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Old 07-25-2012, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 161,922 times
Reputation: 177

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My wife (23) and I (29) are going to be moving to NYC late November/early December. I venture to say that our situation is... unique and challenging :) Allow me to explain the situation and what we're starting to formulate as a plan. I know this'll be long, but I'll break it down as best I can so it's easier to reply to just the parts you want to read. I figured it'd be better to try this way first rather than several different threads. We'd greatly appreciate any feedback ranging from recommending minor adjustments all the way to blatantly pointing out utter impossibilities that we've misconsidered!

Our story
Basically we both love the city and have wanted to move there for years. We've both spent decent time there (at least manhattan) and I'd venture to say I'm as familiar with it as one might reasonably be without actually living there, which we want to at least haven taken a solid shot at in our lives. When we finally decided to move from california to NYC we thought, 'Hey... we're selling all our stuff and leaving our jobs... we should take this opportunity to travel some and see everything in between!' So we bought a cargo van, converted the inside into a stealth RV, saved up, stored a bunch of our stuff, and took off. And as it turns out the whole idea was surprisingly sustainable, so we just kept going and having a blast for what's ended up turning into 2 years instead of 3 months as planned ;) But now as we look to finally arrive in NYC that means that I have a 2 year gap on my otherwise decent resume, we haven't had any real rental history for 2 years, our checking account has 2 years of bizarre history, and - I'll admit - we may be ever so slightly out of touch with reality at this point lol. On the plus side what it means is that we're used to doing things people may think unlikely; we're extremely adaptable; not too picky about things that don't matter much; we're masters at having fun on a budget; we have no problem remaining mobile; we're so used to compact living that a small manhattan studio/room would be a mansion; we have diverse work experience in random areas that aren't our normal professions; and we have very disciplined bladders - all things I'm hoping will help in our transition to life in NYC ;) But I know that those 2 year gaps in employment and rental history are going to be rough. My wife works cashier/retail jobs. I've got over 10 years experience in IT, mostly from two 5 year spans of employment - the more recent one being as a programmer and database analyst. But I don't have a degree, which has never even caused a hickup in my life up until this point - although I suspect it to be more of a problem in NYC than I've had in the past. And we won't have income upon arrival, but we will have small savings - about $5k. So the plan we're forming is:

Plan Upon Arrival
We have family near Boston - first step is to ditch the van with them obviously. Although the thought has crossed my mind that we could use it to start a van-for-hire service, it's probably not something I'd want to tackle. We'll leave most our stuff stored in the van either long term or until we're in a situation for it to be useful again - things like kitchen stuff, clothes that aren't in season, etc. Then we hop the chinese bus to NYC. We may end up doing several bus trips to NYC and back while we look for a room and jobs and arrange interviews - staying with family and paying chinese bus fair is definitely our *cheapest* option and 10 hours a day on the road ain't nothin to us anymore - especially if it's broken up into a round trip with a lunch stop each way and we're not the ones driving! Wouldn't want to live that way, that'd be pointless, but we'd have no problem doing that every day for a month or so if need be until we can find jobs/place to live (although *every day* it'd cease to be cheapest option I think.)
Questions:
* Anyone see any flaws in this? We've ridden the bus from nyc to boston before, but I'll admit we're not super familiar with the system or any delays or other problems that occasionally pop up.

Plan for finding a place to live
Upon arrival we'll work our way up the living situation ladder starting at the highest rung we happen to catch a break on within a couple days of arrival. What we're thinking our ladder looks like: [temporary] studio in manhattan > leased room in Manhattan > temporary room in Manhattan > temporary room in Astoria/Williamsburg/somewhere safe-ish > 2 special deal beds in a hostel > chinese bus from boston >= leased room somewhere non-ideal but safe-ish and commutable > giving up and hitting the road again!

I'm thinking we'll likely end up just renting furnished rooms/studio on a temporary basis over and over again for a while - until we have verifiable income at least - moving every couple weeks or so as people go on trips and want to fill their room. Which I don't suspect would be a huge problem logistically - we can pretty easily keep our stuff in a couple plastic bins that would quickly load/unload from the trunk of a taxi, it's basically what we do now anyway. If we get a leased room quickly, for about $1500/mn?, I figure we'd pay 1st month, deposit, and put aside money for the second month, and have whatever money leftover for food - about $500ish probably.
Questions:
* How hard is it to find a couples-friendly room? Many want a single person only it seems. I've been a landlord and subleased rooms before back in california and I can't say I understand this, I liked having couples in rooms personally. Is it rather just "no couples... for the price quoted," or are there more solid reasons that many rooms are not couple friendly, like building/lease restrictions on occupancy maybe?
* Is it possible to get a leased room without income, but paying a bigger deposit or 1st and last month? Should we primarily/only focus on temporarily rooms?
* Has anyone else jumped around between many temporary/short term rooms? Any advice/thoughts? It just seems like that's probably our most realistic option since we won't have jobs for a bit, and probably not 40x income til we can find good stable jobs.
* How long can you stretch $500 for food in NYC? We're fairly good at it - we've been doing a job right now in which we're out in the middle of nowhere pretty much. We've got it down to where we can get about $100 groceries and not have to go back into civilization for 2 weeks. From what I gather groceries seem about 2x more expensive in NYC, but I'm still thinking we might be able to make $500 last a month.

Plan for finding places to work
Getting something lined up before we arrive probably isn't happening, so I don't think we'll bother. When we get to NYC I'm going to try like heck to pick up where I left off on my career track, but while I'm at it I'm probably going to shoot for doing temp work too. My wife is going to go for whatever work is available that she can stand doing, although she wants to take a stab at trying to break into the office world - maybe with some temp work, I think she's got marketable skills for it
Questions:
* Anyone want to chime in with experience on how available temp work is, how long it takes to get, etc? That extra income, whatever it ends up being, is probably going to be pretty important - it's likely the difference between at least having temporary rooms and enjoying [being in] the city as we try to make it rather than chinese bussing in just for interviews, so I'm hoping it's likely that I can reasonably plan on finding *something* temporary in IT at least?
* Also for that matter, how hard is it to come by cashier/retail jobs for my wife? Every city we've been to seems to have lots of these jobs available, so I'm hoping NYC is the same?
* Can anyone recommend good temp agencies to check out?
* Anyone familiar with the NYC IT scene have any comments on how hard it is to get in without a degree? I've got good experience at least, and if it's a good idea I could partially fill that 2 year hole with freelance and contract work that I've done while traveling. Back where I come from we'd probably see that as desperate at best, or an inflated view of one's 'experience' at worst, but if NYC culture might prefer it to a 2 year gap with a cute story as explanation then I'd be game to do some resume additions
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:15 PM
 
9,181 posts, read 9,152,027 times
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I admire that you took the time to include all that information, but I wonder if it scared off replies, since it was so long.

Here are a few things that occur to me.

Moving every few weeks sounds like my idea of hell. Aim instead for a furnished sublet for a few months. It's possible that you can rent something over December-January from a student who will be away for the holidays. Or a professor who is on sabbatical for a semester.

Yes, it might be possible to bribe a potential landlord to overlook the gaps in your rental history by offering money. But that doesn't mean first/last month. That would mean an extra 3-6 month's rent. You'd probably do better where you'd be renting from a person, rather than a corporation. Come armed with recommendations from your previous landlords.

Yes, I think you could make $500 last a month for food, but that's assuming you have a kitchen.

Are you aware that there is a job website specifically for IT? I can't remember offhand what it's called, but maybe you can ask around. Overall, I think temp work is probably iffy these days.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:10 PM
 
14 posts, read 16,602 times
Reputation: 20
I don't think you could honestly afford Williamsburg or Astoria. I chalk it up to lots of people moving from out of state and driving up the rents. Oh, wait...

You could probably find a decent studio in Astoria for $1200 a month, lower if you're willing to live in someone's basement or in a really smallish one room place. I would concentrate on finding work asap.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:19 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 161,922 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cida View Post
It's possible that you can rent something over December-January from a student who will be away for the holidays. Or a professor who is on sabbatical for a semester.

Yes, it might be possible to bribe a potential landlord to overlook the gaps in your rental history by offering money. But that doesn't mean first/last month. That would mean an extra 3-6 month's rent.

[...]

Yes, I think you could make $500 last a month for food, but that's assuming you have a kitchen.

Are you aware that there is a job website specifically for IT? I can't remember offhand what it's called, but maybe you can ask around. Overall, I think temp work is probably iffy these days.
This is all very useful info, thanks a ton! I kinda figured it'd take a considerable bribe to overlook our shoftcomings for an actual lease. We were actually planning on having a whole 12 months bribe money for a halfway decent UWS-priced studio but kinda ended up blowing it on a great little vacation home we found along the way instead. Meh.. people make it all the time arriving with $50 and a dream, right?... wait... right? lol

Is it uncommon for a room sublet to include kitchen privileges? Pretty much unheard of anywhere else, but since that hardly means much I suppose it's definitely worth asking. And further... do people expect you to bring your own kitchen stuff (pots/pans, tools, etc) when you rent a room? All our kitchen stuff fits in a small-medium bin, and we're probably bringing it anyway cause we're actually pretty picky, but it's worth knowing.

I'll keep the IT job site in mind and see if I can track it down. Sucks that temp work is iffy, but definitely good to know ahead of time. Thanks again!
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:30 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 161,922 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by nativenewyawker View Post
I don't think you could honestly afford Williamsburg or Astoria. I chalk it up to lots of people moving from out of state and driving up the rents. Oh, wait...

You could probably find a decent studio in Astoria for $1200 a month, lower if you're willing to live in someone's basement or in a really smallish one room place. I would concentrate on finding work asap.
Well, on the plus side (as long as it's not us lol), someone probably gives up and goes back home almost as often as someone else steps off the bus - so I'd think that really doesn't make that much of a difference on rent. NYC has always been expensive relative to the rest of the country, and the rest of the country has been going up despite job prospects declining rapidly and the real estate market continuing to be shot.. We paid $1250 for our townhouse back in california, and that was in a boring, culture-less pit of a city where a great job was considered to be a 20 hour week at Olive Garden! At least living in NYC, hard as it may be to make it, is by choice whether you're native or transplant - so many people I know are stuck somewhere they hate because rent's gone up again and they can't even save enough to move somewhere a bit less loathsome

I haven't spotted any $1200 astoria studios yet on craigslist, but I'm only looking recreationally until november (and all but ignoring anything but sublets) - if they're out there though that's pretty cool. Hopefully they'll be there come December, or more like january february after we've had time to get some sort of jobs.

On that note, how long does a typical NYC job hunt last?
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:22 PM
 
317 posts, read 722,812 times
Reputation: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxx233 View Post
My wife (23) and I (29) are going to be moving to NYC late November/early December. I venture to say that our situation is... unique and challenging Allow me to explain the situation and what we're starting to formulate as a plan. I know this'll be long, but I'll break it down as best I can so it's easier to reply to just the parts you want to read. I figured it'd be better to try this way first rather than several different threads. We'd greatly appreciate any feedback ranging from recommending minor adjustments all the way to blatantly pointing out utter impossibilities that we've misconsidered!

Our story
Basically we both love the city and have wanted to move there for years. We've both spent decent time there (at least manhattan) and I'd venture to say I'm as familiar with it as one might reasonably be without actually living there, which we want to at least haven taken a solid shot at in our lives. When we finally decided to move from california to NYC we thought, 'Hey... we're selling all our stuff and leaving our jobs... we should take this opportunity to travel some and see everything in between!' So we bought a cargo van, converted the inside into a stealth RV, saved up, stored a bunch of our stuff, and took off. And as it turns out the whole idea was surprisingly sustainable, so we just kept going and having a blast for what's ended up turning into 2 years instead of 3 months as planned But now as we look to finally arrive in NYC that means that I have a 2 year gap on my otherwise decent resume, we haven't had any real rental history for 2 years, our checking account has 2 years of bizarre history, and - I'll admit - we may be ever so slightly out of touch with reality at this point lol. On the plus side what it means is that we're used to doing things people may think unlikely; we're extremely adaptable; not too picky about things that don't matter much; we're masters at having fun on a budget; we have no problem remaining mobile; we're so used to compact living that a small manhattan studio/room would be a mansion; we have diverse work experience in random areas that aren't our normal professions; and we have very disciplined bladders - all things I'm hoping will help in our transition to life in NYC But I know that those 2 year gaps in employment and rental history are going to be rough. My wife works cashier/retail jobs. I've got over 10 years experience in IT, mostly from two 5 year spans of employment - the more recent one being as a programmer and database analyst. But I don't have a degree, which has never even caused a hickup in my life up until this point - although I suspect it to be more of a problem in NYC than I've had in the past. And we won't have income upon arrival, but we will have small savings - about $5k. So the plan we're forming is:

Plan Upon Arrival
We have family near Boston - first step is to ditch the van with them obviously. Although the thought has crossed my mind that we could use it to start a van-for-hire service, it's probably not something I'd want to tackle. We'll leave most our stuff stored in the van either long term or until we're in a situation for it to be useful again - things like kitchen stuff, clothes that aren't in season, etc. Then we hop the chinese bus to NYC. We may end up doing several bus trips to NYC and back while we look for a room and jobs and arrange interviews - staying with family and paying chinese bus fair is definitely our *cheapest* option and 10 hours a day on the road ain't nothin to us anymore - especially if it's broken up into a round trip with a lunch stop each way and we're not the ones driving! Wouldn't want to live that way, that'd be pointless, but we'd have no problem doing that every day for a month or so if need be until we can find jobs/place to live (although *every day* it'd cease to be cheapest option I think.)
Questions:
* Anyone see any flaws in this? We've ridden the bus from nyc to boston before, but I'll admit we're not super familiar with the system or any delays or other problems that occasionally pop up.

Plan for finding a place to live
Upon arrival we'll work our way up the living situation ladder starting at the highest rung we happen to catch a break on within a couple days of arrival. What we're thinking our ladder looks like: [temporary] studio in manhattan > leased room in Manhattan > temporary room in Manhattan > temporary room in Astoria/Williamsburg/somewhere safe-ish > 2 special deal beds in a hostel > chinese bus from boston >= leased room somewhere non-ideal but safe-ish and commutable > giving up and hitting the road again!

I'm thinking we'll likely end up just renting furnished rooms/studio on a temporary basis over and over again for a while - until we have verifiable income at least - moving every couple weeks or so as people go on trips and want to fill their room. Which I don't suspect would be a huge problem logistically - we can pretty easily keep our stuff in a couple plastic bins that would quickly load/unload from the trunk of a taxi, it's basically what we do now anyway. If we get a leased room quickly, for about $1500/mn?, I figure we'd pay 1st month, deposit, and put aside money for the second month, and have whatever money leftover for food - about $500ish probably.
Questions:
* How hard is it to find a couples-friendly room? Many want a single person only it seems. I've been a landlord and subleased rooms before back in california and I can't say I understand this, I liked having couples in rooms personally. Is it rather just "no couples... for the price quoted," or are there more solid reasons that many rooms are not couple friendly, like building/lease restrictions on occupancy maybe?
* Is it possible to get a leased room without income, but paying a bigger deposit or 1st and last month? Should we primarily/only focus on temporarily rooms?
* Has anyone else jumped around between many temporary/short term rooms? Any advice/thoughts? It just seems like that's probably our most realistic option since we won't have jobs for a bit, and probably not 40x income til we can find good stable jobs.
* How long can you stretch $500 for food in NYC? We're fairly good at it - we've been doing a job right now in which we're out in the middle of nowhere pretty much. We've got it down to where we can get about $100 groceries and not have to go back into civilization for 2 weeks. From what I gather groceries seem about 2x more expensive in NYC, but I'm still thinking we might be able to make $500 last a month.

Plan for finding places to work
Getting something lined up before we arrive probably isn't happening, so I don't think we'll bother. When we get to NYC I'm going to try like heck to pick up where I left off on my career track, but while I'm at it I'm probably going to shoot for doing temp work too. My wife is going to go for whatever work is available that she can stand doing, although she wants to take a stab at trying to break into the office world - maybe with some temp work, I think she's got marketable skills for it
Questions:
* Anyone want to chime in with experience on how available temp work is, how long it takes to get, etc? That extra income, whatever it ends up being, is probably going to be pretty important - it's likely the difference between at least having temporary rooms and enjoying [being in] the city as we try to make it rather than chinese bussing in just for interviews, so I'm hoping it's likely that I can reasonably plan on finding *something* temporary in IT at least?
* Also for that matter, how hard is it to come by cashier/retail jobs for my wife? Every city we've been to seems to have lots of these jobs available, so I'm hoping NYC is the same?
* Can anyone recommend good temp agencies to check out?
* Anyone familiar with the NYC IT scene have any comments on how hard it is to get in without a degree? I've got good experience at least, and if it's a good idea I could partially fill that 2 year hole with freelance and contract work that I've done while traveling. Back where I come from we'd probably see that as desperate at best, or an inflated view of one's 'experience' at worst, but if NYC culture might prefer it to a 2 year gap with a cute story as explanation then I'd be game to do some resume additions
I just turned 30 and planning on moving From Miami to NYC by October, I'm also going to road trip it up there but hopefully in 2 days not 2 years... I wish more people would do stuff like this nowadays everyone stays in their cookie cutter mold and it bores the ish** out of me and thats another reason i'm leaving Miami, which everyone is married with kids and stay inside their homes all day and only come out to water the lawn lifestyle(being sarcastic**)...Good Luck
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:02 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,432 posts, read 3,347,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cida View Post
I admire that you took the time to include all that information, but I wonder if it scared off replies, since it was so long.
yes, this was actually what i read first. then i kinda skimmed the OP...

anyway you might try airbnb.com for your "landing pad" it will be a bit pricier but much lower entry requirements regarding income, etc. i sublet my NY apartment for a month this way once and had a good experience. you could use that time to find a more permanent situation

there are probably cheaper parts of queens than astoria although it's not a bad place to start (someone in the thread mentioned this). i assume you were looking for some sort of cheapish but not scary neighborhood?

if you're on a budget i'd recommend maybe kingsbridge in the bronx, or south brooklyn

i know people in IT here without a degree but they did have connections

competition for temp work is fierce

you might consider boiling down your question to a more compact form for more responses. i know it seems super unique (and traveling the country is kinda cool) but we get these kind of "coming to NYC" questions almost daily here
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:16 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 161,922 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by OdysseusNY View Post
you might consider boiling down your question to a more compact form for more responses. i know it seems super unique (and traveling the country is kinda cool) but we get these kind of "coming to NYC" questions almost daily here
Yeah, upon further reflection and having spent more time on these boards, I suppose it really isn't too unique lol. It boils down to "Coming to nyc without an apartment lined up, without a job lined up, oh wait - but with 2 years of unemployment since my last job!" ;) I guess that's the only somewhat different part since I've read much worst situations than ours since having posted this!

I'm actually feeling pretty confident in our move. What it comes down to, is that if it doesn't work then it doesn't work. Travel has quite conveniently opened our eyes to about a million things we want to do before various stages of our lives. Right now we're in the "before we have kids" stage, and that's the only place NYC fits - so whether it's a good time or a bad time to give it a try, now IS the time. If it doesn't work then we'll survive for 2 months, mostly enjoy our time there, value the experience regardless, and tap into the seed funds for the next great idea.

AirBnB is definitely the way to go for those in our situation. Some may think it's an inconvenience to move around every week, but we think it's brilliant! What better way to get a feel for lots of different neighborhoods in a short amount of time? Our plan is to rent the cheapest places in the sketchiest neighborhoods we'd ever consider first. That'll stretch the budget out, first off. But it'll also make us better appreciate each successively 'nicer' neighborhood. And the first week or two especially we'll never be home anyway, or else we're doing it wrong - so safety issues are minimized at least.

I think the important thing for anyone making a move like this is that you have to provide yourself a way out. Have money set aside to get out with. Know what you'd do for work, at least temporarily, once you get to wherever you've bailed out to. Have somewhere lined up that you can go, pretty much for free, if that doesn't pan out. I feel we have a good shot at this move working out for us, but more importantly I know that it's not going to ruin our lives if it doesn't work! That makes it much easier and more enjoyable to look forward to :)
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:01 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 161,922 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler36 View Post
I just turned 30 and planning on moving From Miami to NYC by October, I'm also going to road trip it up there but hopefully in 2 days not 2 years... I wish more people would do stuff like this nowadays everyone stays in their cookie cutter mold and it bores the ish** out of me and thats another reason i'm leaving Miami, which everyone is married with kids and stay inside their homes all day and only come out to water the lawn lifestyle(being sarcastic**)...Good Luck :ok:
I wish more people would travel too. I've started writing a book on our experiences with the purpose being to implore people to make it happen. Hopefully I'll get it to some sort of complete enough stage that I can self publish it lol.. We meet so many people who can only even hope to do something like this when they retire. And retirement keeps getting pushed further and further back. But it'd be incredibly easy for most 20-somethings too, at a time when you can take full advantage of it because you're actually able to go on long hikes and other adventures you may not be able to do by retirement age. It's incredibly sad on that fact alone, that most people just think it's out of reach til you're too old to fully enjoy it :\ But additionally, I believe travel is just plain good for human beings. We're not made only to venture out to water the lawn or commute to work!
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:42 AM
 
317 posts, read 722,812 times
Reputation: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxx233 View Post
I wish more people would travel too. I've started writing a book on our experiences with the purpose being to implore people to make it happen. Hopefully I'll get it to some sort of complete enough stage that I can self publish it lol.. We meet so many people who can only even hope to do something like this when they retire. And retirement keeps getting pushed further and further back. But it'd be incredibly easy for most 20-somethings too, at a time when you can take full advantage of it because you're actually able to go on long hikes and other adventures you may not be able to do by retirement age. It's incredibly sad on that fact alone, that most people just think it's out of reach til you're too old to fully enjoy it :\ But additionally, I believe travel is just plain good for human beings. We're not made only to venture out to water the lawn or commute to work!
Also about your two year gap have you ever thought about maybe putting freelance IT and troubleshooting..You can say you cleaned out hard drives, defraged computers, updated software on your journey or troubleshooted technical problems for friends and family along the way that is considered work.
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