What it’s like to transition from Chicago to New York

I’ve officially been in New York for four months, which may not seem like a lot to outsiders, but feels like an eternity to me in the city! I’ve been trying to experience as many things in NYC as I can in these few short months, and I have a lot of opinions about the city… aย lot! Some good, mostly bad, but hey, I’m still tryin’ out here, and as most people will tell you, their transition to New York probably wasn’t a piece of cake either, but you just have to keep a good attitude and push through.

One of the most astonishing things I’ve experienced is how vastly different New York City is than Chicago.ย What is up with that?!ย Honestly, I was not expecting the transition to be so difficult. Both NYC and Chicago are big cities, with a lot of people, culture, and things to do. They should be pretty similar living styles, right?

WRONG. Big differences. Huge! If you’re thinking about moving, or have just visited the Midwest to The Big Apple, here are my thoughts on the biggest differences between the two.

I have [way] less money. Period.

There’s no way around it… New York City is expensive. Yes, I knew that coming here, but I don’t think I was truly ready for the extreme sticker shock of living in this city. Rent is more than double what I paid in Chicago for half the space, food is more expensive, airfare out of the city is sometimes comparable, but usually higher, and cocktails are minimum $15. Even my haircuts in New York City are nearly 1.5x more expensive than my Chicago styles. I have tried to adjust to the insane cost of living that Manhattan has, but I’m not sure I’ll ever see the prices here as normal. ESPECIALLY considering salaries here don’t really escalate to meet the high cost of living. Your dollar doesn’t go too far here, but yes, that’s the price you pay for living in what many consider the greatest city in the world!

I cook less and eat out more.

I truly find joy in cooking. In Chicago, I cooked almost every night and packed the leftovers for my lunch the next day at work. Not so much in New York! I am totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of restaurants and food spots I can try out and I know I can eat out for around the same price as cooking in. There are healthy options, gluten free, vegan, you name it, New York has it. It’s a shame that I don’t use my kitchen more, but considering it’s the size of a small closet, I guess ordering in is just fine!

There’s more FOMO in New York City.

What people say is true: there is ALWAYS something to do in New York City. But with those plentiful options, comes real and intense FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out on something cool in the city pretty much ensures that fact that I’m never going to stay home.

Don’t believe the rumors… People are equally as nice.

Chicagoans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever come across, but New Yorkers are just as cordial, I swear! I’ve never been yelled at or cussed out – quite the contrary. Whenever I’m lost (which is 99% of the time), New Yorkers are quick to help me out, my neighbors are sweet, my coworkers are nice, and strangers on public transportation are equally as friendly and/or creepy as CTA riders in the midwest.

Every time I miss Chicago, NYC pulls me back in.

It’s true. I love Chicago with all my heart, and I miss living there everyday! But there’s something about New York that tends to reel you back in love with it. Besides, I’m too busy and broke to be worrying about what Chicago is up to, and let’s be clear, the weather in NYC requires about 10 less layers of clothes than my beloved Chi-Town.

There’s plenty of things I adore in Chicago, but for now, I guess I’ll keep giving New York a shot!

Have you transitioned from the Midwest to the East Coast?? What has your experience been??

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