5 Fun Things to do in the Hudson Valley, Upstate New York During COVID-19

5 Fun Things to do in the Hudson Valley, Upstate New York During COVID-19

If you’ve been in need of a quick nature fix and some sense of adventure after months of quarantine, look no further than the nearby Hudson Valley.

The Hudson Valley, Catskills, Upstate New York—whatever you want to call it—is absolutely rich in state parks, waterfalls, hiking trails, and mountains. The best part is that it is very easy to get to from New York City. 

I went on a much needed 8-day trip and stayed at a cute Airbnb cabin in the woods located in-between Kingston City and Woodstock in Ulster County, about an hour and 45 minutes drive from NYC.

Things to do in the Hudson Valley upstate new york during corona

However, I know how frustrating it can be, especially during COVID-19, to figure out which hikes to do and what beaches or trails that are still open.

 So I put together this guide to help you figure what to do in the Hudson Valley, upstate New York during COVID-19. 

FYI, this trip is safe and perfect for solo women travelers, couples, and families.

1. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

This 22,275-acre preserve located in Ulster County (about 30 mins from where I was staying) features various trails for biking and hiking, waterfalls, and a massive lake for swimming with gorgeous viewpoints.

Points of Interest:

Awosting Falls

Waterfalls in the hudson valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy 

I hiked to the Awosting falls, which was a fairly easy and paved 1-mile hike from the parking lot to the falls. The falls stand at 60 feet tall and are surrounded by dense woods and rocks. 

Although tempting, you can not swim in the falls, unfortunately. 

Minnewaska Lake

Minnewaska lake for swimming in the hudson valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy

This is where you can take in these breathtaking views of this sky lake at the Minnewaska Lake View Point. 

There is also a designated swimming area called Minnewaska Lake Beach where you can enjoy taking a refreshing dip after a long hike along the trails that surround the lake.  

Pro Tip: Pack a little picnic to enjoy while taking in the views from up top!

Entrance Fee: $10 per car

Park Hours: 9 am to 7 pm

Parking: Reduced by 50% capacity to maintain social distancing. Please check this website and call before going.

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and masks are enforced.

2. Overlook Mountain

Overlook Mountain Hike in Woodstock

Difficulty Rating: Moderate uphill hike. You will definitely sweat!

Located near Woodstock town, this sweaty 3 hours 5-mile hike to Overlook mountain is a must-do while in upstate New York.

The trail to the top is a clearly paved and shadowed gravel path, nothing too exciting really but the views at the top are totally worth it. Hiking shoes or sneakers with good cushioning are recommended for this hike! 

On your way up, you will come across something fascinating; an abandoned hotel from the 1800s. Here you can catch your breath for a minute or two while wondering about what happened to this eerie hotel.

Abandoned hotel at overlook mountain in the hudson valley upstate new york

As you continue your upwards hike, you will see a sign that says “Fire Tower”, this is where the hiking trail starts getting prettier. You want to keep walking until you see the fire ranger station (the small building across the fire tower) and go behind it to get to the viewpoint cliff overlooking the Hudson Valley.

Take some time to take in the views here and if you packed snacks, this would be the perfect time to enjoy them. Oh and make sure you bring your camera to capture these views!

Lastly, you will want to check out the fire tower. While technically you are not allowed to climb up, some adventurers hikers have created a small hole in the wire doors for people to climb up the tower. So if you are feeling adventurous, you can check it out for even better views. 

On your way out of (or into) the parking lot, you will notice a beautiful building across, which is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Unfortunately, they are completely closed to visitors right now, but you can check out their website here for updates.

Pro Tip: Watch out for rattlesnakes! I saw one but it was peacefully napping. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Park Hours: 24 hrs

Parking: Limited, fits about 20 cars

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and masks are encouraged as you will be crossing other hikers

Woodstock Town

art in Woodstock town

After your hike, be sure to drive to the artsy town of Woodstock, about a mile out from the Overlook Mountain trail parking lot. 

Here you can grab some food, coffee, or ice cream while you walk around taking in the art on the walls and checking out the various vintage shops, which are open for business right now. 

3. Ashokan Reservoir

Ashokan Reservoir in the Hudson Valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Very easy

The Ashokan Reservoir is a water reservoir surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, located in Ulster County close to the Kingston area. This reservoir is what supplies New York City with water!

The Reservoir can be visited from the eastern or western sides of the town through clearly marked pedestrian bridges that are great for walking, biking, or even rollerblading. 

The views of the clear blue lake against the lush mountains are simply stunning but make sure you have enough sunscreen on because there is no shade on the trail.

Ashokan Reservoir in the Hudson Valley Upstate New York

I recommend going to the Eastside basin and packing a picnic. If you are feeling artsy like me, you can bring a sketchbook and some coloring pens to capture this scene. 

If you like to fish, fishing is allowed here with permits, check this website for info. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Park Hours: Unknown 

Parking: Limited

COVID-19 Precautions: Practice social distancing and wear masks as you will be crossing others walking the bridge. 

4. Kingston Point Beach 

Where to swim during covid-19 in upstate new york

For some reason, it was very hard for me to find a place to swim while in the Hudson Valley. Every time we’d drive to a creek or a lake there will be No Swimming allowed signs posted.

So I was extremely excited to have found a place to actually swim and sunbathe!

Kingston Point Beach is a small beach located in downtown Kingston. Now, this is no white sand beach but still a clean beach with clear shallow waters surrounded by some beautiful cliffs. 

Traveling upstate new york during covid-19 coronavirus

The beach is a little rocky so watch out and there are lifeguards who make sure that you only swim in the designated areas. 

After swimming, you can check out this cute little coffee shop, called Village Coffee & Goods for a pick me up. They also have farm-fresh produce and other cool things like plants and kitchenware. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Beach Hours:  Wed-Sun 10 am – 5 pm

Parking: Limited (Every other spot has been blocked off to ensure social distancing)

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and wearing masks are enforced

5. Geo Refrigeration Crevice  

Geo refrigeration crevice upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy

 I left the weirdest thing for last because I have never seen or heard of anything like this before!

This Geo Refrigeration Crevice is exactly what it sounds like!

It’s a crack or a cave-like structure in the rocks that blows really cold air. It felt like I was standing under a powerful air conditioner. Definitely feels good if you are biking or hiking the rest of the trail.

Rail trail in the hudson valley upstate new york

You can get to the crevice by going through the Rail Trail and Trestle Access at Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, Rosendale, NY 12472. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Trail Hours:  8 am – 8 pm 

Parking: Right across the trail entrance, which is directly on the highway, is a big parking lot called Binnewater Parking

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and wearing masks are encouraged by all hikers.

Grocery Stores – Hudson Valley

Adams Farm

A huge grocery store that has everything!

Emmanuels Marketplace

Medium-sized grocery store with a good specialty food selection.

Davenport Farm

Small store with limited selections.

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How Much Does it Cost to Live in New York? Bonus: Budgeting Tips for Newbies

How Much Does it Cost to Live in New York? Bonus: Budgeting Tips for Newbies

When I first announced my move to New York City from Dallas, Texas, the number one question I received from almost everyone I knew was:

“How the heck are you going to afford to live in New York?” 

Or 

The “but, isn’t it expensive?!?”

Yes, it is EXPENSIVE

No, it is not easy to just pack up and move here but it is doable with some forethought and strategic budgeting. 

In this blog post, I will take you through how much does it cost to live in New York. I will provide you with actual numbers based on my own average monthly spending and a handful of other friends that have been living in New York for at least a year. I will also share some of my proven budgeting tips. 

1. Rent 

The biggest expense you’ll encounter when moving to New York is your rent

Don’t be surprised when you find 4 bedroom/1 bath apartments with rooms the size of your college dorm room and no windows starting at $1000 and up per month. 

Remember, It’s New York, we are paying for the lifestyle. 

Here are some examples of rent prices in different neighborhoods. The further away you are from the city the cheaper your rent becomes:

How much does rent cost in New York

You are looking at about $1000/Month/room or more. 

Make sure you read my apartment hunting guide to learn how to find apartments in NYC  and all the costs that come with it. 

2. Transportation 

Subway 

I don’t think it is dramatic to say that, half of the time you spend living in NYC will be spent on the subways and the beloved MTA system.

Each month I spend $127 on my monthly metro card. Since I ride the subway daily, at least twice a day, the monthly card actually saves me a little bit of money.

Alternatively, you can get a weekly pass for $37 or pay as you ride, each swipe will cost you $2.75! 

I told you it wasn’t cheap!

Shared Rides

There are a few options in New York City for shared rides such as Uber Pool, Shared Lyft, VIA or good ol’ yellow cabs. 

Since I pay for the monthly subway pass, I try my absolute best not to spend so much on shared rides. 

However, VIA and the carpool options are pretty affordable ($5-$10/rider/ride) if you need a car or when you realize that your train will not arrive anytime soon due to some crazy incident at one of the stations. 

Be prepared for a lot of that, this is a warning! 

3. Food 

Now, this where budgets get a little more complicated.

Here are examples of what some of my friends spend on average on food per month: 

Average for groceries/month: $270

Average for eating out/month: $375

Groceries 

Since moving to NYC, I have this new habit of mostly shopping at Whole Foods because I think I’m rich sometimes.

But, ya girl just loves her organic produce and gluten-free snacks, okay! 

The average cost of a single shopping trip at Whole Foods for me as a single woman is $90.

If one week I decided that I’m in fact not made of out gold and shopped at Trader Joe’s instead, then the average cost per shopping trip comes down to $50

But, If I decided to be lazy and opted to shop at the smaller market near where I live, then I’m screwed. Because the almond milk costs $6 there! 

I recommend avoiding those smaller neighborhood markets if you want to save some money in NYC unless you really are in a pinch. They tend to be pricier than the big supermarkets and have a very dangerously tempting snack selection. 

Eating out 

If you want to save in NYC, then you must be able to resist the temptation of eating out daily—most New Yorkers fall victim to this because the food here is mind-blowing!  

A breakdown of much eating out costs at various types of restaurants:

How much does food cost in new york

As you can see, it varies but I’d say most times I’ve eaten out I’ve spent around the $20-$30 range.

4. Bills 

Your main bills are going consist of your gas, electric, wifi and maybe renters insurance if you get that. 

Other bills to consider when you are thinking about how much does it costs to live in New York, are your phone bills, health insurance, student loans, gym membership, amazon prime/website subscriptions, and credit card bills. 

Utilities 

Utilities in New York consist of natural gas and electricity. Most apartments use natural gas for stoves and heating systems. 

On average, most of my friends and I pay around $150/month for utilities. 

WiFi 

There aren’t that many companies to choose from in each neighborhood so these prices are pretty standard across the board but the more people sharing the WiFi bill, the less expensive it becomes.

My total internet bill was $50/month the first year, then now they increased it to $65/month. Next year it is going to be $75/month.  

5. Furniture 

This will be a one time expense for you or at least we hope it will.

My room cost about $600 to furnish. Take a look at this video of my apartment tour with links in the description section to where I purchased all of my furniture: 

Beds and mattresses on amazon.com can cost you about $300-$400. This bed frame and mattress that I currently have in my room are awesome! 

A new couch on amazon.com will cost between $300-$600. Check out this couch I recently bought. I get lots of compliments on it. 

If you want to save money on furniture in NYC, then I recommend checking out the Facebook Market Place for great deals on used furniture but keep in mind the pick up/transportation costs or use aptdeco.com, as they can deliver items directly to your home. 

Conclusion: A Rough Monthly Budget

So lets come up with a total monthly budget based on all these estimates: 

Rent: Roughly $1000/room (if not more)

Transportation: $127 + extra $50 for Ubers

Groceries: $270

Eating Out: $375

Utilities + WiFi: Roughly $180

Estimated Total: $2002 *

*Now that number is solely based on averages and does not include an actual rent price, other bills you may have and it does not take into account shopping and drinking. 

I think it is safe to estimate that a budget of about $3000/month is sufficient to survive in New York City. 


I hope that I have helped you get a rough idea of how much it costs to live in New York. If you have any other questions about moving to New York, please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them.

Happy traveling/moving!

xoxo Marina @ Livin’ Vivaciously

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Your Guide to Surviving NYC Through Sound Healing (Vibrobath)

Your Guide to Surviving NYC Through Sound Healing (Vibrobath)

If you live in NYC, then you know the emotional and psychological effects it has on your mental health. Since moving to NYC, I faced many emotional and mental challenges that I’ve never had to deal with before. 

I felt lost. 

The constant mental stimulation, the failed or “fake” relationships, and the managing of finances made me forget who I truly am.

And just like you, I started looking for ways online and offline to surviving NYC and I stumbled upon something truly magical and unique…

Sound Healing

Sound Therapy with crystal bowls to help survive NYC

Sound healing dates back to ancient cultures such as Ancient Egyptian and Greek. But since the ’80s, Vibroacoustic therapy (sound healing), which is a science-based alternative medicine therapy, has been used for pain relief, insomnia, depression, PTSD and even Alzheimers. 

After trying this one of a kind sound healing experience, I was hooked! I felt reconnected and I had to learn more. 

So I met with Devi, who is a certified sound therapist and the mastermind behind this special experience, that she appropriately calls—VIBROBATH.

In this blog post, I will share with you everything you need to know about this unique sound healing experience—VIBROBATH—and how it will help you in surviving NYC.

So first of…

What is Sound Meditation AKA Sound Bath? 

A Sound Meditation/Bath involves the use of music for meditation through vocals, sound frequencies, singing bowls, and crystals. 

What is the difference between a Sound Bath and a Vibrobath?

Vibrobath merges the elements of a Sound Bath and the sound technology of vibroacoustic therapy into a group experience. 

It involves the use of a vibroacoustic pillow, stimulating and massaging the cells in your body and brain through low sound frequencies and vibrations, which also increases blood blow in the body. 

Devi explaining Vibrobath

Devi, who is the sound magician and pioneer of the Vibrobath experience in NYC, says that if your goal is to relax and meditate, then try a Sound Bath. Which is what I tried first then upgraded to the FULL experience! 

If you desire something deeper, like the “Imax version of a Sound Bath” then try Vibrobath, which is similar to getting a Thai/Deep Tissue massage.

So What is it Actually Like Being at Vibrobath? 

Devi created the Vibrobath experience based on her love for spas, music technology, and indigenous sound ceremonies. The gatherings are always intimate and sacred with a small group of people. Devi calls the experience a combination of ancestral gathering, aromatherapy, Reiki and Vibroacoustic therapy.

And I definitely felt this hybrid experience as soon as I walked into Vibrobath. 

Watch this hilarious video to understand more! Vibrobath featured on BuzzFeed as an Ultimate Bucklist Experience!

You are immediately greeted with love, respect, and a cup of warm and delicious special herbal tea blend made in house.

As you walk into the surreal Vibrobath space, you will notice that is filled with luscious green plants, crystals, sound bowls, and comfortable seating. It honestly looks like something from a sci-fi movie! 

You are then asked about your sound tolerance, making the experience customizable and comfortable for you. I picked the quieter spot in the room since it was my first one.  

Then the gathering begins…

The Vibrobath Experience:

Ceremony Duration: 2 hours (in person)

Follow-up Course: 90 mins (this is done online)

Location: New York City—held in some of the most beautiful places. Some of the places I’ve been to are The Assemblage and Spring Studios. 

Tickets: Buy Here. Use code MarinaGirgis for a generous 30% off!

You start the experience sitting in a comfortable seat and doing some breathwork guided by Devi. She constantly makes sure everyone is comfortable by helping adjust/tweak their seat or position as needed to gain the most out of the experience. 

After the grounding breathwork is done. Devi will share an intention for the session with the group. Then you lay down with an eye mask, Devi helps you place the vibroacoustic pillow over your body and the music slowly begins to overtake the room.

While laying down you will experience the frequencies from the music playing as well as nature sounds and indigenous singing by Devi. You will gradually be transported into a different and surreal world over the next couple of hours.

Sound Healing to Surviving NYC

Devi will use essential oils and practice reiki on the group, all while you are getting this delicious internal/cellular massage through the vibroacoustic pillow. 

As the session comes to an end you start to awaken slowly. Devi will guide you through another set of breathwork and prompt the group to share their experience. I love this part because you realize how connected the group is. 

You end with hot towels for aromatherapy, group vocal exercises, and a big group hug, making everyone feel like they belong to one tribe. 

What Happened to me During My Vibrobath Experience 

During my Vibrobath experience, I felt like my body was so heavy on the ground. I felt like I couldn’t move my arms. I was in a trance state similar to being dead— crazy I know!

I saw visions of me floating on a river (the Nile) in an Ancient Egyptian funerary boat. This vision translated into The Journey to the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. It wasn’t anything scary, it all felt like a peaceful journey. 

Journey to the afterlife in ancient Egypt
A Wall Art Scene of The Journey to the Afterlife

During my Vibrobath experience, Devi was playing tracks with water sounds and I was in a transitional period in my life at the time. This made me believe that the visions I saw had to relate to my mental/emotional state of being in the real world. 

That was my journey from death to rebirth through sound healing.

How Did Vibrobath Help Me in Surviving NYC? 

Like I mentioned above, I was going through a transitional period in my life with my health and career. I had been having issues sleeping through the night and was super paranoid about my health that couldn’t stay asleep.  

The ceremony helped me reconnect with my body in a different way. I felt more in control of my situation and that I had options to heal the body through sound. I noticed that my sleep has dramatically improved after the few sessions I have done with Devi.

Devi is such a healer. She is loving and empathetic. She has created a safe space for “The Magician” within to be ignited. 

unique and must try things in NYC- Vibrobath

Devi shares that “The Magician”—YOU—can’t come out if it doesn’t know if it’s safe or initiated to be activated and validated within the gathering. Using simple tools such as our own voices or a crystal or a sound bowl, to ignite The Magician. 

“Vibrobath puts you in a daydreaming state to understand what’s happening in the body during your waking state.”- Devi Mambouka 

During our one-on-one sessions, she taught me how to let the sound of my own voice provide me with comfort if I start freaking out about my health or anything else in my life.  

We created songs together. I truly am grateful to her and Vibrobath for helping people with coping and surviving NYC through all the madness we deal with on a daily basis. 

You can learn about the scientific mechanism of how sound healing works in this video below:

Who is Sound Healing For? Can anyone join Vibrobath?

Sound healing is for people who love music. Which is basically almost the majority of the population here on earth…so really ANYONE can go to a sound healing or sound bath session.

According to our sound healer Devi, Vibrobath is for “someone who has or desires a relationship with the seen and unseen world”

She also explains how sound healing is for “people who had a relationship with their own voice but the world shut them down. So it’s to heal your relationship with sound.” 

Sound Bath and sound therapy for surviving NYC

Personally, I feel like sound healing is for anyone that is looking for ways to heal or get in touch with something new within themselves. For those tired of the hustle and bustle and looking for creative ways to surviving NYC

Who is “The Magician”? How Can We be Magicians? 

Devi talks a lot about “The Magician” so I wanted to understand this term a little bit more and how we can attain such a powerful title. 

This is what I learned from Devi on “The Magician”: 

A magician is like Doctor Strange pushing out geometric patterns. Which is actually a scientific concept called cymatics

Cymatics is the process of vibrating matter which in turn creates patterns. See this cool video below to believe it! 

Similarly, during a Vibrobath, the voices and frequencies from the music are creating these geometrical shapes in our bodies, that in turn reflect onto our waking state.

“Being a magician is having the power to create these vibrations that can create the patterns we want into our lives.”– Devi Mambouka 

How can Vibrobath Encourage us to Live more Vivaciously? 

Sound healing can guide us to Livin’ Vivaciously simply by understanding our own vibrations. These vibrations or internal voices tell us when we need to go for what we truly want. When we should speak up about what matters to us and when should let go of something that no longer serves us or “The Magician” within. 

It is our inner guide.

Devi also explains how Vibrobath creates this imaginary trance world that unlocks the creativity within. The low frequencies used, stimulate the root (1st) chakra, which is all about creativity and safety. 

And, I truly experienced all that within the trance worlds I entered each time I did sound healing with her.

At the end of it all, experiencing Vibrobath or a Sound Meditation with Devi is the ultimate invitation to be silly

To let out those noises in your head and body. To be YOU.

If you are looking for new ways to surviving NYC and all the madness in your life or you are simply wanting to try a completely new and unique experience in NYC, then I highly recommend you try a Vibrobath session! 

Keep up with Devi, her motivational posts, and upcoming events on Instagram: @vibrobath

To book private sessions with Devi click here. 

And remember, you are The Magician you are looking for! 

Everything You Need to Know About Finding Apartments in NYC

Everything You Need to Know About Finding Apartments in NYC

You decided to take the BIG leap, you packed up everything you could, and bought that dreaded one-way ticket to the world’s most exciting (and honestly overwhelming) city in the world! 

Bravo, that was just half the battle.

You soon realize that finding a decent apartment in NYC — a place that is not a dungeon, that doesn’t cost you over $1k/month, and isn’t far removed from civilization — is your next biggest challenge.

In this in-depth New York City apartment hunting guide, I will share with you how I found an apartment my first month moving to the city for less than $1k, what to expect when you are ready to actually sign a long-term lease, and scams to avoid to preserve your sanity because…

I almost lost mine.

There are a couple of options when it comes to finding apartments in the City, in order of preference below: 

Subleasing

If you really want to save some $$ and see where life will take you in NYC (especially if you move without a job lined up or want to try out the city), my best advice is to sublease a place first.

Subleasing allows you to rent out a room in an apartment from a person who owns the lease (they’re legally obligated to the lease, not you). You would pay your rent to the person you are subletting from. Usually, this is a month-to-month contract or bi-weekly if you negotiate.

The rooms usually come fully furnished, a perk saving you tons of money and the hassle of moving furniture on the subways or Ubers!

Finding apartments in NYC
Midtown on a foggy day

How to Find Apartments to Sublease?

Sites like Roomi.com and Spareroom.com, help connect you with people you can sublease a room from. They have various filters that allow you to search listings within your budget and location preference. I scored my first sublet from Spareroom.com for $750/ month, including utilities! 

Mind you, this room was smaller than my dorm room in college but I loved it and got along pretty well with the girl I was subleasing from.

But the best deals are actually found on Facebook groups!!

Groups like Gypsy Housing, NYC Rooms for Rent roommates, rooms, apartments + sublets, NYC Housing, Sublets Rooms Apartments

You can use the search tool to find more groups like this. They are usually closed groups so request to join a bunch of them as it may take a while to get in a few.

My experience with finding a place to rent before I actually moved to NYC was horrifying (read below). I do not recommend going that route unless you know for sure you will be staying in NYC for a year or more and have saved up 3x the first month’s rent.

Renting

If you must rent before you arrive in NYC or let’s suppose you moved and you are ready to sign a year lease, then I recommend you make some friends first or find people to room with before you go apartment hunting. Why? Because all the rooms in a shared NYC apartment need to be rented out before you can sign on a long-term lease. 

If you have roommates, you can look for apartments through websites like: 

apartments.com and Streeteasy.com

Keep in mind that you will have to go through a real estate broker to secure an apartment. You will not be able to independently find an apartment in NYC.

I had the worst luck finding an apartment because I didn’t come prepared with roomies. It took me losing four apartments I put deposits on and two months of constant searches. I think I saw about 30 (crappy) apartments in the dead of winter. 

Please don’t be like me. Signing a long-term lease can get tricky…

Brokers prefer groups because they don’t have to put in the work themselves to find your roommates and they must have the apartments fully occupied before you sign on the lease. 

Which means:

  1. They WILL give up your spot even with a deposit down if they don’t find your roommates. 
  2. They will keep you on a leash for as long as possible and will have you do the heavy lifting to actually find your roommates (good luck getting people to commit in NYC)
  3. If you couldn’t find roommates, they will not let you move in unless you pay them the full rent and sign the entirety of the lease to YOUR name–that’s one option if you can afford it! 

If everything goes well and you find the place of your dreams, keep in mind the following:

NYC Rental Requirements and Costs:

  1. You will have to pay a deposit RIGHT AWAY. The deposit is a FULL first month’s rent + application fee ($60-$150 for your application and your guarantors, if you use one)
  2. You need to have your first month’s rent ready at the lease signing. (Some even require your last month’s rent!)
  3. Have your documents ready and scanned in so you can act fast. These include:
    • National ID/Passport
    • The last three bank statements
    • Recent pay stubs or proof of income- must be 40x the rent in yearly income (you can use a job offer letter, too)
    • Savings Account Statements if it’s substantial 
    • If you do not make 40x the monthly rent. You can use a guarantor. This can be a family member or a good friend that is willing to SIGN the lease with you. They will have to prove that they make 40x the rent in yearly income!! (Outrageous, I know!)
    • Your credit (your guarantors’) is usually the defining factor in whether or not you get approved. Credit must be good or excellent. 
  4. Money for furniture (I spent around $600 to furnish mine.) 

I stayed in my subleased room for a month until I was offered a full-time job. I then found my current roommate on one of the Facebook groups I mentioned above. 

Funny story: I thought I secured an apartment because I put a deposit down and was promised by the broker that I can move in by January 1st…

”For sure you will be able to move in!” she said.

This is the biggest lie they will tell you. Based on that promise, I did not extend my sublease and had to move out because someone else was going to take over my room. Fortunately, the girl I was staying with was kind enough to let me crash for a week on her couch until I found an apartment.

After several long nights of searching for apartments online and seeing over a dozen of them, one night I saw a post on one of the Facebook groups by a girl who is now my current roommate.

It went something like this:

Her: “I need a place for $1k-$1.3k ASAP. Ready to move in next week!!!” 

Me: “SAME!!!”

We teamed up, started searching for a two-bedroom apartment within our budget for three days straight. We searched on apartments.com and Streeteasy.com and even went to the extent of creating a Google doc with all the places we were interested in, (locations, the price, and the brokers’ contact info). After two days of non-stop back-to-back viewings, we found the one!

It was the most perfect place. I knew as soon as I walked in that this would be home (after seeing 30 crappy apartments, you just know)! 

It was exactly within our budget, in a great neighborhood, 30 mins from the city, and had a washer & dryer (a rarity in NYC)! 

You can watch my apartment tour video to see what we scored for $1250 each/month in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn:

Support my channel by subscribing <3

What to watch out for when renting apartments in NYC?

  • Don’t put a deposit down on a long-term lease, if the broker can’t secure your roommates or you don’t have people ready to sign with you.
  • Avoid sending deposits through Venmo. Okay, I actually did this. It is pretty common here for brokers to ask for a Venmo deposit and generally speaking it is safe. But if you can avoid it and have a more official form of money exchange, you will have more peace of mind and proof that the money you sent was indeed a rental deposit. 
  • If your rental application gets rejected, ask for your deposit back. 
    • They can keep the application fee which is used to run your credit (check that they actually ran your credit!) but you are entitled to get back your deposit.
  • Watch out for big-name apartment rental companies that invite you over to their office to meet first. They usually require that you pay them a broker fee. That fee is usually over a few hundred dollars! There are TOO many no fees listings so don’t waste your hard-earned cash. 
  • When subleasing through sites such as Facebook groups or Craigslist, avoid sending anyone money until you see the place and meet the person yourself at the rental apartment. I have friends that were turned away after arriving at the rental apartment, thinking the place is theirs because they paid.

Remember: Nothing is yours until you have a key in hand, even if you paid for it.

Friendly neighborhoods in New York City
A typical Sunday in the neighborhood

Airbnb

This can be a more cost-effective option with the least amount of hassle for newbies to the City.

I know of friends that moved to NYC and started out by temporarily renting out a room on Airbnb for less than 1k! Similar to subleasing, there are fewer fees and less hassle involved in going this route. 

Save $40 on your first home booking and get $15 to use toward a local experience worth $50 or more here.  

Craigslist

I just wanted to add this one here because it is a viable option and I know of people who found their apartments on there but everyone knows about Craigslist. However, I personally never trust the ads on there and always feel like there is a catch or a scam. Proceed at your own risk! 

Final Words of Wisdom

Sunset in New York City over the Hudson River
Sunset over the Hudson River

Sublease first. Think of apartment hunting in the city like job hunting; apply for as many as you can and as soon as you see a place you like, PUT YOUR MONEY DOWN or someone else will snatch it up. After all, this is NYC, the city of hustlers!

If you still have questions on finding apartments in NYC, feel free to contact me or suggest a related topic for a future post. Happy hunting and good luck on your new adventure!