THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO NEW YORK
New York City, the Big Apple, is a melting pot for cultures – the best place to meet people from around the world, working in a variety of professions: you’ll meet actors, dancers, designers, doctors and bankers! There are enough restaurants, cafes and bars to keep you going for years! If you’d like to spend your nomad journey in New York City, then read on to find out more about the city and its best tips for digital nomads!
WHERE IS IT & WHY SHOULD YOU GO?
New York City is the one of the most common entry points into the United States. With three major airports (JFK, La Guardia and Newark), it’s very easy to fly in and out of this city. The food trucks, al fresco café dining, and vibrant park culture means there’s something for everyone!
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
New York goes through the perfect cycle of seasons: summer runs from June to August and temperatures can get quite warm (rising up to 35 degrees Celsius), but it’s also the perfect time to sit out and enjoy the outdoors. There are lots of food festivals, outdoor movies, fitness activities in the park, and rooftop bars that make summer in New York one of the best! Fall (from September to November) is beautiful; temperatures run between 12 and 20 degrees, and Christmas lights and winter markets start popping up. Winter is definitely dreadful, and temperatures can fall well into the negatives. What makes it worse are the wind tunnels created by the skyscrapers. But I promise all the Christmas decorations, window displays and ice skating rinks will make up for it. Spring runs from March to May, and can be very pleasant – similar to the fall!
THE BEST THING ABOUT NEW YORK IS:
There’s always a cool event going on whether it’s food festivals, outdoor scavenger hunts, bars on boats or museum exhibits. Even better is the number of food and dining options available – no restaurant, café or bar is similar and you can have some really unique culinary experiences! There are enough restaurants in New York for you to eat out every night for 54 years and not visit the same place twice!
THE WORST THING ABOUT NEW YORK IS:
The number of people can be really overwhelming, especially in tourist areas like Times Square. As a resident, it can be frustrating to not be able to walk quickly and get to your destination! It’s also a very busy city – everyone always has social commitments, and it can be quite difficult to schedule time to hang out even with your friends!
IS ENGLISH SPOKEN?
Yes, of course :-)
IS NEW YORK SAFE?
For the most part, yes! I’ve traveled in a taxi at 4am, and by subway until 1am. I would recommend only taking the subway late at night if you’re getting on and off at busy stations. Generally, the majority of the city (from the single digit streets up to the early 100s is safe)!
BEST AREAS TO LIVE IN?
The beauty of New York lies in how different each neighborhood is. First decide if you’d like to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn. I personally prefer Manhattan because that’s where all the action is, but certain areas of Brooklyn are quickly catching up. Within Manhattan, you should consider your priorities:
- If you want to live close to several subway stops, live on the West side of the city which has all the subway lines except for one.
- If you want to live in family/residential areas, live in the 60s-90s.
- If you want to live close to offices and the shopping areas, live in the 30s-50s.
- If you want to live in a student-friendly area, or around brickstone buildings, live under the 20s.
My absolutely favorite area in Manhattan is West Village – this is where the FRIENDS apartment is. It’s teeming with cafes and bars, gorgeous brickstone buildings, and quiet bylanes. This is also where NYU is, making it a student favorite. Apartments can be a bit expensive in this area though it’s not uncommon to find a decently-priced place!
MY FAVOURITE CAFÉ’S TO WORK FROM:
Café Benne: multiple locations but my favorite is the one on 49th Street and Broadway. Lots of seating, and cozy ambiance.
House of Small Wonder: delicious sandwiches and coffee, tiny but like a greenhouse with glass roof and trees in the café
Tea & Sympathy: British café serving delicious scones, tea, sandwiches and English breakfast. No wi-fi, but it’s in West Village so you’re guaranteed it’s relatively quiet.
Bee’s Knees: Great breakfast, quiet spot with wi-fi and in the student area
GREAT CO-WORKING SPACES:
Ace Hotel: The lobby is really fancy with nice antique tables and couches; you’ll find lots of people having meetings or just working at the long tables. Bonus: they’ve got an outpost of Stumptown Coffee Roasters right there (some of the best you’ll ever have).
The Farm: I’ve never tried this out, but heard a lot about this spot. It doesn’t require long-term commitment; shared desks are around $250 a month while individual desks are $400 a month.
OTHER FAVOURITE HOTSPOTS:
Gallow Green: My absolute favorite rooftop bar in Manhattan. It has an old railway track and compartment, surrounded by lots of greenery. Great spot for summer drinks!
Queen of Sheba: DELICIOUS Ethiopian food. If you’ve never tried it, you must. Excellent options for vegetarians too and very reasonable. Can get a good meal with a drink for under $15.
Cienfuegos: Quaint 1920s type speakeasy with a delicious rum cocktail. It’s hard to get a spot here though, so try going earlier in the night.
Loopy Doopy: Rooftop bar in Tribeca, serving popsicles dipped in your champagne! Excellent view and best enjoyed at sunset.
Vezzo/Tappo: One of the best spots for wood fired pizza, especially since you can make your own pizza with all kinds of toppings. Both restaurants are owned by the same person, so choose whichever is closest to you!
Gato: Delicious Spanish cuisine – some of the best dips, patatas bravas and paella I have ever had. A slightly fancy place that requires reservations a couple of weeks in advance, but definitely not too pricey!
WHAT IS THE INTERNET LIKE IN NEW YORK?
New York is a great city for internet. Most cafes will have wi-fi, and they have also recently introduced wi-fi in subway stations.
DO YOU NEED A CAR TO GET AROUND?
Not at all! NYC has great public transport (both buses and subway) and most places are walkable. In fact that’s the beauty of New York – being able to walk around and soak in the city’s essence. Moreover, parking is ridiculously expensive, and traffic can get quite bad!
New York City is a good central hub to make trips around the East Coast – Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC are all drivable distances (although there are excellent bus and train services too). There’s also Vermont and the Poconos which are excellent skiing destinations!
RENT: It can go anywhere from $1000 (for studios in less expensive neighborhoods) to $3500 (for 1 or 2 bedroom apartments in the heart of the city)
STREET FOOD: $3-5 (but there’s also $1 pizza slices!)
RESTAURANT: $15 (main course + drink)
ALCOHOL: $4 for beer, $9-10 wine and $12-15 for cocktails
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: You should get a metro card. They have options for monthly unlimited rides (if you plan to use the subway or bus everyday). Otherwise a single subway ride costs $2.50.
ACTIVITIES: $10-$20 for museums, $15-$20 for bicycle hire for a day, $13 for movie tickets, FREE picnics and hanging out in the park!
HOTELS: $28-$50 for a bed in a dorm and upwards of $90 per night in a hotel.
RECOMMENDED HOTELS & HOSTELS:
There is no dearth to great hotels and hostels in New York – it totally depends on what neighborhood you’d like to stay in. Some good areas are Union Square, SoHo or West Village (for young, hipster crowd with lots of bars and cafes), Midtown East, Upper East or Upper West (for quieter residential areas).
FACEBOOK GROUPS FOR DIGITAL NOMADS IN NEW YORK:
None that I know of sadly :( But Meetups are really popular in New York, so try looking for one for bloggers or travelers or entrepreneurs! [Milou: Ps: I also have a Facebookgroup for digital nomads :-)!!!]
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! I’m Mehek, an engineer by education, a healthcare consultant by profession, and a traveler at heart! I’ve visited 29 countries in the last 25 years, and I’ve set a personal target to get to a total of 45 by the time I’m 45! I love hanging out at eclectic local cafes, looking for the best vegetarian food around, collecting magnets and local art from every city I visit, and indulging in experiences off-the-beaten-path. So far I’ve taken a graffiti workshop in Prague, stayed on a farm in North India and cycled through the Cambodian countryside. Follow my travel stories at Map and Magnets.