New York City. The Big Apple. The Nexus of the Universe. Whatever you call it, it is one of the most unique places on earth and 8.4 Million people call it home. Many of those people moved here from other places in order to pursue their dream. New York City is the promise land of opportunity in the United States. Moving here however is no easy task. Getting a job in New York City without living here makes it next to impossible to get called in for an interview and securing an apartment in the cities crazy real estate market is a whole new world within itself. The city is expensive, the city is unforgiving, and the city is challenging.
While living in Buffalo I knew that I wanted to move to New York City and that I wanted to get involved with startups there. I applied to jobs for months before actually moving to New York City. The call's I got back for an interview were to come into the office in a day or two, but I was still 600 miles away in Buffalo. I needed to be closer if I was going to make any progress. I flew to New York City on a day in July with Colleen to try and get us an apartment, but we quickly learned we couldn't get approved in a nice building without a job. After viewing a dozen apartments with a broker we finally got approved by a building. We were quickly educated that being as this was July, where apartments can come on the market in the morning and be immediately off the market after lunch we had to decide fast if we wanted an apartment or not. We took it; real estate broker fee, deposit and all.
A month later we moved to New York City. After struggling just to get into the city I still had to find a job though. I ran out of money shortly after moving to New York City and ended up having to sell my car, which I had payed off while working bartending jobs during college. That only bought me a few more months of runway though. So I took a bartending job that I was able to get through a friend of a friend in Buffalo who happened to do some business in New York City (See Buffalo really is the "The City of Good Neighbors"). The bartending job was part time and still wasn't enough. Again, I was slightly better off than before but not by much. So I took a second job freelancing and working remotely online in the early mornings, writing for a tech website. I was still applying to potential full time jobs and taking interviews in my spare time. The cycle became that I would work bright an early in the morning, then apply to jobs and interview during the day, and finally bartend at night. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I remember distinctly getting down to $20 in my bank account at this time while I would be waiting for my next paycheck to come in from either of the jobs. I was very close to having to move back to Buffalo. After months of this I finally got a full time job offer out of one of the interviews. I still remember being out to lunch. Colleen and I had company in town visiting us. We were talking about how life in New York has been treating us so far while eating cheeseburgers and I got a phone call. It was my future boss saying that the company would love to hire me and asked when I could start. It was an entry level job but it was enough that I could break even, pay my full rent, student loans, and live in New York City. Since that day, there have been hardships and challenges of course, but I am here. I live in New York City. Casey Neistat last year told a very similar story of his struggle in moving to New York City. How moving here can eat you alive and strip you of all your resources in the process. That even just getting set up to live in New York City is one of the greatest challenges people face.
He explains at the end of the video how it has all been worth it though. How for him the opportunity has out weighed the tremendous cost of moving to New York City in the first place. I have to agree. The opportunities the city has afforded me since then have been tremendous. I get to experience new products, stores, movies, foods, services, and crazes in New York City long before people in other parts of the country. So many experiences. I am always surrounded by ambitious and motivated people here. I feel privileged and love what I get to do now with startups. It was not easy though. So as you can see there is a reason Sinatra once said if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.