It just depends. When I was there I rented a room for $150 per week with no lease. That included all utilities, cable and internet but the place was kind of a dump (not dirty, just old and dingy), in a gritty area, and I had to share it with three annoying and ever-rotating roommates. If you want to live like that, be my guest. I'll give you the phone number and directions.
I personally wound up disillusioned, miserable... and left the city in less than a year. I found work but was just so God-awful unhappy. I wasn't able to smoke, have visitors, pets, etc. and I hated my neighbors (that includes the scores of cockroaches that frequented the kitchen). The city also answered an important question in my life- which was whether I was truly a Midwestern girl or not. Turns out I am and I was disgusted with the lack of morals and corruption there. I used to laugh at Midwestern slowness... now I savor my upbringing like a fine wine knowing the flipside and how sh*tty it can be. Not to mention the total lack of civility, class and manners. I learned that my first day on the 1 train when I was given a lecture on not crossing my leg too far in any one direction (mind you no one was near me). So yes, you COULD move with $5,000... but don't be under any illusions as to how hard your life will be on that. Until you get a lucky break/good job your life most likely will be very rough. It's all a question of what your expectations are and what you are willing to put up with. You may have been the most special thing in your town but in NYC that means zero. You could spend years in a situation like the one I mentioned above before you make a step up in lifestyle. And obviously that's no guarantee. Personally, if I had to do it all over again I would have just simply saved more (enough to pay relocation and living costs in NYC PLUS relocation and living costs if you decide to leave). You could always just do it that way and if you decide NYC is not for you you will have planned properly enough to be able to finance your move out of the city.
NYC is not for everyone, nor was it ever meant to be. On $20K I believe you most likely would be okay, granted you set the relocation money aside and did not touch it upon arriving in New York. Perhaps you could set it aside with your parents or in some similiar fashion where you knew damn well you wouldn't touch it during potentially desperate moments because it wouldn't be possible. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. NYC is a great city and it provided me with an excellent education that I would not trade for anything. Even though it did not work out for me I still think it's a great place. A corrupt place, a dirty and classless place... but still great in its own way, a way you can only appreciate by breathing, smelling, and living it quite frankly. But if you have stars in your eyes and go in with dreams and illusions as your rationale you have set a trap and already made your first mistake. Not that you shouldn't follow your dreams, you just need to have both eyes wide open as well. Don't try to get by on a wing and a prayer- it isn't realistic and it isn't fair to you. Take your time, plan well. The city will be there for you when you are ready for it and if you plan well you can always leave. Set yourself up right and be patient... I speak from experience. Good luck!
P.S. Don't live in Manhattan whatever you do.
Last edited by EastBoundandDownChick; 08-27-2011 at 06:26 PM..