It’s not necessary to say that New York City is one of the main destinations for all type of people around the world, coming for tourism, business, exchange programs, research, and an endless list of purposes. Nationalities of all over the world co-exist daily in the so called “capital of the world”, generating in this location a unique organized mess.
The bad news is that New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. However, the companies offer good salaries and the city offers many activities that are free (or very low cost), if you know where to find them. In the warmest time of the year you’ll be able to encounter many events, concerts, movies and sports for free outdoors. In winter and with bad weather it’s a bit more complicated to make plans with a tight budget, but check out for the great offer of museums and galleries (there is always some day for free, and others have an entrance by donation).
When it comes to housing, students and trainees should expect to live with some roommates, since living alone raises the cost quite a lot. Finding an affordable apartment in NYC is always challenging, but following some of our tips, you can find a way to make your stay more economic and enjoy your time in the city. Prepare some money in advance, because to enter in an apartment you will have to pay first month and another month’s rent as deposit. Some landlords ask as well for the last month in advance. A room in a shared apartment in Manhattan goes from $1,200 to over $2,000. For that reason most of students and trainees stay in more economic areas, connected to the city by the MTA public transportation (subway, train and bus).
- Upper Manhattan and the Bronx: still attached to Manhattan, areas like Washington Heights, Harlem or the lower streets of the Bronx are a very common choice. Prices go from $800 for a room in a shared apartment. When living in the Bronx, try to stay in the lower streets, since it’s a safer area.
- Queens: Mainly the areas of Astoria and Sunnyside, very well connected to Manhattan, are also a good option to find and apartment, even more if you are into arts, since many artists live around. Prices start from $750 or $800.
- Brooklyn: the west of Brooklyn is as expensive as Manhattan, but if you search in areas like Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bedstuy), Bushwick, Crown Heights or Bayridge you can find great deals. Be aware of not going too much Eastern than that, it can be cheaper but less safe. Prices go from $850, and it’s very recommendable if you commute to downtown Manhattan.
- New Jersey: West of Manhattan and connected to it by trains and buses that arrive to 34th St Penn Station and the PATH in Financial District, New Jersey is a very economic option for those whose work is close to these points in the city or don’t fear a longer commute. The prices of a room in NJ start from $600, but you have to add the fare of transportation to the city, since it does not belong to the MTA system. You can find more about it in the NJ Transit website (https://www.njtransit.com).
Chef Training US advice!
For your safety and the safety of your money, we always recommend our participants to rent a temporary legit place (hostels, hotels, Airbnb rooms) during the first weeks, and search your new living place on site. This will help you avoid scams and fake websites that show apartments which don’t exist and rip you off. Once in US, make sure you have a signed contract for your room, and you get a receipt of every payment you do regarding rent and apartment fees.
Ask us about our apartment partners! We collaborate with a firm in NY that provides furnished rooms in apartments around the city, prepared for our participants.
Resources: where do I search?
- Craiglist: still the most common option in the city. There is a lot of scam, though, so always go to see the apartment in person before getting into a contract or paying any deposit. (craigslist.org)
- Gypsy Housing and Gypsy Housing NYC Facebook groups: although it sounds strange, a huge number of people find their room by these groups, mostly if you can’t sign a 12 months lease because you stay a shorter period. There are some brokers but it’s mainly peer to peer. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NYC.BK.Apartments & https://www.facebook.com/groups/GypsyHousingBrooklyn)
- Trulia: works pretty good for any city in the States.
- Padmapper: allows an easy search with map and a lot of filters (https://www.padmapper.com/apartments/new-york-ny)
- Street Easy: it’s an app, although it has a PC version. It shows full apartments, not rooms. Perfect if you know already the roomies you are going to share with. (https://streeteasy.com/)
- Roomi: And if you don’t know the roomies yet, you can find roomies in this other app. You can also find rooms that someone who needs a roomie posts. (https://roomiapp.com/)
- Nooklyn: for apartments only in Brooklyn neighborhoods. You can also find roomies here (https://nooklyn.com/)
Do not forget to check for…
- Public transportation: this is a big city, make sure your apartment is not too far from a subway station. You’ll regret only being able to get home by bus or walking more than 15min from the subway station.
- Be aware whether utilities are or not included in the price. Electricity is expensive in NY. Try to avoid electric heating, it’s much more expensive than radiant (hot water).
- Always ask if the building has had problems with bugs or mice and if they provide an exterminator. Many buildings are old and can have issues with cockroaches or mice if they are not well taken care of. Also ask about mold if you are renting a basement.