Moving from LA to NYC

Moving from NYC to Los Angeles

Trading the Atlantic for the Pacific? Read our post on the most important adjustments when moving from New York City to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles and New York are the two most significant cities in the United States. However, there are huge differences between the two, and live in either city may not directly translate to the other. Anyone moving between Los Angeles and New York will have to make some adjustments. If Curious as to how to make these adjustments, we reached out to a number of people who moved from NYC to Los Angeles to find out what they’d recommend to someone trading the 405 (freeway) for the 4&5 (Subway). We heard back a lot of things that we expected, and a few things multiple people agreed on that were a little surprising. Here’s what they told us:



In our piece on moving to Los Angeles, we described driving and car ownership as “compulsory.” The public transportation system in L.A. is simply not robust enough to facilitate the transportation needs of its residents, and they should look behind the wheel to get around.  As SBEB PR manager Joe Marchelewski can speak to, that isn’t the case in New York. The former LA resident quipped that “NYC has great public transportation and zero parking.” That’s putting it lightly.

The implications of NY’s transportation options goes beyond what is immediately obvious. “That was a revelation. Freedom was really great.” noted Jody Britt, former Angellino currently managing her own firm, Britt Fine Art Consulting. You might think relying on a fixed transportation system rather than being able to pick their own trail would limit traveller’s independence, but it’s proven to be the opposite for our respondents. “You can get anywhere in 45 minutes. And there’s more drinking now.” Britt continued. Not having to drive means longer nights out with fewer responsibilities.  

Brian Pickler, president of Nadeau Furniture, says the ease of the subways creates a “...Totally different mentality to your day to day activities - and I love it!” Leaving the car-obligated, traffic-filled and constant search for parking “way of life” (as Pickler called it) had plenty of upsides for our group.

As Marchelewski says, “You can hang out at a bar until 2 and [still] get home safely.”

Even with the (likely) increase in alcohol consumption, the increased walking in NYC that leaving a car behind entails can help new residents improve their health. “I lost weight walking”, Britt told us. “I am in much better physical shape too, [with] all the walking in Manhattan!” Pickler added.

Walking also added to their sense of community in many cases. “Walking in New York is an inclusive experience with so many other people. LA felt like a bubble, but you feel the diversity, humanity and energy of everybody else in NY.” Alina Adams,  author of "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten", concurred: “I actually found it much easier to meet people here. In LA, everyone is in their cars. In NYC, you interact with people on the streets every day.”




Passion and dedication seem to come up frequently when transplants discuss what they find in New York. Dana Humphrey of Whitegate PR, noted to us that on “My first day in Manhattan, a rat ran over my feet, it was raining and a gentleman held the door open for me. I could feel the energy of the city.” Humphrey continued; “In southern california, people do as little as possible to get by and to drink and relax at the beach. Trust me, I'm all about relaxation, but I also love passion. New Yorkers are extremely passionate about what they do.“

Britt had to agree about the passion she found in these New Yorkers; “New Yorkers have something to prove, typically. They’re very direct, unafraid of telling you what they think, and opinionated.” Britt’s New York illustrated a town full of ambition, with corners full of dedication for whichever field its residents wanted to pursue greatness.

“The energy in New York is amazing and full of life! The creative people who work in the city continue to amaze me.” Pickler added, noting the many unique ways he’s seen people get their furniture from his store to their homes. “I never realized what joy I would get seeing satisfied customers carry a huge dining room table down a busy street and then up the hill around the corner. A true team effort by people excited by our furniture.”

To some, this has its downsides: “Los Angeles’ attitude as a city seems far more welcoming. Every time I’ve moved there, the city seemed to welcome me with open arms. New York wants to make everything difficult, from getting an apartment, to getting home after a long day.” Marchelewski said. He has some words of warning for would be movers; “It takes roughly two years to adjust to the rapid shift in culture, so find a way to vent your anger, but commit to at least two years in NYC before you decide if it’s really for you.”

Humphrey noticed something different, though; a keen, understated altruism at a heart of the shared NY experience:

“If you take the subway (which I do most days) you will see women with baby carriages, strollers, luggage etc. Without even speaking to the person will offer to help lift the stroller or object up or down the stairs, by just walking up and picking up the back or front. It's a quick, quiet, helpful, caring transaction that occurs with no wasted time for small talk, which you might experience in other parts of the country. It's a silent understanding that we have with each other, knowing that person is not trying to steal our luggage or kidnap our kids, but literally just giving a lift.”

Despite the assumed rudeness, there is still a strong sense of New Yorker solidarity that Humphrey feels.  “About two years ago I was in Istanbul visiting and I ordered a coffee. The barista said to the other barista, don't worry, I'll take care of the New Yorker.” Seems like living there a few years showed in her mannerisms. “How he knew? [I’m] not sure.” But I do think that I have sped up my pace in talking.”


Central Park

Central Park turns into a winter wonderland in January.

“I moved from LA to NYC in December of 1994. The most important thing I learned - I needed a winter coat.” Adams’ perspective here makes it clear; the colder climate is one of the most striking differences between the two cities.
“There are seasons here.” Britt says in beginning her elucidation of the differences between NY and L.A.’s climate. “The winters are trying; it’s a very different experience. It’s no surprise to anyone that New York’s a much colder state, climate wise, than Los Angeles, but some of the residual effects of that may be unanticipated. “It Makes you appreciate spring and summer so much more, and causes more people to travel.”
Humphrey offered that cold weather means New Yorkers could enjoy winter activities, like ice hockey and snowball fights. “Ice skates are a brilliant thing to have in NYC because then you can skate for free at Bryant Park, all winter long!” She had practical advice to would be movers, learned from experience, too: “Don't buy any jackets until you get to NYC. Living in southern california, they don't make warm jackets. Wait to arrive in NYC to do your shopping. Nothing will be warm enough.” Her experience holds true for most southern states as well; coats made in regions where the cold isn’t like New York’s simply won’t be adequate cover. “I remember going to Burlington Coat factory in CA and thinking that I had stocked up.... no. That's not the case. A winter coat for NYC is made differently, it's warmer.”


Budgeting changes greatly when one makes the adjustment from LA to NY. “It’s much more expensive here.” Britt claims, even without having to pay for gas and car maintenance. “[Some things cost] triple in NYC what [they were] in LA.” Britt noticed the price disparity most strikingly in her searches for apartments: “It was the most challenging to find an apartment. There is a real broker culture.”

Prospective New Yorkers should be aware; a LOT of their money is going to go to rent. They ought to keep that in mind when they’re picking what kind of living space they want. “Know where you want to live and know your limits on what you can afford.” Pickler commented. “Don't go in blind and end up in serious debt or in a terrible apartment that is overpriced.”

Expensive rents also means less bang for your buck in smaller living spaces. “Your bed might not fit into your Upper West Side Apartment, even though it costs $5,000 a month.” Marchelewski added. “You need to maximize every inch of your home’s space, floor to ceiling...Prepare to totally downsize across the board.” Basically, get ready for a more minimalist lifestyle.

The crowded space New York leads to crowded school districts, presenting obstacles for families moving to the city. “Getting a child into school in NYC is notoriously difficult,” Adams told us. you are not guaranteed a seat at your local, zoned public school. “The most popular ones are overcrowded and turning away local kids in September - they are unlikely to have a spot for a child who arrives in the middle of the year.” Meaning kids could be put in pretty much any school; “Odds are, the Department of Ed will place you in any school that has space, not caring if it's inconvenient geographically, or if you want to be there.”



Hiring Oz Moving when Moving to LA

Our sources who have weighed in about their personal experiences to us have illustrated moving to New York presents plenty of limitations, but also opportunities. Most angelenos don’t love the cold, but many enjoy being able to see snow. Some may not feel they can handle the fast pace and high-stakes of New York life; others relish the challenge and thrive, like many of the people featured here have. Doing your homework is key to understanding New York - because it’s likely if you look around long enough, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the city (provided it’s not a downtown studio for under $1000 a month). If you’re making the move to New York, relish the opportunity, and find what is out there for you.

Moving Cross Country from Los Angeles to New York? Oz Moving’s express lines will get your belongings to N.Y. fast and safe. Oz handles your move beginning & end with the same care as a local move at an affordable rate. For more information on moving to NYC or the NY tri-state area, read more or get a quote for your move.


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