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Written by Jonathan Lau at Looksharp 2016 2016
Congratulations on making the big move to New York—one classic crooner tells us that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. You’ll be strutting on the same streets as some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and entertainment icons. There’s a lot to get up to speed on if you want to succeed at your internship in the city that never sleeps. Thankfully, Looksharp put together this city guide to help you cut through the red tape to becoming a New Yorker. Pretty soon, you’ll be crossing city blocks in a New York minute.
Students coming to NYC may think there is a perfect apartment waiting for them, but the reality is that the apartment hunt is incredibly competitive. Sadly, few of you are going to find that Sex in the City apartment within a student budget. So keep your options open!
Despite the ugly interface, Craigslist is still the best way to find housing in New York City. However, due to the fierce competition for apartments, we also recommend that you reach out to your network, as seemingly everybody has a friend of a friend who lives in NYC. If money is no issue at all, you can hire an apartment broker (buyers beware: typical fees include 15 percent of the annual rent or 1.8 times the monthly rent). Additionally, some brokers will offer discounts to students – it never hurts to ask.
Financial District (Manhattan)
If you are interning on Wall Street, there is no place more convenient that the Financial District (FiDi). Relatively more affordable in comparison to some of the hipper places in Manhattan, the FiDi offers newer buildings and more modern amenities. The benefits of better living conditions are a tradeoff for the lack of nightlife: most restaurants in FiDi typically shut down around 5 or 7pm, though it’s a good neighborhood for interns who want a quiet place to live. Good for interns who want a quiet place to live and a short commute to downtown offices.
Greenwich Village + East Village (Manhattan)
Originally a neighborhood for bohemian artists, Greenwich Village today has developed into a hip neighborhood that no starving artist can afford to live in. The neighborhood is a popular hangout for NYU students and features many budget friendly bars. Apartment rent is another matter, though the buildings are older than the ones in FiDi and often come with no doorman or air conditioning. The trendy, young atmosphere drives up prices for the neighborhood.
Upper East Side + Upper West Side (Manhattan)
The Upper East and West sides are a lot more family oriented than the other Manhattan neighborhoods that were listed. As a result, these neighborhoods feature quieter streets and more green space. Although home to the extremely wealthy, the fringes of these two neighborhoods offer affordable rents albeit at the cost of easily accessible transportation.
University Housing (Various)
University housing in the city often opens up to all students in the summer. This housing is relatively cheap and in centrally located in the city. However, spaces are extremely limited, so be sure to apply on the day applications open up. Schools with summer housing include New York University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Columbia and Polytechnic University. Also note that most university housing requires you to share a room, so it’s helpful to have a roommate in mind to sign up with, or prepare to make some new friends.
In New York City, the subway is king and it will take you almost anywhere you want cheaply. It is highly suggested that you buy a Metro card as soon as you get to the city. If you take the subway more than 10 times a week you should buy an unlimited monthly rider plan (see www.mta.info for pricing details). In a rush, take a cab which starts at $2.50 plus $.50 for each additional mile or minute of idling. Beware, the cost of taking cabs adds up fast.
Places worth visiting such as Washington DC, Boston and upstate New York are only a short bus or train ride away. These destinations make for some affordable weekend trips. Alternatively, splitting a Zipcar with friends is also an affordable way to escape the city. For trip ideas check out offMetro.com’s Weekend Getaways.
Belgian fries from Pommes Frites and pizza from Artichoke are popular late night student snacks after a night out on the town. For unique and tasty lunch options, head down to Num Pangfor some Cambodian sandwiches. If you think you have seen all there is to Chinese food, go to Xian Famous Foods in Chinatown for dishes not often seen outside of China. Hankering for a good ol’ American burger? Look no further than the nearest Shake Shack, NYC’s answer to In N Out. Brunch is all the rage for newly christened New Yorkers, and you cannot go wrong with Café Condesa. Feel like splurging? Drop by the famous Gramercy Tavern for an updated American tavern experience.
During the summer there are a number of free concerts and movie screenings that take place al around the city. To never miss an event, check Time Out New York’s constantly updated event calendar and a “Best things to do this week” list that will keep you in the loop.
To watch a Broadway show on the cheap, grab some student tickets. Student tickets sell out almost as soon as the theater box office opens, so make sure to arrive there an hour or two before the opening time. If you are feeling lucky, many theaters run a raffle for discounted tickets a couple of hours before the show. Your odds of winning are much better than the lotto, but still far from assured. Same day tickets are also sold at a discount at TKTS booths (the one in the Financial District is typically less crowded than the one in Times Square). TKTS also sells off Broadway show tickets, which are slightly less expensive than Broadway shows but still of the same quality.
There are a number of comedy clubs in the city. Expect a two item minimum along with the price for admission for each of these shows. Avoid the “free” shows being offered at Times Square, as they are tourist traps. Frommers has a good guide of the top comedy clubs in NYC that you can check out for guaranteed laughs.