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9 Myths About Living in NYC

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Ross Sapir

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Cities like London, Paris and Los Angeles have been the inspiration of many artists and filmmakers from around the world. However, to this day, there is no city that is more famous than New Your City. It would be a difficult task to find someone that has never heard of The Big Apple. From a small town inhabited by Dutch merchants, New York became a thriving metropolis with over 8 million residents. And according to the statistics provided by a New York moving company, that number is growing each year. And with this growth and acclaim, it’s no surprise that some rumors about this marvelous city have become very widespread. Therefore, in this article, we are going to talk about 9 myths about living in NYC.

Table of Contents

truck parked on the street
There are many myths about living in NYC and you will read some of the most interesting ones there are!

Of course, there might be some cases in which these may be based on facts. But in most cases, they are completely and utterly untrue. And we have mostly pop culture to thank for them. In this article, you will read some of the most famous and enduring rumors about NYC. It is meant to shine a light on the truth for people who have never been to New York or for those planning to move to NYC. So, without further ado, here are the famous myths about living in New York City.

1. The living costs are outrageous

In rural areas, there is a great fear that the price of living in cities is astronomical. Many people believe that even if they would earn a much higher salary in the city, they couldn’t possibly afford to live there. First of all, it may be true that you could easily spend $100 on a brunch or $20 on a cocktail in NYC. And then there are the museum and theatre tickets that are more expensive in comparison with pretty much anywhere else in the USA.

However, it is possible to live in New York without going bankrupt. You can always find things that you can do for free.  There will always be free events like concerts, and movie nights in the park and also, and New York is famous for free museum nights that occur from time to time. And if you travel to the outer borough, you’ll see that the price for a cup of coffee or groceries isn’t that different than in any other city.

a cardboard boy
Don’t be scared by rumors that NY is expensive but do watch out for high rent if you are moving to NY!

Famous chain restaurants, supermarkets like Whole Foods, and other fine dining options are indeed very expensive in New York. But, there is no obligation for you to spend money there. If you do your research and plan your budget responsibly, living in New York doesn’t have to be head-spinning expensive. Furthermore, New York is one of the greatest places for cheap eating. For example, there are numerous dollar-slice pizza joints all over the city. You can find many amazing hot dog, gyros, and dumpling stands.

Prices of renting apartments

Despite the fact that you can find a way to save money when buying food, the situation with the rental price is a bit different. When people plan to move to New York and hire movers Queens, they are usually warned about how expensive housing in NYC can get. But even if you are warned, the price may surprise you. That’s why you have to be extra careful when you are apartment hunting. Because even in the cheaper areas in the city, you can end up paying more than $2000 for a studio apartment if you are not careful.

2. New York is Manhattan

When people hear the phrase New York City, they often think only of Manhattan. But in fact, only about 1.5 million of 8 million residents make up the population of Manhattan. The truth is that New York consists of five different boroughs, each with its own distinct subcultures. So, if you are planning to move to New York, you have to pick the right NYC neighborhood for you. The lovely neighborhoods you can choose from are:

  • Manhattan – is the most popular of the five boroughs and the one that is most responsible for these 9 myths about living in NYC
  • The Bronx – the infamous borough which is mostly known for being the birthplace of rap and hip-hop music
    Brooklyn – the home of New York’s most famous attractions like Coney Island, Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge
  • Queens – New York’s largest borough
  • Staten Island – is most well-known for its beautiful green spaces. New Yorkers often call it the “borough of parks”

And just for a reminder – no, you can’t see the Statue of Liberty from anywhere in New York. This may be true for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but in the case of New York, it’s just fiction. Whenever you watch a movie that is based in New York, there’s always someone passing by the famous landmark. Although movie directors love to show footage of this statue or the Empire State Building, the truth is that you can only see them from certain places.

two moving trucks
If New York is your next town, there are many lovely neighborhoods you can choose from!

Since New York is such a big city, basically you will find anything you need right in your own neighborhood. If you can go shopping and work just a few blocks away from your house, there is no need to go to Manhattan, no? You could if you really wanted to but, the concept of New Yorkers that are constantly surrounded by surreal landscapes and famous landmarks is just another example of Hollywood fantasy.

3. New York is an environmental disaster – one of the most widespread myths about living in NYC

If you’ve ever been to New York, you may have noticed that it isn’t an especially environment-friendly place. Everywhere you look you can see enormous skyscrapers. There is so much cement that it’s no wonder that the city earned the nickname “concrete jungle”. However, due to a recent push by the officials, New York is able to call itself an environmentally conscious city. To start with, the subway system is now reaching most of the city, which will help in solving New York’s big traffic problem.

people crossing the street
Although some think that NYC is an environmental disaster, it’s actually an environmentally conscious place.

More so, there are initiatives by Mayor Bloomberg which will help fight climate change. One of the several initiatives is to paint New York’s rooftops white. That will decrease the amount of sun which they absorb and helps to cool down the city. There are also charges to make older buildings more energy efficient. For example, renovating the Empire State Building will severely lower its carbon footprint. Of course, New York does have environmental problems like every other large city, but it might be too bold to call it an environmental disaster.

4. New York City is dangerous

One of the oldest misconceptions about New York City is that it is a very dangerous place. It has probably been around for decades. Whether there is some truth in this rumor, it’s definitely not as bad as you may think it is. Is there a big city anywhere in the world where crime doesn’t happen? Like any other city, New York is more dangerous than it should be. Also, it’s certainly more dangerous than the government officials and the people who live there want it to be. However, it’s not more dangerous than any other large city in the USA. Therefore, New York being a dangerous place is just one of the myths about living in NYC.

one of the myths about living in NYC is that there is only Manhattan
Although portrayed as a very dangerous place, NYC is as safe as any other major city in the USA.

Because of some recent policies, we can say that New York may be a lot safer than some US cities that are not half as populated. For example, Chicago and Detroit have a much higher crime and murder rate than NY, despite being somewhat smaller. So, if you are searching for safety in a general sense, it may not be fair to label New York as an unsafe city. But keep in mind that, according to moving and storage Brooklyn companies, people tend to choose safer neighborhoods when they are moving to NY. Not every borough in New York City is safe in the sense we mentioned.

5. New Yorkers are rude – one of the most pop-culture reinforced myths about living in NYC

Over the years, New Yorkers gained a reputation for being abrasive and rude. It’s a rumor largely reinforced by popular culture. But is that really the case? In reality, they are quick to lend a helping hand to a neighbor and even to a stranger. People who have hired Manhattan movers and moved to New York say that there has never been a when someone didn’t help them if they asked. For example, if you would stop to ask someone for directions, people from New York would hardly ever refuse but they wouldn’t go out of their way to assist you.

person holding a blue heart
Even though pop culture tends to portray New Yorkers as rude, many of them have big hearts and love to help others.

However, when you live for some time in New York City, you may notice that New Yorkers have a certain attitude that can’t be found in other US cities. Maybe people tend to get a little mean due to all that hustle and bustle happening in New York. Keep in mind that NY is overcrowded as it is, and the constant influx of tourists doesn’t help one bit. And that maybe makes it a little bit more understandable. No? It might be very hard to get anything done in such a big city without being a little rude. But it is certainly not the reason to avoid moving to New York.

6. New York is full of homeless people

Another reason why some people hesitate to move to or even visit New York City is that they believe there are homeless people on every corner. However, you will experience the city much more different when you are visiting than if you are living in NYC. If you are visiting New York for a short period of time, you may notice that there are homeless people almost everywhere you go. You will see them at the Empire State Building, 5th Avenue, and Times Square, but that doesn’t mean that New York is full of unfortunate people who lost their homes. The reason so many of them tend to hang out at these places is simply that they are full of tourists. And that means more people who will potentially help them in their need.

the streets of New York
The streets of New York have a problem with homeless people, but it’s not as bad as you may think.

If you visit some of the areas that are not always crawling with tourists, you will notice that there aren’t that many homeless people. Of course, the problem of homelessness certainly exists in New York like in many other major cities. However, it’s not as bad as it may seem to someone visiting New York at the weekend.

7. It’s easy to get by around New York

To state it simply – the traffic in New York City is terrible. Even if you are an excellent driver, we wouldn’t recommend driving through NYC. Easy navigation is definitely one of the myths about living in NYC. It helps that the roads are organized into a symmetrical grid but even so, the traffic is so bad that most people would rather walk or take public transport. The reason is mainly that New York is simply overcrowded. And if that is creating terrible traffic problems in this city, aggressive drivers are making it way worse. By attempting to avoid the worst traffic, most New York drivers will cut off anyone in order to get on their way faster. And this horrible traffic certainly isn’t a myth.

parked moving truck, representing moving to nyc and myths about living in NYC
The traffic jams in New York are some of the worst in the country due to the fact that New York is severely overcrowded.

However, even if most people use the subway in order to avoid crowded traffic, the fact is that the NY subway system is not so user-friendly. Many people who hired Bronx movers in order to move to New York say that the subway is way more complicated than the metro. It’s very hard to navigate through this system if you aren’t going to take the same route every day. The reason for this may lie in the fact that NYC constructed one of the first subways in the world. And that has been the primary mode of transportation for many New York residents ever since.

The system has several routes that go throughout the city. But not every route keeps routine hours. It means that if you take a train from your home to work in the morning, the same train won’t travel the exact path in the evening. But New York City officials are actively working on solving this problem. The idea is to install an underground WiFi system so people can connect to the Internet while riding the train. But since this is still under construction, you can’t even Google your way through the NY subway system.

8. New York is a city that never sleeps – the most untrue of all myths about living in NYC

Besides the nicknames The Big Apple and the Empire City, New York is also known as the City that Nevers Sleeps. It’s true that NYC is livelier than many other cities, but it may not truly be a city that never goes to sleep. If you have ever been stranded in one of the outer boroughs, you will most definitely know that poorer areas indeed sleep at night. The small shops never work late at night. It means there are no restaurants, no liquor stores, and no mini-marts available. And is that now a characteristic of a city that never sleeps?

moving truck in New York
Although it has a reputation of a city that never sleeps, New York certainly does rest from time to time.
www.johnnyfoto.com

Furthermore, even some of the most popular touristic spots like Times Square close their attractions at some point during the day. And if you go to some of the less popular spots, your choices are even slimmer. While New York might not sleep as much as other cities do, it certainly goes to rest at some time.

Even if places close at night, there is still plenty to do in NYC

Of course, don’t think that there isn’t anything to do in New York after reading the section above. If you’ve ever been there, you will know that a person could probably get overwhelmed by the many options New York City offers. There are thousands of things you can indulge in when you visit New York. And the best part is – there’s something for everyone’s taste. You can visit Times Square, go to a Yankees game or explore some of the world-famous restaurants. Or maybe you can go shopping in Chinatown or climb all the way to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Take your pick.

a New York sign
Not to worry, there will always be plenty of things to do in New York City.

9. New York is a nice place to visit but not to live in

It’s safe to say that in this case, nothing can be further from the truth. While New York may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it should certainly not be dismissed as “not fun”. It’s true that staying in New York for a longer period of time isn’t for everyone, but there are millions of people who are happily living here. Of course, the perfect place to call home will depend on your personality and your choices. But if you are looking for a new hometown, we surely recommend you give New York City the chance it deserves.

a cardboard boy and a painting, representing moving and myths about living in NYC
Packing your bags and moving to NYC may not be for everyone, but it might be the best decision of your life.

Bonus myth – Alligators in the sewers

One of the most interesting and unusual myths about living in NYC is certainly the rumor that there are alligators in the city’s sewers. According to the legend, early city residents used to buy baby alligators as pets. And when they decided that they don’t want them anymore, they flushed their pets down the toilet. Since all of New York’s toilets go into one sewer system, people believe that these pets grew into massive sizes and are still living down there to this day.

This common urban legend about giant alligators in the sewage system that started in New York City has spread to other parts of the country. Everybody has heard about the giant reptiles of New York. But to the disappointment of many urban legends and myth lovers, scientists denied the possibility that this is a true story. Many experts agreed that New York City’s sewage system couldn’t possibly support the lives of reptiles of this size. And of course, nobody has ever seen these imaginary alligators.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will know a little bit more about this amazing place we call New York City. Although it has an undeservedly bad reputation in some areas, we hope that you will understand that not everything you see through the eyes of popular culture is true. New York is not only not as bad as they say, but it’s one of the most beloved cities in the USA. And if you don’t believe us, you are welcome to visit the city and see for yourself.

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