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Two weeks ago, we moved from Columbus, Ohio to New York City!

We had a one week window to go to NYC, find an apartment, submit an application, get accepted, sign a lease, and fly home to move out of Ohio. :S Applying for an apartment in New York is a little more complicated than ones I’ve lived in in Indiana and Ohio.

Most places require that everyone living in the apartment provide:

  • Letter showing proof of employment and salary
  • Three most recent pay stubs
  • Previous year’s W2 form
  • Social Security card*
  • Driver’s License / State ID
  • First & Last month’s rent
  • Security Deposit
  • Broker’s Fee**

*We didn’t bring ours, but met all the other criteria for the apartment, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, if you’re planning on moving to New York, I would recommend you bring it and maybe your passport too just to be safe.

**Most broker’s fees are 15% of the annual rent. You can avoid paying fees for apartments, but that usually involves a lot more time and legwork. If you want to avoid fees – I would highly suggest using an app like Naked Apartments and filter to only show ‘no fee’s or even better – walking around the neighborhood you want to live in and look for buildings that have “no fee” on them.

Getting rid of our Ohio Apartment 

All while this was happening, we still hadn’t found someone to take our Columbus apartment, which has another six months on the lease. (Yes, we were only in that apartment for six months…lol. ((I counted and this move to New York is my 10th move in five years.))  Watch our home movies from that moving experience here, here, and here)

Luckily, right before we left to New York to look for an apartment we met the nicest couple who ended up taking it! They signed the lease while we were moving boxes out of the apartment into the U-Haul.

Driving a U-Haul (and two cats) to NYC

Sangbin and I decided to take shifts driving the 15ft U-Haul during the the nine hour drive to New York. I didn’t realize how large those trucks are until I struggled to get into the cabin because it was so high off the ground! We had both cats (read more about them, here) in the middle seat.

About three hours into the drive, we stopped off at a massive truck stop to grab food and switch turns. I was really excited (and a little nervous) to drive the truck. My dad has his commercial driver’s license and growing up he would give me tips on driving. “Take turns wider than you think you need to.” “Give yourself more time to speed up and slow down.” My hands were gripping the steering wheel so tightly they began to hurt after awhile! The hardest part was changing lanes and merging on the interstate because you don’t have a rear-view mirror. It took a little getting used to only relying on the side mirrors, but we made it!

Sangbin took over for the last few hours heading into New York City. Up until that point, the drive had been pretty uneventful, but it quickly turned into the most anxious I’ve ever felt in a car. I felt like I needed those traffic blinders, carriage horses wear in the city.

Cars and trucks were weaving in and out of our lane and all my muscles were so tense. Sangbin is the calmest person I’ve ever met and didn’t seem to be phased at all. It’s amazing how two people in the same situation can react so differently.

We came to a fork in the interstate: left side for trucks, right side for cars. Traffic was so packed that we didn’t have enough time to get into the left lane and followed the car path. We stopped off at a toll and were pulled over by the police for going the wrong way, which normally would have gotten us a ticket, but it was so obvious that we were unfamiliar with the area that we were given a pass.

Shortly after, we arrived at our street and we moved into the apartment.

Surprising Things About Living in New York City

  • We live in a pre-war building and have to dispose of our trash in a small chute, which means that we can’t use regular sized trash bags to collect trash. We separate it out and dispose of it several times a day.
  • You really don’t have to leave your apartment to get anything. Everywhere delivers. If they don’t, there’s a service that delivers for them. I’m not just talking about food and groceries – you can also get a mascara from Sephora delivered same day, if you want.
  • A 50-minute commute to work really isn’t that bad. I walk four minutes outside to the station and four minutes from the station to work. During that time, I’m able to watch TV on Amazon Video, read, listen to podcasts, or just people watch.
  •   New Yorkers (for the most part) aren’t mean. There’s a sense of community living in New York that everyone is working really hard to make it and if you can help someone, you should. I think it’s easier to see here than other places because it’s so crowded. For example, I dropped my MetroCard and someone let me know and picked it up for me  – which is a big deal because a monthly pass is $$$. The only time I’ve experienced New Yorkers being unnecessarily rude has been when people are getting on / off the subway car.


Moving to New York City Vlog

We decided to make a home movie of our moving process to New York! Check it out below and share your moving experiences (whether to NYC or not) with me!

Maria xx



About four days ago we moved to NYC in a U-Haul truck from Ohio!! I’ve wanted to move to New York since I first visited it when I was 18 (read about that experience, here).

We took shifts driving the 15ft – it was a little scary. I almost knocked the side mirror off at a toll booth and we got pulled over by a New York officer for accidentally driving in a car-only lane! Meep. Thankfully, he let us go without a ticket probably because we were so obviously new to the area.

Now that all of our stuff is in the apartment and the boxes are unpacked, we’ve finally had a bit of time to decompress and embrace our new home.

Our two cats Frau and SaRang have adjusted fairly quickly! I was nervous that they would be miserable after the 9 hour car ride, but once they found their cat trees in the new apartment, they were just fine. 🙂 There are lots of windows for them to look out and watch the flocks of pigeons soaring through the alleys in between the apartment buildings.

Please let me know if you’ve moved to NYC (or any new city) and what your experiences we’re like! I’d love to hear them.