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Old 07-10-2010, 04:10 PM
9 posts, read 28,017 times
Reputation: 11


@dirimini - Ok, don't fall out of your chair laughing when I reveal "the rest of the story." So anyway, three days ago my car broke down and is beyond repair - blown head gasket. I bough it used less than two years ago, so I feel like the thousands of dollars that went into the car was all just to make a fancy lemonade. I'm in Dallas, TX and there is no other way to get around the city except for a personal vehicle. At this point I have two options, either 1. I can deplete my savings and purchase another used car with all the problems that come with vehicle ownership, Or 2. I can relocate to a city with a reliable public transportation system. I've lived in Austin, TX where the public transportation is semi-descent, and just loved the freedom and frugality of walking or taking the bus. So, the car breaking down is what precipitated my desire to move - I absolutely don't want to do the corporate grind just so that I can afford to show up on time.

Now I know that there are other cities across the states with well developed public transportation, among them being San Francisco and Portland. The other part of my desire to move to NYC is that I'm a photographer and I want to take it to the next level. Next to LA, NYC is the best place for someone who aspires to enter the photojournalism field: NYC is like the hub of the world, lots of events, lots of important people, plenty of material to cover and produce for public consumption. It's a diverse area, strong on arts, and this is of a great interest and importance to me.

And besides, it's NYC. I can easily travel to Canada, Boston, and Philly. I love to explore and experience diversity. Now I know that much of the formal entertainment is very expensive, but I'm one of those people who is plenty entertained by people watching. One of the things I loved about riding busses is being able to meet and talk to a variety of folks from all walks of life.

As far as the budget. I don't have an amount per month that I need to stay within. As said, I have 5K saved up. If it will take me 5 months to find a job, then 1K would be my monthly budget - only an example figure. I can't imagine that it would take me that long. So, to give you a more realistic figure. Lets say that it takes me two months to find a job, then 2.5K a month would be the budget. I hope that I'll be able to instantly start any job, even just a minimum wage one during the evening and weekend hours in order to supplement the savings while I look for a real job.

Well, I hope this gives you a much better idea of where I come from and where I'd like to be.

Thanks for all your input.

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Old 07-10-2010, 04:38 PM
194 posts, read 524,824 times
Reputation: 63
OK, you're young (-ish), idealistic, artistic, you want to live your dreams before you make the decision (or the decision is made for you) to settle into being a cubicle rat. I totally understand that, and if that's your dream - follow it. But follow it knowing the facts:

1. $1000 a month will be very hard to do in NYC. You may find a share for $600/month, but that will leave very little on which to live. I'm living proof that one can live frugally in NYC and still have a decent quality of life here, but $1K (after taxes) would be extremely tough. Don't forget about things like a cell phone (you'll need it when looking for jobs), an internet connection (ditto), montly transportation card (c. $90), groceries (restaurants would be out of the question), electricity/gas bills, as well as "luxuries" like health insurance (or, absent that, enough money to see a doctor if something - god forbid - happens).

2. If you do decide to go for it, then you have to be prepared and willing to a) live in less-than-ideal accomodations, and b) take whatever crummy job you can get to pay the bills - including waiting tables, temping in an office, retail work, whatever. I can't stress this enough - to live here with little money, you have to be willing to make major, major compromises, including possibly living someplace where you may have little privacy, too much noise, and/or where you'll have to have your street smarts about you. It is possible to find something - but you'll need some luck.

3. I don't mean to p*ss on your parade, but understand that all aspects of publishing - including photojournalism - are dying here, and that there are literally tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of young idealists wanting to be a photographer, or a fashion designer, or a dancer, or whatever - many of whom are coming out of top-notch BFA programs, and meeting with little success (thus, your waitress is really an "actress"). Again, I'm not saying it's impossible - but be prepared to accept the fact that it might not happen.

If it's really just about wanting diversity and a walkable city with decent public transportation (and not having to depend upon a car to get you from strip mall to housing development to strip mall), then I still think there are other cities that would fit the bill, and might be both far easier to navigate, and far less expensive - and you've listed some of them.

This is just one person's opinion, and I'm sure there are others who might disagree with me. But as someone who has lived here many, many years, who was for a long time "involved" with artistic pursuits, and who is now trying to get out, I think I have a realistic perspective.

I don't know how old you are, but if your past your mid-20s, then I would strongly consider not looking only at location but career as well. The best thing you could possibly do would be to find a city you think might work, and then realistically check out the employment situation there, focusing on entry-level positions from which you could work your way up to something fulfilling. This, I think, is key.
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:35 PM
9 posts, read 28,017 times
Reputation: 11
I'm 28. Everything you said is spot on. The basics of being an adult and money management is true regardless of location.

Here are even more details about the core of who I am. About the photojournalism - I completely understand that the market is over-saturated with aspiring individuals whose qualifications by far exceed my background - of that, there is no question. I realize that in many ways I'm like the cliched prima donna who dreams of moving to Hollywood to become an actress - but I just don't care. Generally speaking, I hold very little regard for most publications. In my eyes they're deprived of a sound philosophy and understanding, and their only imperative is making money. Multimedia just happens to be the means.

My personal self-evaluation does not depend on feedback from an outside party that I don't respect. No one needs to hire me. With the advent of the internet and Web 2.0, virtually anyone can broadcast and publish media. Independent individuals and groups can easily create a video or a series of images that attract more attention than say NY Times or AP. So you're right that the traditional publishers are suffering, and a toast to that fact! Let them burn in hell.

Vincent Van Gogh is one of my idols, and if I gain no recognition within this lifetime, then so be it, I'll be in a good company.

My objective in general is to reduce my expenses to the bare essentials: shelter, food, and the association of people. Most of the so called "needs" are only ideas imposed on us by corporate marketing ploys and the city planners who make it impossible to survive without succumbing to a set of expenses for which one has to work like an ass to afford. No thank you. If allowed, I would sleep under a tree and eat the fruits it bears. We only need shoes because the grass has been covered up with asphalt and nasty exhaust chemicals. Simple living and high thinking - that's the philosophy I subscribe to.

I really don't care for NYC anyway. In many ways I considering NYC hellish. Many folk's I knew growing up had stars in their eyes thinking about it - so naturally I was opposed to the whole idea of living there. Maybe what I'm saying is that I would appreciate NYC from a different perspective - one that serves my purpose. What better place than NYC would serve to illustrate the absurdity of an overdeveloped economy whose existence does more to oppress than to liberate its inhabitants?
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:38 PM
9 posts, read 28,017 times
Reputation: 11
Ok, maybe the last line was a little too harsh. I don't want to prejudge - better to find out for myself through exploration and experience. I come with an open mind.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:29 PM
3 posts, read 1,598 times
Reputation: 10
Ashenkar, I've stayed in NYC before and I found there are quite a few hotels that will chrge by the week. Of course, they are going to chargge you more than 125$ a week, but they are clean and safe and fun. My favorite is the carlston arms (Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel). You'll have to share bathroom and there is no kitchen or tv or anything...you could stay in a place like that for a week and that would give you enough time to find a real place. I paid 500 a week when I stayed there; I'm not sure if they charge you more in the summer. On the Lonely Planet site there are also plenty of other cheap hotels and hostels. Hope this information will be helpful to you.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:27 AM
194 posts, read 524,824 times
Reputation: 63
ashenkar, I get where you're coming from. Really.

If you want to come to NYC, then come. The worst that could happen is that you hate it, you leave broke, and you head back to TX.

So if your heart is set on it, come, meet great, interesting, people (who share your disillusionment with corporate culture), work non-stop and passionately on your art/work (utilizing all the wonders of digital media, subverting the dinosaur of paper publishing), and give it everything you've got. I still think there are better places - also filled with great, creative people, and great energy - but maybe you need to get NYC out of your system.

I would also encourage you to look into work in non-profits. Because you're an idealist, and because you say you're willing to forsake financial remuneration for things that are more important to you, working in the non-profit sector (which generally does not pay very well) would not only allow you to perhaps work in an organization that means something to you, but also allows you to build a skill set that you might be able to apply to other industries - that is, should you decide, when you get to your mid-30s, that maybe you do want some more "luxury" (like having your own apartment) in your life. I know, I probably sound like someone's parent, but I can't help it.

Take a look at idealist.org - Welcome to Idealist.org - Imagine. Connect. Act. to get an idea of the types of jobs that are out there. And NYC is a great place to get such jobs, as there are tons and tons of non-profits here.
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