Moving to NYC: Tales from Three Librarians

Stressful as it might be for locals to find and move to new digs in New York City, moving to the Big Apple from another region brings its own particular level of stress. We talked to three librarians who are new to New York City and Westchester County to see what advice they have to offer for those who will follow.

METRO: What led you to move hundreds of mile to be in or near New York City?

MovingtoNYC.jpgAshley Lawyer, Consultant: My husband and I are originally from upstate New York but had been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last five years. When I found out that I was pregnant we wanted to move closer to home (but not too close). We ultimately decided on the NYC area.

We have a lot of friends who live in Brooklyn and strongly considered moving there at first. But some of the quality of life factors we had grown accustomed to in California were affecting our feelings about raising a baby in the "city" or in Brooklyn. We decided on Westchester because it was close to the Metro North rail line and was close enough that it wouldn't be difficult for our family to visit.

Kerri Willette, Empire State Digital Network Manager: I grew up in New England and have many friends and family in New York City. I lived in Chicago for many years and the position at METRO seemed not only like the perfect fit for my career, but also a great opportunity to make my way back to the east coast.

Eric Dillalogue, Science Grants and Special Projects Manager, Research Foundation at CUNY: I moved to New York City when my partner, who works in hospitality, received a promotion to a new hotel here. We left sunny and warm Key West in February for a bitterly cold and blustery NYC. But we were both very excited about the move and the opportunity to live and work in this dynamic city.

METRO: How much did you know about NYC prior to your move here?

Ashley: We are originally from upstate NY and because of that I think we know a little bit more than the average newcomer.

Kerri: I have many friends and family in the NYC area. I had visited often before I moved here, and I relied a lot on local friends to help steer my choices.

Eric: I knew very little, except a bit of hearsay and anecdotal information. I spent a lot of time researching online about the city and the various neighborhoods, trying to get an idea of what each area had to offer. I found the New York Magazine article, "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York," really useful because it ranked areas using a series of criteria like walkability and crime.

METRO: What resources were most helpful to you in planning your move to NYC?

Ashley: We used our friends to help narrow down where to look for housing. I asked around on Facebook and reached out via email and text to people in Connecticut, Westchester, New Jersey, etc. My husband contacted a few realtors and asked their opinions about the communities in the regions they sold in.

We were still living in California at the time so we looked at listings online and selected a few promising homes to view in person. Then one weekend, we flew out and looked at about 20 homes in two days. We picked one, made an offer, and the rest is history.

Kerri: Local people I trust were the single most helpful resource for me when planning my move. Aside from that, I relied on Craigslist, Naked Apartments, and for apartment listings. I also spent a lot of time on Yelp trying to evaluate neighborhoods and real estate brokers.

Eric: My two main concerns in moving to NYC were (1) finding a place to live and (2) finding a job, so most of my planning were around those two elements. In terms of finding a place to live, there is no way to do it remotely (despite the many, many websites out there) and you really do have to see the places in person. We ended up using a broker and I think as a first time New Yorker that was the smartest choice. As for finding a job, the best resources were the different library associations - like METRO and SLA - and the website I also knew I wanted to be in academia, so I used Wikipedia's list of colleges and universities in NYC to follow specific job boards.

METRO: What aspect of moving here was most stressful? What lessons are worth imparting to anyone who follows in your footsteps?

Ashley: Moving is stressful no matter how many times you do it and no matter how prepared you are. I happened to be 6 months pregnant, living 3,000 miles from where I was moving, and preparing to fly a very skittish cat that had pretty much never left our apartment since the day we brought him home. Aside from that...the most stressful part of moving was "going with the flow."

The advice I would offer to others is to schedule and organize your move as much as possible. If you scheduled painters, repairmen, movers, cable, call to confirm...and then call again. Don't assume that anyone remembers what you planned - especially what time you requested. Schedule it, send reminders, follow up.

Kerri: Apartment hunting was hands down the most stressful piece of the relocation process for me. I spent a lot of time online. Because apartment turnover happens fast in New York, it can be difficult to evaluate your options from out of state. Things get posted and they're already gone the next day.

Eric: A lot of my stress came from being in a new city with no connections. I found making a few early connections, like Tom at METRO, really helped because he knew a lot about the local library scene, he knew people I could connect with, and he knew what events were coming up. So I think a key thing for anyone relocating is to make a good initial contact, which will really help in making the transition easier.

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