It’s been three months since moving to New York City and I want to share a bit more on how we’ve settled in to NYC life — plus, answer some of your questions! You’ve kindly expressed common questions and curiosities about daily life here and how I’m liking the city so far. Everything from our new neighborhood to apartment, daily routine and logistics, to comparisons between Chicago and NYC. Without further ado, here we go…
Why the move?
A career opportunity was presented for my husband in NYC. After 11 years together in Chicago, we had also been craving a change. The timing just felt right, and we knew the opportunity and move was something worth pursuing.
Do you have a car in NYC?
Nope. We walk everywhere! When we moved from Chicago to New York, we hired movers to haul our furniture and large pieces to our apartment, and the rest to a storage unit nearby. The 3 of us (my husband, Will and I) then drove our car — packed to the absolute brim — from Chicago to New York. Later, when our parents visited for Will’s first birthday a few weeks after we initially moved in, my in-laws kindly drove our car back to the Midwest for now. In the meantime, daily life in New York is practical — probably even preferable — without a car. My husband walks five blocks to his office, while Will and I dart around the city with our Bugaboo stroller. We’ve taken Citi bikes, Uber, and a rental car, when otherwise needed.
Did you use a realtor/broker to find your apartment?
We did not use a realtor or broker in finding our apartment. A few factors were important to us during our search, like: proximity to my husband’s office, walkability to Central Park, and safety. (Having a secure building with a doorman was really important to me, especially with a baby.) We then scoured StreetEasy for buildings, or specific apartments, in our desired area to see what was available. My husband visited NYC before we moved and exhausted our list of potential apartments to see in person. He must’ve toured a dozen or so in a weekend. It’s a trying process and I can see how a realtor/broker could help!
Which neighborhood do you live in?
Sutton Place, which is nestled along the east side between Midtown East, Lenox Hill/Upper East Side. We really like it! The location and building suit our stage well right now. You can learn more about the neighborhood here or here, if curious.
How does living in NYC compare to Chicago?
Both are incredible cities. I can only speak from personal experience… which is having spent more than a decade in Chicago, and a mere 3 months so far in New York City. Geographically speaking, Chicago sits along the coast of Lake Michigan — which sets the scene for beautifully warm summers at the beach (but brutally cold, long lasting winters). Chicago feels clean for a big city, with a variety of neighborhoods dispersed among the region. Chicago can also feel sprawling and segregated. New York City is obviously more dense, fast-paced, and culturally diverse — yet integrated, in my opinion. I find New Yorkers to be quite friendly and eager to please, or help. The milder climate isn’t bad comparatively, either. Many things in New York are more expensive, more competitive, etc. as you can imagine. However, aspects of living in NYC are easier; largely because we rent our apartment, versus having owned an entire house in Chicago. I’m enjoying having our living space all on one floor (instead of 4 stories). There’s less to clean and maintain, with having a city apartment and less “stuff.” It’s also incredibly nice having an elevator with a stroller and getting out the door with a little one. On the flip side: There are days when I miss driving a car to run errands and whatnot, plus having a yard and more space like we had in Chicago. And then there’s the familiarity of a city where I lived for so long. I also miss having our dear families and friends nearby, too. At the end of the day: Both are amazing, complicated, exciting cities to live in. For our family, it was the right time and choice to move to New York City. We’re very happy here!
How do you get groceries?
Nearly all of our groceries and supplies are delivered by Amazon, Target, or Whole Foods. It’s truthfully the best way for us right now, especially during the COVID pandemic and with a 1-year old. We have local shops we visit for specialty items and street vendors for fresh produce. And don’t forget the bodega. It’s the New York way!
What do COVID precautions look like currently?
We’re still very much in the midst of the pandemic and precautions are taken very seriously here. Outside, everyone you see on the sidewalks or in the parks are wearing masks no matter what. In our building, masks are required in all public areas (i.e. lobby, elevators, hallways, gyms, common spaces, etc.). There’s also a limit to how many residents are to take the elevator together at the same time — but most people are generally distancing from each other out of courtesy, anyway. My husband and I don’t have much of a “going out” social life right now regardless, between COVID, work, winter, and raising a 1-year old. We’ve gone out once during our time in New York for a cocktail with Will in tow to a restaurant with outdoor seating. It was enjoyable, but something we’re looking forward to more once the warmer season is here and COVID conditions improve.
How is life with baby in NYC?
Raising a baby is intensive no matter where you’re located, but having a 1-year old in NYC is certainly unique. The truth is: I feel we’re more adaptable than we may think we are, and so are babies. Granted, we are not at school yet age — which would have many adjustments and stresses, I’m sure. For now, we’re embracing life together in New York City and taking advantage of all the city has to offer, even during a pandemic. We get outside everyday to see something new, whether it’s in Central Park or along the East River. We’ve gotten used to walking everywhere, being active outside when we can, and finding little areas or resources in the city for kids. There’s also an amazing playroom in our building where I’ll take Will a few times a week. The opportunity for Will to meet and play with other kids (aged from around 6 months to 4 years) has been a major plus to living here. It’s pretty cool to think Will has a dozen or so new friends already, who we see daily in our building, or run into around the neighborhood. Even though things are a little different with masks and distancing, I feel Will has a fun and enriching life here. (And I feel I do, too.)
What’s your favorite part of living in NYC?
As cliche as it sounds, the energy is New York City is unsurpassed. You feel it. It’s a city considered at the pinnacle of many industries: finance, fashion, food, design, real estate, media. It’s where generations have come to live their dreams, or create a new beginning. The excitement of living in New York is something I feel everyday — and don’t want to forget, or take for granted.
Will you stay in NYC long term?
If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable. It’s also been a lesson to be open to change and go after an opportunity, even when you least expect it — or when it’s not “easy.” We may not always know what the future holds, but life in New York City has been good to us thus far. And that’s good for right now. ♡