “fun” shopping usually is much better, since you have much more of a variety, and in some cases better quality products. Take Chevy Chase in Washington D.C. for instance, some of the best shopping is around there with a strip filled with designer after designer.

One more think, there are no Wal-Mart’s or Target’s in the middle of the city, rent is too high. We’ve provided two avenues for enjoying your shopping adventure:

1.) Borrow a car and venture outside of the city to buy it.

2.) Go to a specialty store to buy it, which normally has an outrageous mark up. Although, the mark up is a little more than you would want the quality is usually better, when I lived in the city I would go with choice 2, time is money, too!

Transportation

The joy of transportation in the city is really efficient, when the infrastructure is well developed. For instance, in places like Denver and San Francisco the infrastructure is very strong and is only getting better every day. It is possible even with the best infrastructure that going from point A to point B may take more time, and may seem inconvenient at first, the benefits outweigh the negative aspects. For instance, while on public transportation it is possible to read on the way into work/school, and back from work/school with minimal distractions, in some cases, without interruptions from your phone such as emails and text messages. I don’t know about you, but to have a half hour of silence from my phone is a novelty on its own.

If public transportation is not for you, there is always the option of walking to your destination. A mile walk is not bad, especially on a nice day, it takes about 15-20 minutes and is good for your health, too. In some instances, walking is much faster than public transportation. And isn’t that one of the joys of living in a city is the ability to walk everywhere?