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Off to New York

Two years is about long enough. Several of my friends, upon visiting or moving to San Francisco, instantly fell in love with it. I like it OK, but I don’t love it and never felt quite at home here for several reasons. But that’s a topic for another time.

When the opportunity arose to move to New York, we figured why the hell not. So, we’re taking up residence in NYC in December. We’re busy with the many things we need to do before we go, but we’re looking forward to the many things we’ll be doing once we get there. Your suggestions on NYC living are welcome.

Reader comments

tomcosgraveOct 20, 2002 at 3:07PM

I've no advice for you both, so I'll just wish you the best of luck in your new city!

DJSUbgOct 20, 2002 at 3:13PM

Might I suggest you look at Brooklyn for cheap(er) options in the whole apartment thing. Though I must admit we're getting priced out of our 'hood.

Glad to see you'll be straight up East Cost now!

BobbyOct 20, 2002 at 3:44PM

Congrats J. I used to live in San Francisco for 12 months myself while I was attending the Academy of Art, which I dropped out of for accreditation reasons... anyway, I felt the same way, couldn't quite adjust to the city (I am an L.A. person). In particular, it bothered me that we lived on "snob" hill and merely blocks away there were crack whores, pushers, orgies, and other assorted "nightlife". It also seemed like there was a terrible fire within 1 block of our building every week. To top it off, the homeowner's assoc. were procrastinating tree huggers that insisting the leaking ceilings, dim lighting, and 100-year-old elevator was "part of the charm" of living in SF.

Needless to say, my then-girlfriend, now-wife, and I dropped out and moved back to L.A.

ahhh I love the smell of new plastic and wide 2-way roads.

AnilOct 20, 2002 at 4:01PM

Want to be real Manhattanites? Try running yourselves ragged looking for a place to live!

Oh, right.

Cory DoctorowOct 20, 2002 at 4:28PM

Hey, Jason! Tell us more about what made it hard for you to fit in here in SF. I'm in much the same boat -- I just can't get comfortable here. I'd be interested in knowing more about your reasons for leaving.

PeterOct 20, 2002 at 4:44PM

Yeah, a weblog about finding an apartment in Manhattan would be entertainment in and of itself.. I hear it's an absolutely murderous task (unless you have $3k a month to drop on one).

MisanthropystOct 20, 2002 at 5:40PM

Advice re: moving to Manhattan?

Be rich.

Drew BellOct 20, 2002 at 5:45PM

Last Monday, we celebrated the one year anniversary of our move to New York. You'll hear many horror stories, but it only took us three weeks to find work and an apartment in Manhattan. We're not independently wealthy, either; student loans and a temp job can pay for food and our $1400 one-bedroom in the East Village. Chin up!

brentOct 20, 2002 at 6:11PM

My advice. Go live in Jersey. A lot cheaper, close to the cities (Philly). Walks on the beach are one way South/East (GSP either to Cape May or Belmar). Moutains one way West (287, 195, for the ski buffs in the Poconos). Canada a little to the North (for the money you will be saving the trip to the cheaper northern neighbor). The trains aren't too bad but nothing like what SF might have, never been there. If nothing fits in the budget give it a shot.

tamimOct 20, 2002 at 6:20PM

A long time ago, in another age, I was looking for a place in St. Marks Place. The building greeted me with a large notice: "Everything is under surveillance 24/7." The "apartment" I was shown could only fit either me or my bed, but not both at the same time; unless I decided to jump on the bed just as I opened the door.

Gristedes sells neat rotisserie chickens (usually fresh off the oven at 6:00-6:30 PM) that are priced same as raw whole chicken and demotivates the urge/need to cook. Other grocery items there are also usually priced lower than D'Agostino. Of course everything is cheaper in the groceries in Brooklyn and Queens. Though you can see the Costco in Astoria from Midtown/East Side, you will need a car to get there. It doesn't have easy subway access. Just like the Moon, some times things you can see are not as close and easily accessible as you'd think.

If you need directions for places, feel free to ask strangers on the street. Don't bother asking the Police. They rarely live in the City and have no idea where an address or building is; even in they are standing right outside or walk/drive past it in their daily beat. Same goes for professional women working in the business district south of Canal St. If you ever get lost there, ask the Asian sidewalk vendors. Even though they are not as fluent in English, they know their streets, addresses well. Tip: mention the name of the street, building, and subway stop with an "I am lost" facial expression. They'll point you in the right direction.

Generally, the subway stairwells in the East side of the street are to UPTOWN platforms, while the ones on the West side sidewalk are for DOWNTOWN platforms. Subway entrances with Green lights/balls stay open 24/7, while the ones with Red lights/balls are closed at night.

So, why are you moving to NY?

TomOct 20, 2002 at 7:10PM

Uncomfortable? SF? I must live in a different San Francisco...

Then again, I know a lot of bay area natives, so that kinda helps.

jeremyOct 20, 2002 at 7:10PM

I lived in San Francisco for from '96 till early this year, when I moved to San Diego for work related reasons. I have gone back for weekend trips a few times since, and found myself enjoying the city much more than I had in the last few years there. I think it will remain a destination locale for me, but I don't miss living there.

My wife and I also visited NYC for the first time a couple months ago. We really, really, really enjoyed it. We are in a holding pattern till my wife finishes her degree at SFSU later this year, and I feel no great attraction to San Diego (the weather is great though!), so I have been seriously considering the possibilty of relocating to NY. It really had that feeling of just connecting with a place, though frequent visits in the interim should serve to verify that.

You are probably already aware, but the guys at may be of some help.

I wish you the best, and look forward to your view on the move and trials and tribulations of life in the Big Apple.

Todd DomineyOct 20, 2002 at 7:12PM

Wow - that's a mighty big move. Moving, at least for me, can be such an insanely stressful, mind altering experience. Just try to find the humor in it all whenever you can, and the experience will be much easier to swallow. Best of luck.

AmyOct 20, 2002 at 7:28PM

In no particular order:
1. Buy the smallest size of everything. NY apartments have small closets or no closets.
2. Don't eat in chain restaurants.
3. If you'll have a car, remember that it's illegal to make a right on a red in NY (locals hate it when visitors and newcomers do this).
4. Real NYers don't go to the Statue of Liberty.
5. Black clothes.
6. No tax on clothes in NJ. Lots of tax on clothes in NY.
7. Pumpernickel bagels with olive and pimento creamcheese.
8. The naked cowboy is a little scary.
9. Pigeons WILL nest on your fire escape.
10. If you're going to Jones Beach in the summer, leave early or be prepared to sit in traffic for hours.
11. Everyone delivers. The video store. McDonalds ( chain restaurants). Dry cleaning. Everyone.

MariannOct 20, 2002 at 7:51PM

Check out this LiveJournal entry by Reive, a model and freelance writer who lives and works in NYC. It's mostly meant for visitors, but newly-moved residents might find something useful in the list. Good luck with your move!

tamimOct 20, 2002 at 8:01PM

Just to add to Amy's points:

3. NO TURNS IN RED. Only within NYC. Essentially, just move when the lights are Green and stop on your tracks in Red. In WC, LI and Upstate you can turn right on Red.
6. No sales tax on clothes and shoes under $110/item in NYC. 3% (up to 4.5%) sales tax on everything in NJ.
7. The Naked Cowboy is not really "naked." He wears white briefs, boots and a Stetson hat.
10. If you are leaving late (after 10 AM) for Jones beach from the City, take LIRR. Faster, cheaper, less stressful.

Seth WerkheiserOct 20, 2002 at 8:29PM

Wow, im planning moving there next summer. My wife hopes to go to school in Manhatten. What a challenge that will be. We live in the Poconos though, the armpit of the tri-state area where we like to entertain tourists. Yea,

Joe MallerOct 20, 2002 at 8:57PM

Sell your car(s).

I came to NYC from LA in 1994. Our first two apartments sucked. I've been hearing that way-uptown Manhattan is the 'New Brooklyn', but there are amazing deals available downtown. Nothing against Brooklyn or Queens, but one of the reasons I moved here was so I'd never have to commute again. The subway's a lot nicer than the freeway, but it's hard to beat walking to work.

I agree with the comment about no chain restaurants, they're totally unnecessary here. Try not to eat the same ethnicity twice in a single week. Use the parks, visit the museums (most of which are suggested donation for admission and free one night a week). Take walks constantly, every neighborhood has it's own personality. Watch people. The busses work really well but anything less than 15 minutes walk is usually faster on foot. Enjoy your shoes, you'll go through them quickly.

My wife and I love it here, I hope you will both find happiness here too.

ApostleOct 20, 2002 at 9:29PM

I lived on the west coast for a year before moving back to Chicago. I could never quite put my finger on why I left... I just wasn't a west coast kinda guy.

In Chicago, we spend alot of time trying to stay warm. Big coats. Big black boots. Lots of snow. There is a table right in front the fireplace at Anne Sather on Belmont that I like to sit at.

Reading inside, when its cold--really cold--outside is something truly amazing.

And summer, after a truly grueling winter is, well, a blessing.

Friends who visit from warmer climates can never understand why I stay in Chicago... It's home I suppose.

Christopher RobbinsOct 20, 2002 at 9:51PM

La Mela is an itlian restaurant on the edge of little italy with lots of character. You ahve to walk through the kitchen to get to the dining area, they don't give you a menu - rather bringing you what they feel you'll like, and they charge wine by marking the 2 litre bottle when you get there, and checking how much of it si left when you leave. plus there is a large paper mache phallus that will light up if you tell them it is your brithday.

Cafe La Fortuna is a cafe on the upperwest side (70 or 60something and Ams), with an opera theme and a cute little back area for drinking your Iced Chocalate Mocha and biscotti. Trust me, it is not starbucks, and it is not diner.

überchickOct 20, 2002 at 10:00PM

always keep a comfortable pair of shoes around.

Stef NobleOct 20, 2002 at 10:22PM

And remember to visit upstate NY once in awhile, especially way up north. I like NYC just fine, but poor upstate is always forgotten... *sniff*

vixOct 20, 2002 at 10:32PM

This is all very helpful as someone who may be moving to Manhattan in the upcoming year myself, so thanks for all the info. I'm a big believer in not wasting time in places that don't feel like home; I lived in Minneapolis five years longer than I wanted to and moving away has been such a good thing. Visiting Minneapolis makes me regard it with less animosity than ever before, but like someone else said, I never regret not living there anymore.

SalOct 20, 2002 at 11:36PM

The girlfriend and I visited NYC back in April/May and stayed with a friend going to Columbia. Our friend had this great little book that we used the entire time we were there. It was small enough to fit in my back pocket and head pretty much everything we needed. You can pick one up at your local Borders or buy one online.

HmOct 20, 2002 at 11:44PM


Tommy H.Oct 20, 2002 at 11:48PM

Good luck living in New York mate. I hope it's as nice as living in the original York (where I live.)

cpOct 21, 2002 at 12:14AM

This has been a raging debate for myself and a lot of my friends too. It really comes down to where your friends are, and letting the city you live in become a scapegoat for a lot of incidental dissatisfaction in your life. And, there's something about san francisco that's unsettling for a lot of people who move here I feel like. It has a lot to do with the hype that sf has around it (or used to have), the bubble bursting, and then the extremely inconvenient lifestyle inherent to this city. I've decided that I'm leaving the bay area as soon as I finish my degree, but I'll always love san francisco. You'll miss it too once you leave, the weather! But, also, it's really tough for any city to compare to nyc. Good luck with the move.

Martin ConaghanOct 21, 2002 at 1:03AM

I've just come back from a six-day trip in NYC, attending Streaming Media East.

It was a fantasic city to visit, but I wouldn't want to die there - no-one would notice.

ShaneOct 21, 2002 at 2:50AM

Rumor has it that the NYC govt. has developed real estate incentive programs going for the area around the WTC - think cheaper* rent, more space. Not sure what the locallites think of the plan or the area, however - they tend to stereotype based upon where in the city you live.

PaulsonOct 21, 2002 at 4:11AM

Bah! New York's overrated. Dirty, egotistical, and competituve for the sake of competition. Ok, so they do have a vastly better arts scene than SF, but try getting out of the city for some fresh air on the weekend, or *gasp* the afternoon, which are incredibly easy to do in SF, even without a car.

bobbisquickOct 21, 2002 at 6:04AM

Apartment Hunting in NYC -

Prices will not differ much from San Francisco, but amount of space per dollar will. I reccomend Brooklyn. There are some Manhattan Neighborhoods that you could afford (Way Upper West Side, Washington Heights, etc...) or you could spend forever trying to find some special deal (every one knows someone who got a special deal), but the reality is that Manhattan is overpriced for very small apartments. There are many cool neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are cheaper, have more space, and probably have a shorter commute than if you lived uptown in Manhattan. Check out Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Park Heights, Green Point, etc...
Also, remember that you will probably get scammed in the signing a lease area. Many places will ask for First and Last Two Months plus a security deposit or a brokers fee or somesuch. How much you pay depends on how desperate you are to actually find a place. Remember that any brokers fee over 15% is illegal, but you may be so desperate that you don't care. I don't live in NYC anymore, but my last apartment I had to drop $6G's to move in.

Noel BOct 21, 2002 at 6:42AM

Most people who move to NY wind up being very Manhattan-centric, which is understandable and all, but I would recommend exploring the outerboroughs once the Manhattan thing starts to wear off. As mentioned earlier, Brooklyn has a whole lot to check out. Flushing Queens is pretty cool too, kind of like a second Chinatown. I wouldn't miss Socrate's sculpture park either, it's right next to the Costco someone mentioned before (Costco?!?), it's usually pretty deserted which is an exteremly rare thing for someplace in NY.

Also, the following stores in Manhattan are worth checking out: Moss, the Conran Store, Zakka, J&R, and B&H.

And for your listening pleasure, you can turn to:

Mike BOct 21, 2002 at 6:45AM

Although I've never lived there, if you're not attached to being on Manhattan, proper, I'd recommend Park Slope, Brooklyn (or is it Queen's?). There's a funky village feel to it, prices are a little cheaper, and it's a pretty quick subway trip into lower Manhattan.

Good luck - I've always wanted to spend a few years living in NYC. Maybe when the g/f is done law skule.

Phil OyeOct 21, 2002 at 7:15AM

I moved to NYC four years ago and I love it.

As to the apartment finding process. It definitely deserves its horrible reputation. However, you can find deals in Manhattan, for instance, try bribing the super to cut the broker out of the deal. Highly unethical, but very satisfying.

But I would recommend living in Manhattan if you can afford it. Manhattan is why you move to NYC in the first place, right? Move to Brooklyn later when the novelty wears off, you need to save money, or you get kids.

A few good Manhattan neighborhoods to check out. The Lower East Side and Hell's Kitchen. Both are relatively cheap, each with a good (but totally different) vibe.

iainOct 21, 2002 at 7:20AM

Williamsburg Brooklyn is kind of dirty, very pretentious, too hip - but pretty fun. And cheaper than Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and other popular Brooklyn neighborhoods. Greenpoint is also a good place to check out - though the commute to Manhattan is a little longer.

To clarify a few of Tamim's comments above: NJ does not charge sales tax on clothing at all; NYC cops often live in the city (the boroughs DO count) and almost always know their way around and can provide directions. They can be rude sometimes - but so can everyone.

DavidOct 21, 2002 at 7:32AM

Some great advice above me. Here's some more on food and transportation (the two things that matter most in this town):

~ Expect your shoes to wear out a lot quicker than they used to. My black everyday work shoes last 10 months on average.

~ Convenient directional tip: Even east, odd up. On crosstown streets, traffic on even-numbered streets generally flows east, and odd-numbered addresses are always on the north side of the street.

~ Buy a Zagat guide right away. As noted above, skip the chain restaurants, except for Subway, because everyone loves Subway, and Starbucks, which has become ingrained in New York culture despite its residents' feigned disdain.

~ Unlimited-ride Metrocards are a must. Learn the bus routes and not just the subways.

~ Dairy lovers shamelessly patronize the Mister Softee truck--accept no imitations--while the diet-conscious really do eat Tasti-D-Lite.

~ Dining out is far more affordable when liquor consumption is held in check.

~ Don't bother trying to hail a cab between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The cabbies switch rotations at 5.

~ AirTrain to Newark is easier than a taxi to JFK, so long as you don't have too many bags.

And when you get sick of eating and moving around, find a park bench. Many parks have been rehabilitated lately and are pleasant oases in the concrete jungle.

DavidOct 21, 2002 at 7:52AM

This, too: In New York, we don't stand in line, we stand on line. We don't have a reason why, we just do.

BenOct 21, 2002 at 7:53AM

So what was "the opportunity" that came up?

My uneducated tips for New York: Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled for 20 minutes. Beware of ice cubes that may not have been made with purified water. Watch for pickpockets on public transportation. Use traveler's checks, not cash... ah wait, that's all stuff for Mexico.

GenOct 21, 2002 at 7:54AM

Best burger in NYC = Corner Bistro (beware long lines!)
Best late night eats = Florent on Gansevoort (24 hrs!)
Best Vietnamese = Restaurant Vietnam (in Chinatown)
Best Foodie resource = Manhattan message board
Best Electronic Music store (vinyl) = Satellite Records on Bowery South of Houston
Best Electronic Music store (CD) = Virgin in Union Square. Tower sucks.

Brooklyn's great if you've already lived in Manhattan and want something bigger/sometimes cheaper. However, I'm with Joe Maller- live in Manhattan (preferably South of Midtown) at least for your first year.

J&R & B&H are both worthy of repeat mention.

Go to the Cloisters in the Spring or Fall for a great break from the City, while still in Manhattan.

NPR is on WNYC 820 AM, 93.9 FM. It's no KCRW, but it's ok.

Rent a car and visit the Storm King Art Center. Bring a picnic lunch. Enjoy big modern art.

I prefer to live in brownstones/townhouses. I've looked at many of the new highrises and they're just not for me. I feel as if we're in Manhattan and living in a walk-up is part of the experience. Being in a big, new high-rise that could be anywhere else in the nation isn't really "New York." Big old apartment buildings are a different story but most of those are co-op, not rental.

Feel free to try to find an apartment without a broker but my experience is that no-broker places are usually poorer quality or go so fast that you won't ever get a chance. I've moved twice in 2 years and had to use a broker both times. But if you have the time and the energy, you might be able to save yourself the broker's commission. Just be sure to be using a broker at the same time so you can see more apartments.

The East Village may be hip, but public transportation to/from there sucks. I say Chelsea or Murray Hill or Grammercy.

Jason.roberts.nameOct 21, 2002 at 8:47AM

I live in Connecticut, about an hour from the city...I wrote meg this morning woshing you guys luck...I recently stumbled across the love story while reading we've got blog.
If you guys ever need a tour of the outskirts...CT...give a holla(as they say)
p.s. the comment system won't let me post my .name e-mail address, saying it's not valid. holla back...
a new-b-logger

SamOct 21, 2002 at 8:56AM

Renting an apartment in New York City

Expect to pay a lot. Manhattan is great, if you like a lively neighborhood. Always look at an apartment before deciding anything. Never trust photos. Go through a broker, for sure. It's possible (but very difficult) to find a nice apartment in Manhattan without going through a broker, but truly, they have the best stuff. Most brokers' fees run 15% of your annual rent, or 2400, whichever is higher. You will also need at least one month's rent as a security deposit, maybe even two months. If you're looking for a one-bedroom that's large enough to contain furniture and breathe in, that'll run about 1800 in the nicer neighborhoods, 1500 in the crummier ones.

Cheaper than Manhattan, and full of students and young working people. Tends to fall into one of the following categories: a) Painfully trendy, b) Crummy and not-safe-at-night, c) At least an hour away by subway. Williamsburg and Greenpoint are cheap, but pretty crummy. Worthwhile neighborhoods include Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. People come here who can afford Manhattan, but are sick of the busy-ness of life in Manhattan. Decent one-bedrooms will run about 1400-1600. Brokers' fees will be about 1 month rent, deposit the same. Compared to Manhattan, it's easier to find apartments here without going through a broker.

Very residential. If you're looking for excitement, this is not the borough you want. Lots of families. Try Astoria for somewhere that's not too far from Manhattan (20 minute ride on the subway to Midtown), and pretty safe. Decent one-bedrooms run about 1200 to 1400 here. Brokers' fees are about 1 month rent, deposit is usually also 1 month rent. Compared to Manhattan, it's easier to find apartments here without going through a broker.

Don't bother with the Bronx or Staten Island.

MishaOct 21, 2002 at 9:02AM

Everyone I've known who moved to New York got their first apartment in Manhattan because they thought "where else would I live? Manhattan is New York City, right?"

Everyone I've known who moved to New York regretted that decision and wished they'd moved to Brooklyn instead. And I do mean everyone.

Face it, the rent are cheaper, the apartments are bigger, and all your friends are gonna be living in Brooklyn anyhow. It's not like you're moving to the suburbs, either! Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg -- these are the hubs of cool and liveable communities that draw plenty of Manhattanites across the bridge to eat and drink and shop. And on a nice day, you can walk or bike to work across the Brooklyn Bridge, and there's no commute better than that.

mean guyOct 21, 2002 at 9:25AM

I'm glad to hear that your moving to NYC. The reason why SF sucks is because of the people that live there. Can you say snobs? Every person I've met from San Francisco think they are the center of the uinverse living in the center of the universe. SF is dirty, overpriced, overidden with bums, culturally void and filled with pretentious assholes. NYC has some of that but its NYC baby! They can be that way for being the best city in world. And the music scene in SF sucks as well. Sorry for all the bitching but I really don't know why people rave about SF.

Boring MeOct 21, 2002 at 10:12AM

Some fun basics:

You have to eat here and here and, of course, here.
This is a nice guide.
So is this one. The neat thing about eating along India Row is that they have people on post outside of the restaurants, calling out to you and trying to sway your decision: "Don't eat there, we have better bread." "Don't listen to him. Eat here, we have live music."

Shop here and here and here.

Attend this and this and this. At least once.

Listen in here and here and here.

Read this and this every once in a while.

Also, buy yourself this and this and this.

You are going to have a blast.

mclaughOct 21, 2002 at 10:33AM

As you two are searching for housing, don't hesitate to use NYCwireless as a guide to free high speed net access for your Ibooks.

I live in Bayside, Queens, and the scene isn't that bad- neither is nearby Forest Hills. While it isn't Manhattan, we can actually keep cars, and still access the city as we need to (LIRR from bayside or the subway from Forest Hills). I commute to Manhattan every day, it's fine. Plus, most of my friends live in Manhattan, so I can stay in there if it's not convenient to go back to Queens after a long night. YMMV.

New York also has a craigslist, so check there for apartments- you might get lucky.

Restaurant opinions will come and go- you'll settle into an area, experience what's around there. You'll venture outside it to visit friends and eat at their favorite places. Eventually you'll hit the spots that everyone talks about, and probably wonder why you travelled all that way when there's a similar spot that's just as good near where you live. But, I also swear by the chowhound link published above- I recently ate at a sushi place that they panned, and it was real bad....

I grew up on LI, I don't recommend living there, but I'm available if you have questions about anything.
And, like many other NYers said, email us if you need anything.

LauraOct 21, 2002 at 10:33AM is a great place to find apartments... I don't know why everyone thinks it's so expensive to find a place. Many on here are under $2000/month. Split by two that's only $1000. If you consider that you are saving money each month not needing a car, car insurance, or gas money, the rent turns out cheaper than most cities where you need all those things. Good luck to you. I am moving up there next October.

Mark ShewmakerOct 21, 2002 at 10:37AM

First of all, check out

You'll be a stop soon. Find out which neighbors share your blogging tastes and inhabit accordingly.

Live in Manhattan your first year, get it out of your system, then move to Brooklyn. My wife and I live in Park Slope and enjoy it's mix of Village arty-ness coupled with reasonable (and larger) rents. Make sure you check out the Chip Shop(London style fish and chips, the best in the city) on 5th Ave. if you ever make it out to the 'Slope.

Beyond rent, EVERYTHING is more expensive in Manhattan, so be prepared for 20 dollar bills to fly out of your wallet the moment you walk out of your miniscule apartment. Oh, and don't make the mistake of freaking out on your neighbor(like I did!) when you realize they're a famous rockstar/artist/author. It's the surest sign that you're a recent transplant.

mauraOct 21, 2002 at 11:02AM

Go Queens! I love Queens - when I was growing up I'd visit there all the time to visit my parents' friends, and now that I live there I feel absolutely at home -- Astoria's very neighborhoody, with tons of restaurants and bars -- Uncle George's for Greek food, the Neptune Diner, this Brazilian coffee shop that serves humongous pastries, the cafebars that are open 'til 5am -- amazing places to walk, a museum where you can play Zork and Adventure just a few blocks away, convenient to pretty much everything (including my childhood home). I love it. Living in Manhattan is a dream for me, yeah (hey, Annie was my favorite musical growing up), but Queens is absolutely ace.

markOct 21, 2002 at 11:10AM

You've made a good start on being a New Yorker with this post. The only real difference between New Yorkers and the rest of us is that New Yorkers spend way, way, way more time talking about the differences between New Yorkers and the rest of us.

BeefcakeOct 21, 2002 at 11:16AM

QUEENS!! Maura said it.
Astoria, Flushing, even Jackson Heights.
Its the only place to live in NYC unless your pops left you a trust fund, and you can keep your car cause there will be parking!
Go Mets!

michaelOct 21, 2002 at 11:28AM

I moved to the East Village from Ireland just over a year ago and its probably the best, most friendly place ever. Great bars, people, cheap (and good) places to eat ifyou keep a lookout.

Would recomend d.b.a. (bar on 1st Ave and 2nd) with its huge beer/spirit collection.

Scott HeifermanOct 21, 2002 at 11:44AM

jk: you'll have fun. give a holler!

action jacksonOct 21, 2002 at 11:48AM

you might want to hit up the bath-houses one more time before you leave sf you gay ass bitch

SamOct 21, 2002 at 12:13PM

Damn! Isn't anyone going to speak up for SF??...
This city Rulz if you live in it right......... 'Course, the last two years here have been one extended kidney punch, esp. if you're A) somehow related to the design or tech industries, and B) were even thinking about staying stably employed here.... But c'mon, is everyone currently hating it here, without exception?

JeremiasOct 21, 2002 at 1:23PM

It's been a while since I lived in NYC but if you happen to land in the East Village here are some memories:

Egg Creams
No, there's no egg in them but they are the best liquid refreshment ever. The ingredients are:
Fox's Ubet chocolate syrup
Whole milk (ideally half frozen)
Plain seltzer.

The bigger the better. You can usually find them in one of the delis off of Tompkins Square Park.

Indian Row
Just walk down 6th street in the East Village at night and you'll smell it. An entire street's worth of Indian restaurants. I'm sure one of them is better than the others but I couldn't tell you which.

My favorite daytime movie theater, the Theatre 80 on St. Marks, stopped showing films years ago, but to satify your avant-garde film jones go to the Anthology Film Archives at 32 2nd avenue.

Much more, but I'll stop here.

CamOct 21, 2002 at 2:28PM

I moved to New York in February of 2000 and found my first 2BR apartment in Park Slope through an ad in the Village Voice. I impressed the landlord enough with my pre-prepared packet of paperwork that he chose me over his other propsective tenants. I moved in with my twin brother and lived there for two years. It was a pretty nice place.

I've since moved to Manhattan to an apartment about a fifth the size. Yeah, it's smaller but it's in Manhattan. It just means I have to watch how much stuff I accumulate. Anyone wants some books? :-p

I found my second apartment through Craigslist, which I highly recommend once you figure out how to weed out the brokers posing as a landlords.

It might be a good idea for you and Meg to sublet a place for a couple of months and spend that time searching for someplace that you like better. There's nothing worse than being locked into a lease for an apartmen you hate.

And don't forget to subscribe to the New Yorker magazine. I also find it fascinating to pay attention to what people are reading on the subways. And don;t forget to spend time at The Strand (used book store) -- eight miles of books indeed!

conspiracy-girlOct 21, 2002 at 2:35PM

conspiracy theory.

going to work for nick denton's blog media startup?

jkottkeOct 21, 2002 at 2:50PM

to work for nick denton's blog media startup?

Good guess, but no.

And thanks to everyone for the excellent advice and best wishes. Not to disappoint the Brooklyn and Queens backers, but we've pretty much decided on Manhattan for a year at least.

As for why I'm not comfortable in SF, I don't think I want to get into that. I know there's lots of good stuff about living in the Bay Area for a lot of people, but I guess I'm not one of them.

KevinOct 21, 2002 at 3:59PM

MUST-try restaurants in New York... Sammy's Romanian (steaks, schmaltz and egg creams), Katz's Deli (Pastrami sandwiches) and Gray's Papaya (cheap and delicious hot dogs). When I go near NYC I often go out of my way to drive into the city for these treats! Also - when you head down to Phillyland, go to Geno's and Jim's for real philly cheesesteaks. Best museums in NY - Frick Collection and Guggenheim.Have a blast!

AmyOct 21, 2002 at 4:14PM

Adding to the restaurant list: Marino's on 83rd(ish) and York.

I second the Storm King recommendation. And the "Go Mets" sentiment. (Bil Buckner ha ha ha.)

WitoldOct 21, 2002 at 4:17PM

Just stay away from my neighborhood pal.
Just kidding.

*************** COUPON ***************

free weekend Breakfast with us, on the
Upper West Side, (only if you guys are nice.)

*************** COUPON ***************

it is about time you move here.

WitoldOct 21, 2002 at 4:46PM

(you can call it brunch...)

oh, btw...
- what part of Manhattan are you guys moving to?
- hope you are aware that it gets a “little chilly” here in december.
- we do have earthquakes here too. Last one’s epicenter was actually up the block from me here, on 96th and Amsterdam Ave.
- nobody not fit New York City into this little comment window thingy...

DavidOct 21, 2002 at 5:04PM

Skip India Row on 6th Street. A friend who used to write a rat column for New York magazine claims that the basement level of that block is one giant rat party. Go to Nyonya for Malaysian instead!

AnilOct 21, 2002 at 5:18PM

Having been raised on Indian food, and working a block away from 6th street, don't eat a goddamn thing on that blighted gastronomical abomination. In addition to the health inspection issues, the food is miserable. Any one of the Baluchi's locations should do in a pinch if you need quick, decent Indian food.

The rest of these comments are fascinating. There's not really any reason to leave Manhattan, Brooklyn is overrated, and this town's got plenty of ways to get by on the cheap.

Joe KaczmarekOct 21, 2002 at 5:29PM

Kottke and Zeldman in the same city?!? If a nuke hits NY my two favorite 'blogs are gonners.

HowardOct 21, 2002 at 5:30PM

I am psyched to welcome you folks to my home city, even if I live in Jersey now. You've got a friend in the Garden State (exit 165).

CamOct 21, 2002 at 5:32PM

Anil is correct. Most of the Indian restaurants on 6th are medicre at best. You're better off going to The Coffee Shop in Union Square or any one of the Zen Palate locations. Sammy's Roumanian Jewish Steakhouse is a fantastic experience but only good for reserved celebratory parties, and expect to drop a minumum of $50-$60 per person there.

There are a couple of great southern food places in Manhattan. The one with the best cornbread is M&G Diner up near 125th Street in Harlem. If you want something near the yuppies, try the 'Potato Smashies' at Chat n' Chew on 16th Street, one block over from Union Square.

Joey "AccordionGuy" deVillaOct 21, 2002 at 5:41PM

Ah, away from San Francisco. Will you be prepared for the shock of plentiful cabs, a realtransit system, human poop-free streets, restaurant kitchens open after 10 p.m., a downtown that doesn't look like a ghost town after sunset and autism-free children? My advice is to ease into it slowly.

You'll also be a short flight away from Accordion City (Toronto), often described as "New York run by the Swiss". I promise you guys a fun time if you ever come up for a visit.

whuffoOct 21, 2002 at 6:00PM

Sorry to see you go; there's a lot more to northern California than San Franscisco and you'd probably have found a place where you'd fit right in comfortably without having to go across the country.

Best of luck!

Whuffo (in Silicon Valley)

npOct 21, 2002 at 6:26PM

Welcome. Don't discount Brooklyn entirely. It can be marvelous, and it's very very very close to lower Manhattan, both by car and subway. Very very very close. Sometimes too close, in fact.
Welcome again. Both of you. Wish you lots of luck.

kcOct 21, 2002 at 6:35PM

You gotta be kiddin' me with the Indian food. Try this instead - take the 7 to 74th St. in Jackson Heights (Queens), and the moment you descend from the elevated track, the scent of spice greets you - clove, cinnamon, saffron, all of it. Gaze in the windows of the Indian food shops and boutiques (such beautiful saris and fabrics!), check out the Bollywood marquees, then head into Jackson Diner for the best Indian in all 5 frickin' boroughs. You won't be sorry - the hardest part is dragging your very full heinies back up the steps to the train.

And you go right the hell ahead and eat the same ethnicity twice in one week if you want. I was a 3x/week regular at the tacqueria on Bedford in Wmsburg, Brooklyn (dirty? trendy? pricing out? check, check, and check - but damn, those were some good tacos) for like the first month or so after I first tried their delicious offerings.

vanderwalOct 21, 2002 at 7:02PM

Congrats on getting out of SF. I did so in '93 and loved the move East. The East Coast is wonderful and New York is one of the gems (I am partial to Boston also). I am lucky and get to escape to these other cities as they are relatively close. This said, the more I am away from SF the more I miss it. NYC can take a lot out of you, but I think it gives you more in return than anywhere else.

joergenOct 21, 2002 at 7:20PM

well, there is a little test for you to see if you're fit for THE city. enjoy.

Stef NobleOct 21, 2002 at 10:16PM

Popping in again after seeing two comments about the Storm King Art Center. My uncle used to work as a horticulturalist there and he and my aunt and cousins lived in a house that was practically right on the grounds. It was always a lot of fun to visit since we could go in the backyard and see all the sculptures. I too recommend a visit (unless you want to just peek at it from the Thruway on your way up to visit the Adirondacks!)...

David JacobsOct 22, 2002 at 6:35AM

Do you have any idea *where* in Manhattan you want to live? (I think I read on M's log that BK was not an option).

I've really enjoyed having a tiny but of green space with my studio. You end up paying more for a smaller space, but a private garden in NY goes a loooong way.

GenOct 22, 2002 at 7:33AM

I definitely second Jackson Diner in Queens for the best Indian food in the 5 boroughs. If you don't want to trek out there, try Lexington South of 29th st. 3 blocks of Indian restaurants and markets. Curry In A Hurry is decent for lunch.

MihirOct 22, 2002 at 8:15AM

The Dosa Hut at Lex & 27th is also decent, as far as I know it has the most decent sambar in NYC. This of course is not the same as the Dosa Hutt in Flushing (Bowne St and Holly Ave.), which has decent dosas, but awful sambar. You can get a good cup of Indian masala tea at Dimple, I think it’s on 30th between Broadway and 5th Ave. Very decent Veggie Chinese at Noodles on 28th on 3rd Ave (Try the Veggie Peking Duck in Sesame Sauce). Perhaps the best veggie burgers in NYC are at American Burger, right beside the Manhattan Mall on 6th and 32nd I think. I third Jackson Diner, it's not the best Indian food in NYC, but the prices are good, and the taste is good. You can take the E, F, V, G, R, or 7 to get there. Once there stop by Patel Bros. to purchase Indian groceries, also be sure to try the Thums Up (the king of colas), and Limca (a lime-lemon soft drink). They are sold in glass bottles, and are about $1.25 per bottle.

jkottkeOct 22, 2002 at 8:53AM

In my limited NYC dining experience, I most enjoyed the Jones Diner. Does anyone know if it's still around...I know they were having problems with their lease running out.

Also, we just heard...we got an apartment in the West Village. I can't describe to you how happy and relieved we are that our apartment hunting is over...for at least a year.

FrankOct 22, 2002 at 9:37AM

Wow Jason, congrats on the apartment. How'd you swing that without being in NYC? Did you go through craigslist, or a friend-of-a-friend?

iainOct 22, 2002 at 10:23AM

Jones Diner is still here. Not sure what's going on with their lease situation.

MattOct 22, 2002 at 11:40AM

West Village is a great neighborhood, as are many of the neighborhoods mentioned above. People love to argue superlatives, which is fine. My guess? Once you and Meg live here for awhile you will realize that it is tough to go wrong in New York City.

Oh, and if you see puddles on the ground, just go ahead and assume that it ain't water. Welcome to NYC!

RobinOct 22, 2002 at 11:45AM

Avenue A Sushi. Really good sushi, although Nobu is prolly the best. But you can't beat the alphabet city experience. Also, if you do one touristy thing with family or friends in Manhattan, go for a helicopter ride over the island. It'll blow your socks off!

Noel BOct 22, 2002 at 11:53AM

Just chiming in to agree on the anti-6th vs pro Lex/Jackson Heights Indian food posters. I like Udipi palace on Lex, the place is weird but the food is great (try the dosas). Although to be accurate, I beleive the place is Pakastani not Indian. 6th Street does have a certain charm though, but I think it can only be appreciated in large groups.

Also, for another side of NY, check out:
(We used to have trolley's too)

jkottkeOct 22, 2002 at 12:52PM

What's funny about the Indian food tangent is that I don't like Indian food and Meg's not so keen on it either. But I like the's very New York in a way.

Wow Jason, congrats on the apartment. How'd you swing that without being in NYC? Did you go through craigslist, or a friend-of-a-friend?

We were there last week looking for 4 days. After chewing through two different agents of, brokers, we found this one on craigslist. No fee. After all the trouble we had, we feel pretty lucky to have found a good place in a great area without having to shell out a broker's fee.

leslieOct 22, 2002 at 1:06PM

hey - so glad you found a place! my overall best tip is once you have an apt, spend less time running through other people's best of lists (unless you have a specific need or craving) and discover your own nyc. one of the best things about it is that it's at least 250,000 completely cities at any given moment. how cool is that? i have a feeling i understand your sf displacement a little too well, although i'm hoping it dissipates, otherwise, i'll return to gotham to be your neighbor again.

cocktails at petrossian, leslie

OhadOct 22, 2002 at 4:13PM

Moving to a new place is always hard & challenging. I'm not American so I have no real tips to give you other than to wish you & Meg the best of luck.

I plan on moving to another country myself, I hope I'll make it.

Jack GreenwoodOct 22, 2002 at 4:14PM

Congrats! I've always wanted to live in NY for at least a year because quite frankly it really IS the glittering center of the universe!

I make on request of you: Please try to not slam SF once you're gone. This town really has a lot of hard issues to solve right now. I'm glad you've spent time here and I hope this town had something to give you that you'll remember. She ain't perfect, god knows. And I really think nobody really ever intended to stay here from the time she was built, but just intended to make a mint then go back east. I don't know if you're one of those who is incredibly bitter about their experience here, but from what you've said about trying to get real information about ny, methinks you're not one of those. This town ain't Manhattan. It will never be. It never said it was.

But on a positive note, Have a great time and enjoy it. NYC is really our capitol. Read "Gotham" before you go, if you can get through its 1400 pages.



daveOct 23, 2002 at 1:00AM

New York maybe the 'center' of the universe, but glittering it is not.

Maybe you meant to say gutter?

npOct 23, 2002 at 7:01AM

Why don't you post some more about your needs and interests in NYC? Apartment rental agencies charge 10-12 % yearly rent in addition to the already high rents. Use them only to orient yourselves. Craigslist is a great source to find no-fee apartments, but it's more time consuming. University (NYU is best, Columbia has some) bulletin boards are the best, but you need to have friends there to get access to the listings.

Boring MeOct 23, 2002 at 9:30AM

Re: India Row -- say it ain't so! Just the thought of all these statements are making me really regret all the naan and poori and sag paneer I ate there.

Jason! Why couldn't you stir-up this conversation earlier? $#&^*&!!!

*wanders away to find Mylanta*

KristinaOct 23, 2002 at 10:07AM

uhg - avoid Starbucks! Go to the Pink Pony on the Lower East Side for your coffee...

billOct 23, 2002 at 10:41AM

Ever hear of the mediocrity principle?
The mediocrity principle indicates that, indeed, where you are is not any more special than any other.

Have fun in NY.

AnilOct 23, 2002 at 11:23AM

Jones Diner is still alive and kicking. George, the owner, told me that "things will be okay" when I asked, but that's so vague I don't know if it was optimis or fact. We might've faced a little linguistic difficulty. There's plenty other places that good around, too.

Thomas Locke HobbsOct 23, 2002 at 11:42AM

The Met is Free!

Don't be suckered by their psychologically duplicitous "suggested donation" and give the full $10. You can pay a nickel and they can't turn you away. I've been there a dozen times and still haven't seen all of it.

MOMA and Guggenheim, International Center for Photography, and the Whitney are free on Friday afternoons. Contemporary Art galleries in Chelsea in the west 20s (between 10th & 11th) are always free and open on Saturdays.

Bill SeitzOct 23, 2002 at 11:43AM

Congrats on the apartment!

Next up: having kids and worrying about where to send them to school!

Let me know when you're ready for East Village restaurant recommendations....

Lisa ChauOct 23, 2002 at 12:26PM

Welcome to NY!

If you need any restaurant/bar suggestions, drop me a line.

-- Lisa

JamesOct 23, 2002 at 1:26PM

Wow. Congrats on finding an apartment. It took me a good 4 months, or course I wasn't in a hurry. Even now my aprtment is small and right next to a busy highway -- but my view is to die for and I just don't want to go through finding another place.

And, Brooklyn is a darn fine place to live, but I'm sure you'll enjoy the village.


I haven't seen anyone else mention it so -- try to find the NFT* guide for NYC (*Not for Tourists). I bought one for my sister when she moved here and I later went and got one for me. It shows you where all the ATMs, Parking, bathrooms.. etc are in the city. and it is small enought to stuff in your back pocket.

As for food (that hasn't been mentioned) ... the best cup of tea in Conneticut Muffin.

AnilOct 23, 2002 at 4:36PM

Update: The Jones Diner closed down. They've got the place boarded up and there's already grafitti on the plywood around it. I'm sure they were paid off fairly well, but I'm surprised by how disappointed I am to see it gone. Usually I'm in favor of the inexorable progress of this town, but I am definitely going to miss the lemonade from that place.

Elizabeth Allison CraigOct 24, 2002 at 6:43AM

Lucky you! Lived in NYC for 21 years, just left this last year for the 'burbs (garden, dogs, new husband...) but I still love love love NYC...
People say "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there..." and they are really off the mark. NY is actually a hard place to visit- SF has more charming public transportation, and vastly better public restrooms- as the song says, "NYC... too big, too loud, too rough"; but if you live there, you can become intimate enough with NY that it becomes more accessible, more knowable, and suddenly it's not just lively, challenging, and exciting, but also friendly, and very personal.
So my best advice is, don't make yourselves crazy trying to find the apartment you'll love forever, at the very first attempt. Unless one has limitless cash, some serendipity is usually a necessary part of the "finding the perfect apartment" story. Find something you can live with for awhile- even a sublet- and then you can start really living in the city, and getting to know it: getting to know a multitude of neighborhoods, another multitude of people (the best resource!) and putting your ear to the ground. You'll eventually find the right apartment, in the right neighborhood, and then you're gonna feel like it's your town. The East Village was ultimately right for me- it really felt like a small town in all the right ways- but who could presume to say which of the infinitely different NY experiences will resonate for you?
Next (and last) piece of advice: get a good book about the city, with a good map of the city, study it, and WALK around the city as much as your legs can stand to. Learn with your body which way is uptown, and which is down... where Chelsea is, relative to Stuy-town- where East Harlem is, relative to the Plaza- where Astoria is, relative to midtown- where Lincoln Center is, relative to the Joyce... which side of Avenues and streets have what kind of numbers... then cabs, buses, and subways will be easy, and the city is yours!
Enjoy it!

Boring MeOct 24, 2002 at 7:04AM

Oh, and a PATH ride into Hoboken will fill you with all the golden yuppie goodness you can take! If you were Greek in college you gotta live there: I'm pretty sure it's law....very akin to Chicago's Lincoln Park.

West Village is great...and beautiful. Are you near Washington Park? Don't hang around there late at night. (Just sayin.)

By the way, IMar's Greenwich Village food and drink tour has really brought in some raving reviews from locals. I've never been on it, but my friends had a blast; definitely something I think you guys would like....anyone else been?

Yes, Anil: Brooklyn is overrated.

Oh, and you'll get used to people leaning on their horn. After a while you'll notice it only when you don't hear it.

DJSUbgOct 24, 2002 at 7:44AM

First of all, Anil, don't hate on Brooklyn. Manhattan is overrated. Second, Balcuhi's is subpar Indian food. It is pricey and they give you small portions. Curry In A Hurry on Lex is a better deal and better food. Lastly, a pox on you Jason for finding an apt without having to pay a broker's fee!

Brooklyn in da hiz-ouse!

JonOct 24, 2002 at 12:07PM

the best advice i could give anybody on living in new york city is BUY REAL ESTATE, don't rent. My friends all throw away over $25,000/year in non-tax deductible rent. If you live here for a couple of do the math.

On another note...
Must visit restaurants:
Habana - amazing cheap cuban, cool crowd
Joe's Shanghai - shanghai dumplings!
Lupa - one of the best Italian restaurants in the city
Lombardi's Pizza - doesn't get any better than this


zeldmanOct 24, 2002 at 4:08PM

call when you get in.

VikkiOct 24, 2002 at 8:38PM

O Well. Im plannig to get to New York soon. The first time I' ve ever been there was 2 year ago. I just got from Kiev. It was SOMTHING>>>>>> BIG EVERYONE ASKING are you RUSsian>? Well....I didn't really understood waht was going on with me.
But I want to move there....Am I cray?

emilyOct 25, 2002 at 8:13AM

one suggestion and one question, JK: move to BOSTON instead, and, who gets your apartment in SF now? :) i grew up just outside NYC, and if i had the $$ i'd move to Brooklyn, but since i'm cheap and i love my car and clean air and autumn leaves, i'm staying here in Somerville, MA, the Park Slope of the North.

kcOct 25, 2002 at 9:15AM

Maybe it was like this in SF, but rent is one of the big topics of conversation in NY - and understandably so, given real estate prices. So don't be surprised when people ask you how much your rent is. And warning - the mere mention of the words "no fee" can trigger some very inspired streams of obscenity from those who forked over the full 15.

So. How much is your rent? (Kidding.)

xianOct 25, 2002 at 11:10AM

one thing, and i say this as a native, is that if you stay in new york for even a year or so, you will become a new yorker. this differs from sf, where , like boston and japan, you can never fully go native.

having said that. i spent my first 21 years in new york and nearby haunts, moved to sf after college and have been happy living in this area since. then again, i live in oakland, the brooklyn/newark/hoboken of the bay, so my experience must differ from yours.

the hard part about ny is staying for the long haul, though my parents seem to be managing after both growing up in pennsy.

Kim MercierOct 25, 2002 at 11:29AM

i would second many of the comments to look in brooklyn instead of manhattan. i've had many friends live in brooklyn, move to manhattan because they wanted to be closer to the action, only to move back to brooklyn. park slope and brooklyn heights are great areas. i'm in the same boat as you (from philly originally, never felt comfortable in sf) and i can't wait to move back east after grad school (preferably to brooklyn).

good luck to both of you...i'm sure you'll keep us posted on your progress!

Nick DentonOct 25, 2002 at 4:51PM

So, Jason, you don't like Indian restaurants. But, anyway, I'm going to put in a defense of the 6th Street strip. Brick Lane, and the eastern end of the row, is new, without illuminated peppers hanging from the ceiling, and the food is excellent. I'm a Brit, and we know curry.

LeeOct 25, 2002 at 8:28PM

I spent two years in LA and hated it. I took a job up here in the Bay Area and I hate it even worse. I would give anything to be able to move back to LA. Unfortunately I've got a great job, so for the moment I'm stuck here. My blog is the only outlet for my frustrations at dealing with life here. I simply don't like the people, I hate the politics, I hate The Chronicle, I hate how expensive rest is, and I hate the traffic.

Ugh. Now I'm depressed.

TomOct 25, 2002 at 9:03PM

I came to SF long ago. Over the years, I've heard these type complaints many times. The fact is, either you may be drawn to NY or perhaps repelled by SF. There's no way to know until you try it. I've never lived in NY so I don't know. I honestly think it is a good thing to move around until you feel at home somewhere. But really, it's not like SF is going to empty out. Do you know how great it is in SF compared to Mich. or texas? Believe it or not people are still coming, even in bad times. I just met one--it's amazing how well SF attracts people, then spits them out. After a while, he may get sick of it too, but right now he thinks it's great!

Stefan SharkanskyOct 25, 2002 at 10:45PM

I've lived in San Francisco since 1990. There are many things I love about it -- the beauty, the restaurants, the culture, a lot of the people. But now that I'm married and I have kids, S.F. no longer seems as delightful as it used to be. I don't have confidence in the public schools. The private schools are too expensive. Don't get me started on the politics. I expect to leave before my son goes to school. I'll miss a lot of things about San Francisco, but the incompetent city government and school system will get somebody else to pay their bills.

josephineOct 26, 2002 at 2:30AM

it takes a certain kind of person to love SF, but i really think it's one of the jewels of the west coast. the odd thing from reading these comments is that usually SFers and NYCers band together in their disdain for LA. i moved to LA this year after being laid off from my dot-com in SF and i will always love and miss: the temperamental fog blanketing the City like a well-worn secret; the heartbreaking view of the Bay and the skyline as you drive over the golden gate or the bay bridge; the spirit of political activism and diversity that is allowed to thrive; berkeley; golden gate park's hidden oases; the view from duboce park; craigslist originated here; the great food, church at market street, the taquerias on valencia and mission... i could go on. no it's not as great as it used to be, but i don't blame the City for that. there's some inexplicable special something that SF will always have that makes me rank it over NYC and LA despite its faults. the bay area as a whole offers almost everything.

MarcOct 26, 2002 at 2:35AM

I concur with Robin, Avenue A Sushi and Nobu. Bond Street and Yama too. If you like sushi, you're gonna love New York! One other tip: if you smoke, quit.

YehuditOct 26, 2002 at 11:38PM

Every year the 92nd St Y has a 4-hr. walking tour of Revolutionary War era New York, the night before 4th of July. The tour starts at 2 AM in front of City Hall and end at 6 AM in Battery Park, and if you aren't ready to crash yet you can take the first Staten Island ferry ride of the morning. I went this year - there were 50 attendees, some years they've gotten more. Half way through we stopped at an all-night diner on Wall Street for a snack and more coffee. The leader was a lawyer by day and a Revolutionary War history buff by night, kind of a nerdy kooky guy, very entertaining.

Appalachian Mountain Club has weekend outings to rural hikes, often with carpooling and buses, so you can get into the woods for the day without a car.

Ditto on the Cloisters and the Met and cheap ethnic eats. 2 Afgan restaurants without 5 blocks of me.

Lots of free concerts and Shakespeare all over town all summer. Lots of other free cultural stuff too - between Time Out NY and the Village Voice you will have all the listings you need, then you will suffer cognitive overload trying to choose what to do and exhaustion from trying to do it all.

Ditto on the shoes and be prepared for snowy streets and really cold wind. But not as bad as Chicago. :-)

East Coast beaches don't have the awesome grandeur of Big Sur but the water is WARM! and the waves are manageable for the average non-surfer dude. LIRR has bus/train packages to many beaches all summer.

You have redwoods but we have leaves that change color in the fall.

Get both a subway map and bus maps for all the boroughs. The bus map also functions as a decent street map. Carry them with you everywhere so you can always figure out how to get the next place you have to go. It's an adventure! I have been living here 6 mo., after numerous family visits since childhood, and I still enjoy figuring out the best routes to different locations.

Also Phila. is 2 hrs by train, DC is 3 hrs. and Boston is 6 hrs., not to mention smaller cities. The train is pricey, but Greyhound is almost as fast. In other words, quadruple the number of museums and cultural stuff you have access to for the weekend.

It's not true everything is more expensive in Manhattan. Rent is more expensive, including rent for your car (garage or meter), but you won't have one so no problem, and probably renter's insurance is more. All the mall stores are here and the clothes cost the same. Public transit costs the same, cheap ethnic eats cost the same.

If you are Jewish, you probably know some about the incredibly diverse active creative Jewish culture here, but I will be happy to give you a cross-denominational Shabbat tour of the Upper West Side if you'd like.

PS I love visiting SF but never tried to live there. Used to live in Austin TX which I still miss, but I feel fine in NY too. I don't think I would do well as a Californian - I'm not blond, I don't do Zen meditation, I'm not a radical politico, and I'm not trying to get into show biz.

kateOct 27, 2002 at 8:53AM

If you carry a handheld, consider installing Vindigo. It'll help you find a restaurant, ATM, restroom, etc. close to any point in Manhattan. There's a 30-day free trial, and the annual subscription is $25.

Good luck! I'm moving back out of the city in 2 weeks.

BorrokOct 27, 2002 at 5:44PM

New York New York. The city so nice they named it twice. I live in Williamsburg Brooklyn for 10 years now. Love it over here. Always have. These days it's expensive (but - there are places to eat now) but with the downturn in the economy you might stand a chance out here. Ken Firpo Reality. You hate him - but he covers a lot of the area. Check the flyer boardsup and down bedfordave (L train first stop in brooklyn) for the best deals on rentals.

Eats in NY --dont waste youre money on poor mediocraty--its easy to spend $40 to 50 at most low to medium price range resteraunts and feel like youve been cheated out of your money. You can feel broke all the time falling into this . Lately I shop at Whole Foods in chelsea and eat great at home.

What else? NY rocks- even as brutal and tough as it can be it never sucks - the people are awesome - from all over and do amazing things.

Youll love it here. oh -- and for apts, quick freelance gigs and misc stuff. Good luck.

Seth WerkheiserOct 28, 2002 at 7:31AM

I can't believe what a source of info this post has become! My wife and I are hoping to move to NYC next summer and I've been gettings TONS of info from all the various responses to this post. I found stuff like, craigslist, and lots of other goodies. Neat stuff.

JamesOct 29, 2002 at 1:41PM

Apartment hunting in NYC is one of the most painful experiences in life. I've lived here for over a decade I have too many stories to go into it here. It sounds like you got lucky finding your place. And no scum-bag, bottom feeding, penny grubbing, shyster, broker fees (I think you posted that above). Congratulations! This is a great city to explore. I am still discovering the place. Have fun.

kyleOct 29, 2002 at 7:34PM

Bicoastal transplants never work in my experience. Where is your SF apartment, how much was the rent, if it's big can I have it? Berkeley blows.

JillOct 30, 2002 at 4:45PM

Check out my favorite cafe--Ciao For Now 504 East 12th street (btwn a and b)
but don't tell anyone else! :)

MRNov 02, 2002 at 3:27AM

Good luck to you both.

BrendonNov 04, 2002 at 2:06AM

Another thumbs up on Astoria, Queens. I lived there for about 3.5 years and liked it: great fresh bread from the bakery on the corner, close to Manhattan (cabbies have no problems going there since they know they can try for a fare at nearby LaGuardia Airport -- and that's another great thing about living in Astoria -- close to a major airport!). AND UNCLE GEORGE'S RESTRAUNT RULES! I was just in NYC for a vacation before hopping over to Europe for a month and went back to Astoria for a day and got a bit nostalgic for the post-college years I lived there.
I also lived in Yorkville for two years as I finished a masters at NYU. But that's generally very pricey (and for most young folks a bit stoggy and boring and out of the way).

Good luck. I sometimes miss the energy of NYC. Paris is great too though! (was just there on vacation...*sigh*)

BrendonNov 04, 2002 at 2:17AM

Oh, one NYC secret to share with you: when in Midtown and you need a bathroom, go to the Plaza Hotel. The nicest free bathroom you'll ever use probably. You don't have to tip the attendant, but you look classier if you do.

KateNov 04, 2002 at 11:17AM

Having grown up in both New York and San Francisco, and moved back to New York several years ago, let me tell you, wow, you are making a good choice!

Yes, it's expensive, but also, it's addictive. Mmm, yum, yay, New York! Sorry, that was the coffee talking. Perhaps when you live here, you will find that you, too, drink so much coffee that you're given to random bursts of exuberance.

Or maybe you won't need the coffee. To a certain extent, being here is a stimulant, in and of itself. When you walk around outside, you receive so much visual, auditory, and, yes, olifactory, input, that it can kick your brain into overdrive.


1. For Indian food, it's Dawat, at 58th and Second - kinda pricey, but oh-so-good.

2. For good New York deli without the Katz's hype, try Sarge's at Third Avenue and 37th.

3. For minor-bonding with strangers on the isn't-it-cool-we-live-in-New-York front go to Movie Night in Bryant Park. (Summer only.)

4. For a change of mind-state that doesn't involve driving upstate, take the subway to Coney Island/Brighton Beach. Kinda grungy, but oddly comforting.

5. For peace of mind: Carry a camera. That way, even if you're not making high art, you're making evidence - later, you can prove to yourself and others, despite otherwise potential amused disbelief, "I saw this."

Good luck!

AndyNov 11, 2002 at 8:17AM

Nice job getting a Village apt., dude. Since you're there, you should know the good vice locations:

1) Coffee: Porto Rico

2) Beer: The Blind Tiger Ale House


This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.