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  • Jes Bellamy

5 Years of Living in the Tri-State Area: A Survival Guide for Transplants

Living on the East Coast for the past 5 years has been an exhilarating, yet crazy experience. To be exact, I lived in Jersey City for 5 years, which is about a 20-minute train ride to Manhattan. Therefore, I've spent most of my time exploring Jersey and New York.

Coming from my calm California lifestyle to the concrete jungle wasn't easy, but I was down for the ride and ready to learn a new way of living. Living in San Francisco for years did help prepare me a little, but nothing is like living in or near NYC!

I know many people want to move to New York City and live their "Sex in the City" dream, but it can be more complicated than you think, so I recommend you read these tips! They'll save you so much trouble if you're not used to living in this area.

12 Tips to Know

1. Don't worry if you don't live in your first-choice neighborhood

When I first moved to the Tri-State area, I wanted to live in Manhattan, but it wasn't feasible and was further from my work. So, I lived in Jersey City, which ended up being perfect for me. Living in a not-so-expensive area allowed me to save up and eventually have my own place, which was my dream.

2. Most buildings are walk-ups unless they are brand new or updated

I've lived in both old and new buildings in Jersey City, and it's best when there is an elevator. On the other hand, it's a struggle to climb five to more flights of stairs multiple times a day, which most buildings have. I mean, you'd be in great shape if you did, but it is a pain without an elevator.

Somewhere in Brooklyn

3. Aggressive driving is the norm

People drive like they are the only ones on the road... don’t take it personally. Drivers in this area can be very aggressive, so you have to remember to be patient and not get road rage!

4. The faster you walk, the better/don’t hog the sidewalk

Of course, some limitations may prohibit you from walking fast, but the most important sidewalk rule is not to hog the space. Thousands of people walk around at any time of the day, so it is good to be courteous to others.

5. Make traveling easy for yourself

If you frequently travel to the city from a different area, make sure you buy a weekly or monthly transit pass. It will save you a lot of time and money. If you are only in the city occasionally, you can rely on "tap."

6. Traveling takes longer than you expect in the city

Always leave early because trains break down or just don't come sometimes. the city can be very wishy-washy, and there's always a train that's just not running.

7. Good food comes in all price ranges

They talk a good game about their bagels and Italian food, and they are correct! they have the best (next to Italy). There is a conglomerate of good food on the East Coast; the most diverse I've seen. So, don't be afraid to try everything, from the dollar pizza to 5-star restaurants...(Hint: Sometimes the cheapest food is the best food!)

8. Summer can be moody

Get used to the humidity and thunderstorms in the summer. As a California native, the weather on the East Coast makes me miss California the most. It NEVER rains in the summer in California, but it storms on the East Coast, so be prepared.

9. Buy proper winter gear

I bought some good-quality winter jackets and shoes the first year I moved to the East Coast. I've had these Items ever since (5 years), which has saved me money in the long run. So don't buy too cheap, but you don't have to get the most expensive either!

10. Be prepared for the snow

Winters can vary by year, but always be prepared for the worst. And, yes, the shiny black stuff you see on the ground; don’t walk on that. Don't be like me and slip in the middle of the city by not paying attention to the black ice.

Ice Skating in Bryant Park

11. Making friends is easy if you put yourself out there

It won’t be hard to make friends if you live near the city; there are plenty of ways to meet people. Bumble BFF has allowed me to make many friends in the area, and there are so many events and groups where you can meet new people too.

12. If you are looking for love, make it what you want

Like anywhere, finding love or whatever relationship you want is attainable in the tri-state area; just make it what you want, BUT, be smart and mentally prepared for the worst. Trust me, trying to find love out here can be a nightmare, but I am proof that it can work!


Overall, living on the East Coast is not for everyone, but I recommend that everyone travels here and gets a taste of the hustle and bustle of this area. There is so much to offer, and living here has been one of the greatest highlights of my life! I hope these tips help!

The view from one of my places in JC


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