I'm from NYC, and I tell you there are a lot of good areas and it is possible to live here without a car if you choose. A lot of it depends on where you actually wind up working.
The one thing that's difficult to find here are three-bedroom and larger apartments. We have an abundance of 1-bedrooms, junior twos (we call them "plus den"), and studios. Capitol Hill is the densest neighborhood north of San Francisco, but there's good living downtown and on Queen Anne and Fremont and Wallingford and Green Lake, the University District . . .