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Last updated 3 Apr 2020
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Renter's Guide to New York City
New York City hardly needs an introduction. It is one of the world’s most iconic and flourishing cities, after all. And with a population of over 8.5 million across its five boroughs, it's also the most populous metropolitan area in the United States.
The “Big Apple” is no stranger to “top 10” lists, consistently ranking among the best cities for everyone from millennials and recent college grads to professionals and art lovers.
Weather in New York City follows four distinct seasons. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 76ºF, and January the coldest, averaging 35ºF.
Winters are cold and wet, and New York City receives about 25 inches of snow annually. Summers are warm and sunny with an average humidity level of 72 percent. Fall and spring, though typically mild, are more variable from year to year.
New York City, NY Demographics
- Total Population8,464,765
Female 4,035,710Male 4,429,055
- Median Age37
Cost of Living in New York City, NY
What kind of budget do you need to live here?
For starters, dinner for two in a mid-range New York City restaurant can cost anywhere from $50 to $110, while a regular cappuccino goes for just over $4.
For a 915-square-foot apartment, New York City residents pay on average $129 for utilities – including electricity, heating, water, and waste disposal – which is lower than the national average of $147.
More than half of all New York City residents commute to work on public transit, whether it's the subway or local buses. The standard fare is $2.75 for adults, but frequent riders can purchase a reloadable NYC MetroCard.
Average Rent in New York City, NY
- New York City, NY Average Rental Price, March 2019 $4,108 /mo
New York City, NY Rent Trends
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Living in New York City
As a global arts and culture capital, a hub for international business and finance, and the home of some of the nation’s top universities and sports teams, New York City truly does have something for everyone.
The city's size and modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere make it an exciting city to live and work in, with tons of options for both having fun and making money.
On the downside, living here certainly isn’t cheap. In fact, it's one of the most expensive cities in the nation, with average rent prices soaring over the past decade. New York City commute times are also considerably higher than average, with most commuters relying on the public transit system – the busiest in the Western hemisphere.
New York City is an ethnically diverse “melting pot” with a long history of immigration, so it's no surprise that it's also the most linguistically diverse city in the world, with as many as 800 distinct languages spoken by residents throughout the five boroughs.
Things to do in New York City
There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in New York City!
Let's start with Central Park, one of the city's most popular and iconic attractions. These 843 acres of recreational space offer activities for all seasons, including various running trails, art and sculpture gardens, bird-watching areas, the Central Park Zoo, Tavern on the Green Restaurant, a summer concert series, and even an ice-skating rink in the winter months.
That's why it’s no surprise that Central Park is the most visited city park in the country. The New York City Marathon, one of the most popular races in the world, even passes through here.
If you want to take in the iconic New York City skyline, there are a few popular options, including the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and the Empire State Building. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is also a great way to see some of the best views of the cityscape.
For families with kids, the American Museum of Natural History is a must-see. With over 30 million artifacts and lots of hands-on exhibits, the Natural History Museum is a national treasure and a fun spot for school-aged kids.
A visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty is another NYC excursion you won't want to miss. A short ferry ride takes visitors from Battery Park to Liberty Island, where you can head up to Lady Liberty’s crown for the view, then check out the Ellis Island Museum.
Couples will love the High Line. Formerly a railroad track for freight trains, the High Line is now an elevated urban park that offers a unique, tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
New York City offers high quality restaurants for all palates, including more Michelin Star winners than any other American city. Among the highest ranked – and the most upscale – are Le Bernardin, a French seafood restaurant in Midtown, and Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg, ranked New York City’s best steakhouse for 32 years running. For top-notched options that won’t break the bank, try Graffiti, an Indian-inspired East Village spot, or L’Artusi, for Italian cuisine in the West Village.
The city is home to several world-renowned cultural venues, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which boasts a collection of over 2 million works of art. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) and the Guggenheim Museum are two other impressive venues.
While you're here, you'll definitely want to catch a show on Broadway. Or maybe the world famous New York City Ballet.
When you're finished, do a little sightseeing in Times Square, a prime destination for tourism, shopping, and viewing the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Nearby Radio City Music Hall is another highlight, especially during the winter holidays when the Rockettes perform their hallmark Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Sports fans won't be disappointed either. Catch a Yankees game in the Bronx, a Mets game in Queens, or chill out at a Knicks game in the historic Madison Square Garden.
The Garden is also home to the New York Rangers, New York Liberty, and the St. John's University basketball team. Not to mention hosting all sorts of other events, like concerts and comedy shows.
Of course, the city is also represented by the New York Giants and Jets of the NFL, though you'll have to make a short trip over to New Jersey to catch their games.
Employment and Economy in New York City
As an important international hub for government, finance, education, business, and the arts, the economy here is diverse and powerful. Home to the New York Stock Exchange, the city's widely accepted as the globe’s leading financial center.
Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the world, and the city as a whole serves as a base for much of the nation's print and broadcast journalism and publishing.
Nearly 60 million tourists visited New York in 2015, fueling a thriving tourism and real estate industry. And as the city's “Silicon Alley” expands, the NYC tech sphere is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the local economy.
New York City’s top 5 employers all come from the public sector, working to support and sustain the city’s enormous population: the City of New York, the NYC Department of Education, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the U.S. federal government, and the New York Health and Hospitals system. Meanwhile, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are the leading private employers here in the metro area.
New York City, NY Households
- Total Number of Households3,161,057
Family 1,893,476Non-family 1,267,581
Children 923,287No Children 2,237,770
- Average People Per Household2.63
- Median Household Income$66,526
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,508
Education in New York City
The public school system – the New York City Department of Education – is the largest in the world, serving over 1 million students. The city spends nearly $20,000 annually per student, more than any other state.
There's a wide variety of public, public charter, private, and private charter schools here at the K-12 level. And at the high school level, there are also nine highly competitive and nationally recognized “specialized” schools that cater to academically and artistically gifted students.
New York City is home to over a hundred colleges and universities, with over 600,000 students. The City University of New York (CUNY) public university system serves over half of the city’s college students, with its undergraduate and graduate level campuses in all five boroughs.
Then there's New York University, City College of New York, New York City College of Technology, and the Ivy League school, Columbia University, as well as niche universities like Parsons The New School for Design and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
Fordham University, the oldest Roman Catholic university in the northeast, and Yeshiva University, the oldest U.S. university that integrates Jewish scholarship into a liberal arts education, are just two more of the significant private universities in New York City.
New York City, NY Education Statistics
- No High School10%
- Some High School38%
- Some College21%
- Associate Degree7%
- Bachelor Degree24%
Tips for Renting in New York City
Ready to experience the Big Apple? You'll love it! But in a rental market as varied and complex as New York City’s, it’s a good idea to be aware of your rights as a tenant.
Apartment vacancies tend to come and go very quickly here, so be sure to start your rental search with a plan in place. New York City offers a variety of affordable housing options to tenants from low- and moderate-income households, and prospective renters can register with the city housing department for assistance in finding qualifying property.
Unfortunately, apartments in the city can be prone to bed bug problems, but you're entitled to a written disclosure of any history of bed bugs in the building before you commit. Remember to be vigilant about checking the Bed Bug Registry when searching for an apartment here.
On the other hand, landlords aren't obligated to disclose previous issues with rodents in the building, so it’s a smart move to ask upfront – and to check the city government website for a log of rodent incidents in any building you're considering.
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