Bright Lights, Brownstones & Big Dreams: How to Make Your Move to a Big City
By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
I’ve been there. I’ve walked through my suburban town agitated by it’s smallness and thought, “I need to get the heck up out of here.” Sidney Shaw taunted me with her brownstone in “Brown Sugar” and the depiction of rain and passion mixed in Chicago’s urban terrain had me yearning to get my “Love Jones” on. Tapas bars, jazz clubs, underground hip-hop shows, networking, after work mixers; I knew there was a wanna-be-socialite heaven in one of United States’ big cities waiting for me.
I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Unfortunately, I wasn’t raised there. I was uprooted at nine for a chance at better schools. My family and I moved to Long Island, NYC’s suburban area. Immersed in small town gossip and quiet, I yearned for the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Two nights ago, I finally moved back. After tenure at a college in silent Virginia and a bout back home with the parental units, I finally have something within New York City to call my own.
While flipping through the blogs of friends of friends, I’ve noticed a common yearning amongst us. It seems I’m not the only one who wants bright lights, skyscrapers and the metro. I witnessed a multitude of womanly words yearning for their day in Atlanta, Houston, L.A., Chi-town and many other resemblances of the big city. So here’s how:
1. You should start saving. Some people have this illusion that the minute you step on the pavement of the big city, fame and fortune will come to you and record labels, publishers or their new corporate job will take care of the rest. Nope, not at all. Create a budget projecting how much you’ll need to spend each month, make each month and save each month. Start off with a savings of about $3,000-5,000; this will help when fending off rental broker fees, hunger pains and tips for overeager food deliverymen.
2. You’ll need a secured gig. This economy is no joke and even if we were still in the Clinton era, you’d still need a job the minute you get here. Unless you have family/friends that are willing to let you sleep on their couch or in the guest bedroom; don’t speed here to start looking for a job the next morning. Even with a start off fund, you’ll need a gig to keep your head above water. Shoot freelance queries to blogs/publications for some extra side money, apply for certification if you’re taking the substitute/teacher route, find internships and/or find something that’ll keep the lights on until you’re discovered.
3. Don’t wait to be discovered. While keeping the lights on, make serious connections. There are plenty of conferences, events, rare bookstores, open mic spots and more in metropolitan areas. Your kind dwells here. Just look for someone with your attire, a Starbucks cup in hand and goals written all over their face. Networking and surrounding yourself with positive ambition oriented persons is the one of the fastest routes to the top.
4. Pick your borough. I have a friend from Iowa who loves Fat Joe and decided, from a few rap lyrics, she was going to move to the Bronx, New York for her big move. The problem is, she works in Queens. Regretfully, she does a 2-4 hour commute back and forth to work everyday. Use Google maps to find the distance from your desired borough, check out the train/car routes to get there and make sure it’s conducive to your agenda. Come visit before you sign any leases or make any promises! Make sure the spot you’ve chosen is right for you.
5. Go get your spot. Ha! Rentals in big cities can go anywhere from $1,500 to a cool hundred grand. I don’t think so. Unless you’ve got some secret trust fund or just won the lotto, I’ve got some other suggestions for you. Search Craigslist or other real estate related websites for sweet deals. You can rent anything, from a $1,500 cute studio, to a $1,200 ground floor of a two-family residence. Make sure you can envision your writing, painting, planning, meditation etc. area before you say, “I’ll take it!”