Moving to Manhattan for work? In this article we’ll look at where you can find a decent furnished apartment in Manhattan, where to save money on groceries, how to get around the city, some interesting things to do, and more.
Table of Contents
1. Before You Commit
Living in New York City can be challenging if you don’t know what to expect. Food is expensive but your options are plentiful, traffic is a nightmare yet there’s much to see and do, winter is as harsh as it is beautiful, and natural light hides behind crystal castles for much of the day.
If you’re planning to move to the Big Apple, it may be best to give it a dry run –find a short-term rental in Manhattan for a few weeks to a month and live in it before you make a serious commitment.
If you’re moving at the behest of your employer, they will likely be able to arrange some kind of corporate housing in Manhattan for you –maybe even on the company’s dime.
If that’s not an option or you’re just planning a visit for a few weeks, Airbnb is a great way to see NYC. If you sign up with this link, we’ll score you up to $43 USD off those expenses.
Find out what your options are well in advance to ensure you’ve got the time and resources to take in the city at a pace that won’t give you a cultural hangover.
2. Furnished Apartment Rental Sites
Real estate markets have been heating up for decades, and websites offering furnished apartments in Manhattan are springing up like weeds.
Needle, meet haystack.
You could spend hours sifting through trash and you wouldn’t know it. Few sites have a proper vetting process to weed out slumlords, and there’s no way to guarantee consistency from one furnished apartment to another.
Things like water pressure, internet speed, how long it takes to get repairs, et al are all a mixed bag because few websites have a reputable ‘governing body’ looking out for your best interests.
Before you dive into the sea of short-term rentals in Manhattan, it’s important to gauge who is behind each listing and the moderation practices that put them there.
Who are you renting from?
The most common websites to find furnished apartments in Manhattan are either created by Silicon Valley types who don’t even live in Manhattan (cattle class), or short-term rental sites that are owned and operated by actual property managers with a physical presence in the city (business class).
If you want to save time and steer clear of the losing end of a gamble, go with a business that owns and/or manages the properties they list. It’s a complete solution that will reduce headaches and establishes trust, right out of the gate.
Blueground offers flexible short-term rentals in Manhattan par excellence; they’ve got skin in the game and have the capital, infrastructure, and reputation to ensure consistency in all of their furnished apartments in Manhattan and around the globe.
They’re typically half the price of a hotel, have solid investor-backing, and they already help businesses like Samsung, Adidas, HSBC, Oracle, and Pfizer place employees in ideally located apartments throughout Manhattan.
Their minimum rental period is one month, they charge no management fees, and inclusive monthly packages that include additional services like cleaning and utilities are available upon request.
3. Location & Public Transportation
Manhattan’s total area is just over 33 square miles, including some of the water surrounding it. That’s a lot of ground to cover if you need to get around all of it on any given day or night.
Map out places of interest before choosing a furnished apartment rental to keep everything you need nearby; the location of your office, grocery markets, street food, shopping centres, cafes, popular night spots, movie theatres, medical clinics, IKEA, and other frequently visited locations are all going to play a leading role in your overall well-being.
There are 151 NYC subway stations in Manhattan, car or bus traffic can be horrendous, and heading to IKEA will require a ferry.
Streets and Avenues
If you drive, walk, or ride a bicycle –avenues typically run north/south and streets run east/west. Canadians will recognize this as being a little similar to Calgary, Alberta. It’s a great way to organise a city.
Express and Local Subways
Some subway rides are express, some are “local”, and the difference between the two can mean hours shaved off your commute. Express means they skip stops along their way for a shorter ride, local means they make every stop.
The Bigger Picture
Manhattan is shrouded in cynicism; the prospect of a two-transfer commute will always call into question how much effort your relationship is worth, and the location of your Manhattan furnished apartment rental is going to affect your life in ways you least expect.
Although there are plenty of ways to make friends in Manhattan, the distance between your home address and theirs is going to affect the quality of your relationships.
Over and above all that, consider the value of a monthly flat-rate on public transportation versus paying per trip. Get apps that are available for both public transportation as well as bicycle routes.
4. Eating Healthy
To really drive the point home about the precise location you choose for your furnished apartment in Manhattan, consider this; a majority of our friends in NYC have reported that it’s incredibly difficult to eat properly in the city. And it’s not just because they may be adverse to cooking.
Finding affordable groceries in Manhattan isn’t an easy feat –it’s often marked up about 2 to 5 times when compared to the rest of the country. Food may be a human right, but no one can escape the laws of scarcity.
While the organic Whole Foods variety is often overpriced, staples like pasta, sugar, or flour are cheaper when you buy their 365 house brand.
Pathmark in China Town, Hong Kong Supermarket, Deluxe Food Market, and regular sales at Western Beef boast cheaper meat and poultry prices, farmer’s markets during the summer have affordable vegetables, and once in awhile you’ll find some great deals at Trader Joe’s.
Beyond these suggestions, you may want to supplement with some Greens+ and vitamin D because of the lack of daylight peaking in through all of the high rise buildings. Personally, I wouldn’t go a week without a juicer.
Worth mention; Trader Joe’s on 97th and Broadway sell wine, and they deliver.
5. Things to Do
If you’re looking for cheap or free things to do, sign up for The Skint’s mailing list.
There are also plenty of free or “pay what you want” schemes going for popular museums throughout the city. They include the Frick Collection, Guggenheim, and the Museum of Modern Art.
And then there’s the NYC Parks Free Events Calendar.
You can also get unlimited coffee at cafes for a monthly flat rate with the CUPS app at cooperating coffee shops.
I’m sure you can find much more online, but these suggestions should help you get a head start.
6. Moving Day
If for any reason you didn’t opt for a fully-furnished Manhattan apartment rental, do not move in July –and purge as much as you can before the big day.
July is the hottest month of the year, and the last thing you want is a coronary on the day your life is supposed to be changing for the better.
Get rid of furniture with too much upholstery, or furniture that’s too heavy to lift up more than a few steps (or flights) of stairs. Upholstery is the devil in a city where bed bugs run rampant –and another reason to be choosy with your company, too. Even well-to-do people can get bed bugs.
If you see a perfectly good sofa sitting on the curb and you’re just starting out, don’t be tempted to adopt it. It’s probably sitting outside for good reason. Cross the road and admire it from a distance.
7. Lower Manhattan vs Silicon Valley
Lower Manhattan is blowing up for software engineers and other proponents of the tech industry.
I’m not sure who you’re employed by, or looking to pursue, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re choosing where to find short-term rentals in Manhattan.
The image below is from an older article on World Property Journal, long before AOC scared away Amazon. If the tech industry in Manhattan continues to attract talent, Silicon Valley is getting a run for it’s money in Manhattan this year.
That’s a Wrap
What do you think? Any tips for finding the best corporate apartments upper east side, where to find groceries, or anything else that people moving to Manhattan are dying to learn?
Hit us up in the comments, and don’t forget to check out Blueground for hassle-free deals on a flexible-term rentals in the city.
As with most of our other articles, we’ll update this one if we find more helpful tips or a better place to find a short-term lease in Manhattan. You may want to add it to Pocket or Mix to ensure you can find it again.