The most important thing to consider is the lifestyle that you and your family would like to lead. Based on this, you will need to explore neighborhood characteristics, amenities, proximity to public transport, schools, work, shops, cinemas, churches and, of course, type of accommodation.
There are five "boroughs" in the New York metropolitan area: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. The island of Manhattan is the heart of New York City, and it is home to the most multinational corporations and expatriates. It is oriented north-south and organized on a grid pattern, with avenues that go from north to south and streets that run from east to west. Although many people work in Manhattan, you'll find that they live in one of the other boroughs. Still, others live in neighboring areas such as Long Island, Connecticut, New York State (outside of New York City) or New Jersey.
Manhattan offers limitless activity, the best museums, entertainment, music and restaurants. All of life's necessities are conveniently located here, though they'll also be a bit more expensive.
The Manhattan rental market has been tight for the past two or three years. Most rental apartments are found through the use of a broker. The broker charges a commission of 15 per cent of the annual rent (or almost two months' rent). In addition, the landlord typically requires one month of rent as a security deposit; and each month's rent to be paid in advance. Typical leases last from one to three years.
The most popular areas for expats living in Manhattan are Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side.
Greenwich Village (Houston Street to 14th Street, from Broadway to the Hudson River) – a homey, intimate area that's beloved by artists, writers and actors. There are many tree-lined streets and with its pre-war brownstone buildings and apartments, it is one of the most charming parts of the city. Greenwich Village is also well known for its excellent and eclectic selection of bars and restaurants. Prices in the Village can be as expensive as on the Upper East Side.
Chelsea (North of Greenwich Village on the west side from 14th Street to 23rd Street) – derived its name from Captain Thomas Clark after the Thames-side village of Chelsea, in London. The area has a diverse patchwork of brownstones, pre-war apartments and lofts, as well as commercial buildings. It is a trendy area with an artistic feel, but some streets reflect its history as a manufacturing district.
The Upper East Side (From 50th Street to 96th Street, and from Fifth Avenue to the East River) -- houses Manhattan's most exclusive neighborhoods. Its world-famous restaurants and Madison Avenue boutiques make this an attractive neighborhood for Manhattan's socially prominent. The area also has the highest concentration of private schools.
The Upper West Side (From 66th Street to 96th Street, and from Central Park West to the Hudson River) -- has an independent character different from that of the Upper East Side. Two of Manhattan's greenest parks (Central Park and Riverside Park) are located here. The Upper West Side also has several private schools, suitable for expatriate children. Some of the attractions of the Upper West Side also include the beautiful Museum of Natural History, colorful Columbus Avenue and Lincoln Center, where New York's finest operas and classical concerts are held.
It is worth giving an added mention to Central Park: An oasis for people living in the city. The park is filled with cyclists, roller -bladers, baby carriages, runners---some with baby carriages---softball games, frisbee games, picnics and sun-bathers. In the summer, there are free concerts by famous artists, open-air performances of Shakespearean plays, community races and sporting events. In the winter, the park offers outdoor ice-skating. Central Park is well loved and maintained by all New Yorkers, and access to the Park is a major reason many people choose to live on the Upper East and Upper West Sides.
Also note that many expats who work in New York City and have children opt to live outside of the city.
Here, beyond the city limits, you can find a more residential atmosphere and affordable schooling options. The most common areas for expats seeking such a lifestyle are: Westchester County (in NY, north of the city), Fairfield County (in neighboring Connecticut) or in New Jersey (just south of New York). These suburban areas offer both apartment buildings and houses for expats and their families.
Most expats tend to rent for the first year or two. Once they familiarize themselves with the different areas and the amenities, and once they have established a credit history, they then consider purchasing. Some people decide to just rent because they're length of stay will be short.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
You will probably have to furnish a deposit equal to one month's rent--sometimes more. It will also depend on the area you choose.
In Manhattan, rent can include some utilities (heat) and the tenant would be responsible for others, such as electricity. However, this should be verified in advance with each facility. It may vary from building to building. For the ones that do not include any of these services, you can expect the following additional costs associated with the home: phone, electricity, cable, gas and/or oil for heating, water/sewer, trash/garbage removal, snow removal, lawn service and renters insurance. It is hard to estimate these costs because they will be different depending on the size of the property and amount of usage. Homeowners typically provide this information to the landlords and service providers.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
As with any major metropolitan area, it is important that certain measures be taken to secure a place of residence. In the city, many apartments have either a doorman or an intercom. Most buildings without a doorman have double doors. You can call the local police precinct for a free safety inspection of the building. The officer can make safety recommendations, such as changing locks or securing windows. Good home security systems are available at reasonable prices and many include silent alarm features to call for help when you are away from home.
In New York City, as in all big cities, personal safety practices should be a part of your daily routine. Being alert and confident about what you are doing and where you are going is the best way of ensuring your safety. When on the street, walk with a firm posture and your head up. Always know where you are; check street signs occasionally to mark your location.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current in the United States is 110 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 60.
Note: It is not recommended that you bring appliances from outside the U.S. Although there are converters available, the appliance will probably not function properly.
Below are examples of the types of plugs that are used in the U.S.:
Type A - Flat blade attachment plug
Type B - Flat blades with round grounding pin
Please contact Crown New York if you need further assistance.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.