What It Really Takes to Make It in New York City

STORY BY Candace Bryan

Published: May 7, 2013

Kids all over the world dream of moving to New York City. Each year, thousands of recent college graduates pursue that dream and move there and  hope to make it big, even just or have a life that resembles a television show. But frequently, these dreamers don’t fully understand the reality of what living in New York entails. While shows like Girls or How I Met Your Mother make New York life seem like a breeze, the truth of the matter is that living in the Big Apple requires a good deal of money.

But young, naïve post graduates aren’t the only ones who may find themselves struggling to make ends meet in New York. In this day and age even people in their late twenties and thirties are finding it harder to afford city life.

New York City has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S., and since it’s also a place thousands of people want to live, it’s also competitive. According to a recent article at Business Insider, the cost of New York is slowly pushing out the city’s middle class. In New York, just to be considered in the middle-income bracket, you have to make at least $45,000 to $134, 000 annually. And while these numbers seem steep, they’re also accompanied by steep prices.

Rent New York City is high. Even outside of Manhattan, rent is shooting up as neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Park Slope become not only gentrified, but hip. While the median rent in some Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy is $1800 a month, and therefore still below the citywide average of $2,700, the median rent of a small apartment in Williamsburg exceeds the citywide average at $2,900 a month. These numbers are extraordinarily high, especially given that if you’re in the middle income bracket at a $45,000 salary, you’d be spending almost all your paycheck on rent.

On the other hand, other costs in New York are surprisingly low. Business Insider reports that while in many U.S. cities, a young couple would need to pay a hundred dollars a week on groceries, a similar couple in New York city can make it on $274 a month. Also the comprehensive public transportation system makes owning a car unnecessary

However, these numbers don’t even begin to balance out the cost of rent. And while young twenty-somethings stretch their incomes by having roommates or living in sketchier neighborhoods, the older young adults who are ready to establish themselves on their own find that it’s easier said than done. They might consider moving to New Jersey.

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