We talk to Zoe Walker, Consultant in our New York team, about expat life in New York City

Last year we welcomed Missouri native Sarah Kane to the UK, and learnt how London compared to Kansas City. Now Zoe shares how New York City differs from life in the UK.

1) Finding an apartment in New York is almost a full-time job

Everyone is looking for a unicorn – oh the bliss of having a dishwasher, in-apartment washer and dryer and some outdoor space, without it being a fifth floor walk up or a trek to get to the subway.

Most apartments are advertised by a broker and the broker fees in New York can range from half a month’s rent to up to 15% of the annual rent! The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $3000/month in NYC, so it adds up! There’s a lot of number crunching to take into consideration before deciding on whether an apartment is worth it and whether you’ll be staying there long term or having to factor in moving/storage costs every year or so.  I prefer to go for no fee apartments (for obvious reasons!) but it limits the options available. Thankfully I love my last find – it’s only missing the in-apartment washer and dryer to attain unicorn status!

2) Where’s the bread?

Having to hunt for bread wasn’t something that I had expected, oh to be able to easily access a loaf of Warburton’s Toastie sliced bread! Regular sliced bread here tastes very different so I’m always on the lookout for a good ciabatta or pain de campagne(!) instead. The key is to slice it yourself and freeze it; the humidity can make it go stale really quickly if it’s left on the counter/in a bread bin.

3) Language differences

Navigating the differences in language despite both being English speaking is a challenge! Pavement = sidewalk, bin = trash can, the letter zed = pronounced zee, duvet = comforter (and the cover tends to be attached!), jam = jelly, coriander = cilantro, rocket = arugula, tap = faucet, nappies = diapers…

4) Laundry

It’s much more common and affordable to go to the laundrette/laundromat in New York. I love being able to drop my laundry up before work and pick it up washed, dried and folded later on in the day! It’s common primarily due to the aforementioned lack of washing machines in apartments…

5) Central Park

For such a dense city Central Park always surprises me. It’s an amazing public space, so vast and there’s even a zoo!

6) Abundance of water

New York has an abundance of water for a city. It’s only a short walk or subway ride away from anywhere in Manhattan to the water’s edge. Having the opportunity to commute by ferry is such a treat and during the pandemic I also discovered Rockaway Beach, which is only an hour out of the city.

7) Fresh food

America is famous for it’s fast food but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of farmer’s markets and fresh fruit vendors, primarily from upstate New York. A great resource in the hunt for bread!

8) The weather

l knew it would be warmer in New York but it’s so nice to have consecutive sunny days. It means the chance of a good weather weekend is much higher!


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