So is it pretty much impossible for an average joe to move to NYC?

Asked by Jazzaholic, New York Thu Jul 12, 2012

So I live in Upstate NY and I'm 18 years old.
I'm a MASSIVE JAZZ FREAK. Completely addicted and totally obsessed with classic Jazz. Now of course everyone knows that NYC is the mother ship of all Jazz happenings....*commence drooling* Smalls Jazz Club, Birdland, Blue Note, Village Vanguard, the list goes on and on and on. It kills me to say that where I live there are no Jazz clubs. NOTHING AT ALL. I'M DEPRIVED OF LIVE JAZZ MUSIC. I don't know how it happened, but that's my current status.
I got this crazy plan that I could land some crappy job (like a janitor) and quite POSSIBLY just barely survive enough to where I could go to Jazz clubs in my free time. I could have the crappiest job and the worst living conditions, but if could see live jazz then I'm the happiest dude on the planet.
For all you people living in NYC I don't think you realize how incredible it must be to live near so many bomb Jazz clubs. You should say thanks every day....
There must be a way....

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Fri Jul 13, 2012
Hi, I've played jazz flute for years and have been in several bands, including leading my own jazz fusion band. So I've known many, many musicians, including some who came to NYC with no money, no job, just wanting to be here for the music. You're not alone in your dream, and that's a helpful thing.

Here are some scenarios I know of: A drummer from Italy who rented a sofa to sleep on in a hallway, with access to a bathroom, for $275/month; a violinist who roomed with three other musicians, but she had her own alcove that she sectioned off with a curtain; a songwriter who lives in a basement in the suburbs for $650/month; a playwright who pays about $450/month for a room in Brooklyn that is so small, only his bed a few other things will fit. Sitting on the bed, his knees hit the door. There are internet sources for these room rentals (craig's list et al) but contacts are always the best way to go.

All of them would tell you it's tough. Some have used food pantries for a meal now and then. Some are living without health insurance. Some break the law once in awhile to get by.

The most common day job people have is in food service. You can work breakfast and lunch shifts, or only lunch, or only 4 days a week all day, and then hit the clubs and jam sessions at night and weekends. (I assume you play some instrument?). Janitor jobs you are unlikely to get, a lot of those are union jobs. Temp jobs are highly competitive right now; I know a guy with an ivy league B.S. degree who can't get one. Also, note most jam sessions happen Monday-Wednesday nights, but there are exceptions. Any job you have must fit around the music.

If I were you I would get food service job experience where you are, and save up all the money possible. It would help immensely if your parents are supportive in case your plans fall through, or you get into trouble financially and need a gift or a loan. Also, don't forget that Rochester has a great music scene and if you can hang out there, you might meet some people who are heading south some time soon.

It would also help to be a few years older. The best room mate situations involve people who are older than you, in their 20's, and many would not accept such a young person for fear you'd be irresponsible. It's not fair, I know, but I know it happens. Any contacts you can find around NYC who are in their 20's could be a great help as well. Above all--no illegal drugs in your life. They don't improve the music but they do screw up your life in multiple ways. Also, practice now cutting expenses and learning how to live with less. And I do hope all your dream comes true.

Karla Harby
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York, NY
4 votes
really interesting reply, thnx
Flag Mon Apr 10, 2017
Great answer and advice Karla!
Flag Thu Mar 14, 2013
Awesome and constructive answer! Thanks!
Flag Fri Oct 12, 2012
Cindy Rosen, Agent, Montgomery, AL
Fri Jul 13, 2012
Try New Orleans or Austin TX Very Hip and much more affordable!
1 vote
Noah Seidenb…, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sun Mar 15, 2015
Yes read what others are saying, you are going to make it. A rough time my lay ahead but you have it in you.
0 votes
David Distef…, Home Buyer, Hoboken, NJ
Mon Nov 3, 2014
Regular Joe wants to move to Ny? Two words: Jersey City.
0 votes
Gina, Home Buyer, Studio City, CA
Sat Feb 16, 2013
Why dont you get a job at your favorite jazz club and go from there.
0 votes
John Peitler, Agent, NY,
Fri Jul 13, 2012
I have some nice apartments available in the Village. Please call me at 347-903-6736. My name is Padmini. Thank you and good luck!
0 votes
Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Fri Jul 13, 2012
Its not a matter of being an average Joe, most of us are, it's a matter of affordability, and being realistic to your personal circumstances and acting accordingly. With time, maturity, and a sensible game plan, your desires to live in NYC may materialize. Keep the dream alive, sensibly.
0 votes
Veronika Baba, Agent, NY,
Thu Jul 12, 2012
You are to yang to know what you want. I understand that you like Jazz, but that doesn't have nothing to do with the real life. You need to do something with your self to have some qualification. If you have a good job you can afford to live in NY. Don,t waste your life. Enjoy the music, but think about your future. I hope you have somebody in your life.
0 votes
This is awful. Who are you to tell an aspiring musician that he is too young to know what he wants. You're a real estate agent, maybe you love it, maybe you do it because it is a "sensible job" but you should never try and crush someone's dreams of following their own passions, just because you likely gave up on your own decades ago. Shame on you!
Flag Thu Mar 14, 2013
Angela Nelson, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Move to an outerboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan, queens, staten island, you'll be fine:)
0 votes
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