‘Your Rent Costs What?!’ And Other Questions People Ask Me About Living in New York

Moving to New York is kind of like having a baby. People who haven’t experienced it before — or those just concerned about your well-being — ask all sorts of questions that you have to keep grinning through and answering more times than you can count.

Since New York City is like a foreign world compared to where I grew up in Michigan, people have run the gamut, but for good reason.

I have never imagined living here so usually I’m asking myself (and other veterans of the city) the same questions. And I can never hate on curiosity. I am a journalist, after all, and so completely nosy. Just ask my boyfriend, Evan.

These are the questions I’ve heard the most and the answers I love like to give you.

Where do you live? How much does your rent cost? 
I live in Manhattan in the Financial District, as of this past August. Yes, Manhattan sounds fancy schmancy, but it’s basically where everyone who works in the city lives unless they’ve decided to move to Brooklyn for a hopefully quieter, potentially bigger and definitely cheaper place. Manhattan is just convenient and where all the actions happens, which means it costs your first born and a lot of tears.

Which leads me to the cost of rent. I think it’s funny when people from home ask me how much my rent costs because I don’t ask them how much their mortgage payment is. But yeah, the prices we pay will make your jaw drop. I dropped mine on the floor a long time ago and still haven’t picked it back up.

The more I spend on rent, the more shameful I feel about it. The amount of space I could not only rent, but BUY, in Michigan for what I’m shelling out each month is definitely the most depressing part about living here. I always cringe when people ask me how much I pay for rent — it’s just not something people are proud of here. But because I want you to know what living here is truly like, rent has typically brought me down $1,100 to $1,500 a month, depending on where I was living. There, I said it!

Do you have, like, 19 roommates? How big is your apartment?
I recently moved in with my boyfriend into a “one-bedroom” apartment. It’s, I think, 550 sq.-ft. and I’ve been told if we can survive living in this little thing, we can survive anywhere. We’re constantly up in each other’s business, which has been a learning experience on its own, but it’s been fun.

Prior to my current situation, I have lived in 5 different places throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn since I’ve landed here nearly 3 years ago. The most roommates I have lived with in the city is 5 and that was in the NYU dorms while I was interning at People.

It’s hard to describe the size of my previous apartment (which I shared with two girls) without physically seeing it, but let’s say I could see the living room, kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms from standing at the front door and that is pretty much the standard for Manhattan. It was tiiiiiiiny. I could only fit my bed and a small bookshelf in my room. New York, baby! Plus, we had a mice problem and landlords from hell. And yes, my rent there was also more than your mortgage.

Is everything like crazy expensive?
It’s sad how much I will pay for things now and not even think twice about it. Typical things — bagels, coffee, bottles of water — are not expensive.

The biggest difference in prices between here and when I go back home to Michigan is at restaurants and bars. Glasses of wine here start around $10, beer starts around $8 and food at a sports bar starts around $11. When I saw the price of Blue Moon in Michigan ($3) after living here, I almost bought a round for the whole bar. But, hey! We have $1 pizza on like every street corner so there’s always a fallback.

What do you do for groceries?
I remember when I first moved to New York, I was seeing a guy and he wanted to order breakfast to be delivered to his apartment and I was totally confused. He told me how he doesn’t grocery shop, he just orders out.

When the grocery store isn’t particularly close (Trader Joe’s is a 20 minute subway ride) and the lines in the place are so long that they wrap down aisles and the workers hold “Line Ends Here” signs to guide the herd, I think back to his empty fridge. Ahhh, that’s why he doesn’t do this.

TJs is never not packed like that. My mom and I were buying food when I first moved here and were laughing at the line and asked the employee scanning my items if it’s always like this, and she nodded her head with fire in her eyes.

Living here also means many restaurants are just outside your door, so out of convenience, people just order food and don’t live with the regret of groceries going bad because plans came up. #GodblessyouSeamless

Since moving in with Evan, though, I’ve been cooking and baking at home a lot more, and I love it (make myself love it because $$).

Are you going to live there for a long time?
You know, I don’t know. I never thought I’d live here in the first place so that’s pretty crazy. I love the energy here most days, but I can’t imagine bringing a stroller onto the subway or retiring with meek savings. For now, I am enjoying it and reminding myself to enjoy it since I know being 20-something and living in New York City won’t last forever. The next place I call home will happen when it happens.

Who is the coolest celebrity you have met? Has anyone ever been mean? Who else do you want to meet? What has been your favorite interview?
There’s been a ton! Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Anne Hathaway, Emilia Clarke, Hoda Kotb, Aaron Paul, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Drew Barrymore and Ryan Gosling all stand out in my mind as being exceptionally nice and normal.

There have been a few people who weren’t mean, but total divas. And I’m too afraid of losing my job to mention them on the internet just yet.

I’d love to meet Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Leonardo Dicaprio, Chris Pratt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jon Hamm.

My favorite interview was with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It was just us three in a hotel room, no reps, no assistants and we just got to chat for 20 minutes. They were so normal, so funny and down to earth. And the rep told me the first time she’s heard them laugh outside the room was when they were with me! Which made me feel very special.

What else would you like to know? The answer may be a future post!


3 thoughts on “‘Your Rent Costs What?!’ And Other Questions People Ask Me About Living in New York

  1. I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come! Maybe I should have kept those CM Life articles where I was your #1 interviewee so I could I was interviewed by the great Jess Fect.
    Little jealous of your balls to go out there and do it. The most exciting thing that I’ve done is dodge the deer in my driveway lol!


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