Monday, February 26, 2007

Sing your song

Here's a great idea about searching for a job whether you're trying to go to New York or New Zealand... TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT! When you tell someone what you're after and they can tell you are determined and passionate - you will be surprised how far some people will go out of their way to help you. And help is exactly what you need. Let other people help you; let them tell other people about you in a way you want to be described; word of mouth can be a powerful thing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A new pic

A few of my favorite things

OK, so maybe it's lame, but when you are trying to go through your stuff and decide what to keep decisions can be tough. I knew that I would find items that were hard to know what to do with. My collection of license plates is one such item. Granted it is not a large collection, but it is mine. I have collected most of these plates from states I have lived in and it might be hard to go back and find them all again.They each hold some sort of significance and it is hard to just throw them away. For right now they are safe, but it doesn't seem worth packing up and storing them in a box until I can get them to NYC.

A great comment about moving to New York

I found this comment on another post I often reference: How to move to New York Sane and Not Broke. I think that kimdog adds some valuable thoughts, especially about living the lifestyle. Each time I have gone to New York I have found more free things to do and it just gets better every time.

From kimdog: "I moved to NYC in 2001 after spending most of my life in TN. I was scared shitless, but knew it was something I needed to do in order to begin my career in non-profit management.

I planned for about 6 months before the move, including working a second job to sock away cash, and then I sold my car two weeks before the move, so I had some savings to get started. The scariest part was just making the decision to move. Once I did that, I was too consumed by all the details to get too freaked out. Oh, and I only knew one person in NYC when I arrived

Following on Ben's tidy commentary-

Housing: It's very difficult to find a good living situation remotely. I got a short term sublet so that I could spend time figuring out my best option. I eventually found a great deal with a roommate, and less than a year later got my own apartment. Upper Manhattan is still the undiscovered country. Inwood and Washington Heights have some great deals and certain areas are rapidly gentrifying. If you are willing to walk the streets, talk to people, and make phone calls you an avoid the scam that are NYC brokers and save a ton of cash.

Cost of living- yes it's higher in some respects, but there are trade-offs. I was spending about $300 a month on car insurance, gas and maintenance (and I didn't have a car note). Now my transportation cost $76 a month for an unlimited MetroCard (and my employer pays for $40 of that). Also, incomes generally are higher, but depending on your experience don't expect to make big bucks to start. Like Ben said, get good at what you do. I started out in an entry level position making $32k, and doubled my salary in three years. I used my savings to subsidize my first year in NYC until my salary caught up.

Analyze your expectations- I know many people who spend lots of money to maintain a "lifestyle"- clubs, restaurants, designer clothes, taxis. Many of those people make less than me and are up to their eyeballs in debt. But there are plenty of other paths to take. I've made wonderful friends here, and most of them are native New Yorkers who are just living a life. The city has abundant riches to offer that don't break the bank. Hell, my favorite things are usually free.

Call it a Trade!

Here's a suggestion for getting rid of stuff: Find a friend that's moving at the same time you are. The other day while talking to a friend about his upcoming move we realized that he was going to need nearly everything I am getting rid of. A desk, a microwave, a toaster, even pots and pans. I need to get rid of em and my friend needs em.

Now all I need to do is come up with a bottom dollar amount of everything I want to get rid of and then let him choose what he wants. Now I can sell a large portion of stuff at once and move it all to one location. Seems like a win, win for everyone.

Monday, February 19, 2007

How to Move To New York City Sane And Not Broke

Here is some great advice from an article I mentioned before: HOW TO: Move To New York City Sane And Not Broke - from The Consumerist

LINE UP JOB PROSPECTS. Send out feelers and resumes before you arrive. Tap those personal connections. Let people know you're coming. If you went to college, call up the alumni office and see if they can hook you up with former students in New York. has never done anything for us. Craigslist has. Don't get discouraged if people don't initially seem that interested in you. Tons of people say they're going to move to New York but never do, so NYC veterans learn to take a policy of, 'I'll see it when I see it.' That's okay, just start cranking the wheel on getting a cash flow going as early as possible."

This is something that I am working on right now. I have a trip to the city planned in a few weeks and I have been calling anyone and everyone I know. I have a few informational interviews and several personal meetings already set up and they have all basically come from personal contacts. I visited the city back in November and that is when I actually met some of the people that I will be visiting. It's like the posting above says: once people knew that I was serious and that I was committed to coming they have been much more responsive. Simply sending my resume and saying I would like to come to New York wasn't enough!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Getting Rid of Stuff Continued

Thanks to everyone who checked in with a comment about this post. It is indeed an interesting process to try and decide which things you REALLY need to keep and which things are simply junk that you have accumulated. I have to agree with Adrian that each time you move it seems like you get rid of more crap. I think this is just natural because I am finding that things I once considered "keepers" gradually make their way into the trash or give away pile.

Some of the absolute junk that I am happy to be disposing of:

  • An extensive collection of lanyards and name badges from various conferences and university-related activities.
  • A basket full of crappy Hollister and Abercrombie necklaces & arm bands from my days as a store manager. (I just don't need to wear sea shells around my neck. I am in Nebraska, the ocean is a long way from here.)
  • A flamingo-shaped "yard glass" purchased in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel's pool. ( Comes complete with two handfuls of beads.)

Some of my things that might actually be valuable:
  • A box full of matchbox cars.
  • Several boxes full of baseball and basketball cards and memorabilia.

Cross your fingers that I stumble across a Michael Jordan rookie card.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Getting Rid of Stuff

One piece of advice that I keep coming across : get rid of your stuff! Moving half way across the country is no easy task. The more stuff you take, the harder and perhaps, more expensive it is. Plus, once you get to New York, space is at a premium. I have heard stories of people that have moved with absolutely nothing and started an apartment with cardboard drawer sets and an air matress. If you haven't heard of him yet, Check out this guy that built his furniture from Fed-Ex boxes.

The point is you really have to think about what you want/need to take with you and what you need to simply get rid of. I like to think that this will not be that difficult for me since I have moved several times in the last few years. However, I have been living in the same place for 3 years now, a lifetime by my standards, and have accumulated a lot of "stuff." I began the ugly process of sorting and packing some of my stuff last night by cleaning my desk. I decided while cleaning files and drawers that it might be easiest if I begin placing things in 3 categories.

1. Stuff going to New York
2. Stuff going to storage ( hopefully the smallest category!) ( I promise I will do my best Mom.)
3. Stuff to get rid of. (Throw it away, give it away, whatever, just get rid of it!)
Guess it might be time to pass on my extensive collection of coozys. If I come across any items that I have difficutly parting with I will write a little about it. Until later I march forward with trash can and moving boxes by my side.

Monday, February 12, 2007

HollenbackNet - NyMoveTips

A great list of tips that I found at HollenbackNet - NyMoveTips

Buy a sturdy backpack. You are going to be doing a lot of walking. I recommend a large Jansport or Columbia daypack.

One of the first things you should put in your backpack is a quality collapsible umbrella. Remember all that walking? You have to do a lot of it in the rain.

Bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes. I love Saucony tennis shoes.

Throw a light jacket and a camera in that backpack too.

Don't bring a car to NYC if you can help it. If you absolutely have to bring a car, sell it as soon as possible and/or find a friend who lives outside of Manhattan and has a parking space you can use. I'm still trying to sell the Toyota Camry that feels like an Albatross around my neck.

Start using the subway immediately on the first day you move here. This will be your lifeline. Remember that the Bronx is uptown and Brooklyn is downtown. Purchase an unlimited month metro card. They cost $70 and are a great value if you take at least two rides a day.

Bring a bare minimum of stuff to New York - your apartment will be very small. Don't bring a bicycle unless you actually plan on riding it - storage will be a hassle.

I brought my long skateboard with me and have found that to be a fun transportation alternative.

It's convenient to have a small, lightweight vacuum like an Oreck XL as your apartment will probably have wood floors. Vacuuming is much easier, especially if you have pets.

You can find an apartment that takes dogs and cats relatively easily in New York. It's easiest if you leave the pets back home for a few months and then fly back to get them. You can ship a large dog in a crate on most major airlines for around $80 one way. Most airlines won't take crated dogs during the summer.

Find a bank as soon as possible. I recommend Commerce Bank. Alternately, make sure your current bank is also in New York (example: Washington Mutual). You will be paying a lot of atm fees until you get your banking straightened out.

Cabs are a fast and relatively inexpensive way to get around Manhattan, particularly if you can split the price with several people. Particularly late at night a cab can get you home much faster than the subway. However, during the daytime cabs can be very slow if you get caught in traffic.

How cab signs work: official NYC cabs all work the same way. You can tell it's an official cab because the car is yellow and has a platic "medallion" fixed on the hood". There's an illuminated sign on the front roof of the cab. If the "off duty" part is lit, the cab won't pick you up. That takes precedence over all other combinations. If the cab number between the "off duty" signs is lit, the cab is available and should pick you up. If thecab number is off the cab has a passenger and won't pick you up.

It's the law that an official NYC cab must transport you to any address anywhere in the entire city limits of New York, no matter what.

Cabs without medallions are "gypsy cabs" and are not regulated in any way by the city. Use at your own risk (although my experiences have been fine). Typically gypsy cabs are more expensive than official cabs. Make sure you get a price from the driver before you get in the car.

You can't phone for an official cab - instead you have to call a car service. Pricing will be flat rate - there's a lot of crossover between gypsy cabs and car services.

If a parking meter is broken, it's a legal parking space for one hour.

There only legally has to be one parking sign per block. Some blocks are really, really long - so look sharp.

You can't make a right turn on red in New York City. Get used to it.

A homeless man gave Aaron some valuable advice when he was here: watch the traffic, not the light. No one ever got run over by a traffic light.

Put your wallet in your front pocket and get used to carrying it there.

Two extremely useful books:

Don't forget to bring your social security card and birth certificate when you move (I almost did). You'll need them for your new job and to register your car or get a driver's license.

Walking in crowds: this is a skill that needs to be learned. For the love of god, don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look in your bag. That might work fine on the barren sidewalks of southern California, but it will cause a massive traffic jam in NYC. Always move off to the side if you need to stop. Similarly, strive to walk in as straight a line as possible.

Some NYC blog links to get you wearing trucker hats in no time:

Note that once you live in Nw York, the rest of the universe ceases to exist.

See how well the alarm clock in your cell phone works. Most Nokia phones have extremely loud and convenient alarms (including snooze). I've lived in NY for 6 months and still haven't bought a regular alarm clock because my cell phone works so well.

You are going to spend a lot of money on drinks at bars, because a) your apartment will be tiny, and b) you'll go to bars to meet people. Dive bars such as Rudy's (9th Ave. btw 43rd and 44th) offer the best drink values, such as $3.00 for a Pabst. Try to like drinking Pabst because it's consistently available and cheap. I personally like it. A typical mixed drink at a dive bar is going to set you back $5. I've paid $5.50 for a Bud and $7 for a vodka tonic at the nicer bars (and I don't mean really fancy ones, either). The East Village is by far the best dive bar area of the city. For example, you can play pool and get cans of PBR for $2 at 2x4, which is on the corner of 4th St. and 2nd Ave.

Prepare to do a lot more coughing than you are used too. I find that my disposable contacts don't last as long here, and my throat is always a little scratchy. My theory is that although the smog here is not terrible, there's a lot more particulate matter in the air.

Invest in some sort of portable music device. I've got a Rio 500 MP3 player myself, but a CD player works too. Headphones create a magic protective bubble that most street bums and ragamuffins won't cross.

Say you actually have to park in Manhattan for some reason? Remember the following:

  • You're going to pay cash
  • You're going to pay up front
  • You're going to pay a lot.

When you pull into a lot, someone will approach you and demand money. Try to determine if they actually work for the lot. Are they wearing some sort of uniform or shirt with a company logo on it? Do they talk to (yell at) the other people working in the lot? Are they surly? Your answer should be yes on all counts.

The wheels of commerce in New York are greased with tips. You tip for everything. Never leave the house (well, apartment) with less than $5 in singles on you. Some people you will be tipping:

  • your cabbie
  • the FreshDirect deliveryman
  • your doorman (well, you only tip him at Christmas) (and I hope someday to have one)
  • the shoeshine guy
  • they guy who plays the awesome accordian in the subway tunnel between 8th Ave. and Times Square (ok, not exactly a tip, but give him a buck - he RAWKS)
  • your neighborhood strip club bathroom attendant
  • the chinese food delivery guy
  • your waiter or waitress
Thanks for the tips HollenbackNet!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Big Challenge

Moving to New York is a big challenge. There are so many things to think about and line up before I ever leave that it almost makes me crazy trying to keep it all straight. One of my largest concerns is how I am going to handle moving and keeping my dog. I have a 3 year old Siberian Husky name Takoma. By most accounts, I am not worried because he is a very independent dog and I am willing to do whatever I need to do to make it work. However, owning a dog in New York is no easy task, I have learned this through friends and observation.

If anyone out there has stories or ideas about how to move a dog half-way across the country, or finding a dog walker in the city, I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Great Photos of NYC

I found this site with some great photos of New York, like this one. The perspective the photographer catches of the city is really interesting. Check it out, but beware you can get stuck. I visit almost every day to check out what's new.

Joe's NYC

How to move to New York

Back when I started this blogging thing I found this post titled "How to move to New York Sane and Not Broke." There were a lot of really great thoughts and comments from all kinds of view points. I often come back to these postings to remind me what I need to be focused on. Take a read through the comments and find tons of links to other New York sites.

Also, check out the rest of the blog. It's called The Consumerist, and it has tons of information about products, issues, trends, and all kinds of stuff.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

So why New York?

Sometimes being from the midwest is confusing. It seems like no one is happy here and people are often talking about getting away to somewhere more interesting. But most people never do anything about it. However, when I tell someone that I am moving to New York most people give me a "are you serious" look and ask, "why?"

Although it can be tricky to explain, it's a good question because it helps remind me of exactly why I want to go. I thought I could answer the question out loud by creating a list called: The Top 5 Reasons I want to move to New York.

1.Career - I am ready to begin a career in Advertising and what better place to test my skills and confidence than the mecca of advertising, New York. After graduating I could have gone anywhere, but I thought - Why not really push myself and take it to the top?

2.Friends - I have a number of friends who are either living in New York, or will be returning in the next few years. I look forward to reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a while and making as many new friendships as I can.

3.Transportation - Plain and simple, I am tired of having to deal with a vehicle and its costs. Moving to New York will eliminate my payment, insurance costs, fuel costs and much more.In my previous visits to the city, the subway and bus system has been efficient. Don't get me wrong, public transportation has its downside, but I am willing to sacrifice a little personal freedom for money saved.

4.Culture - New York is home to tons of museums, theaters, music venues and all kinds of other cultural hot spots. There is just so much going on. I can't wait to dive in. I look forward to exploring the city and broadening my horizons at the same time.

5. The Yankees - OK, so this one isn't deep or meaningful. At least maybe not to anyone who isn't a fan of the Bronx Bombers. But I have been a Yankees fan since I was a kid and am excited that it will be easier for me to attend games or catch them on TV. (Thanks to YES Network, nearly every game is televised!)