Moving To New York: Expectation Vs. Reality

I remember my big move to New York like it was yesterday. The excitement, the chill in the air, the incomparable feeling that comes when you realize you’re truly #livingthedream. Which is, of course, immediately followed by the ground-shifting reality slap that is living in New York City. The expectations and reality of moving here are very different.

Shocker, I know, but my own big move did not go as easily as planned. My flight was cancelled after I spent an hour and a half checking in and was informed that "the severe winter temperatures have frozen the fuel on the plane." (No joke). I wasn't able to land a full-time job at a glossy magazine after graduation, and instead secured a part-time internship paying $8.25 an hour. And did I mention that I was homeless for the first two weeks after finally touching down at LaGuardia? Shout out to my friend Sam — your couch was hella comfy.

If my experience sounds similar to yours, the all-new season of The Detour will feel all too real. After the Parker family’s rollicking, shame-inducing, earth-shattering road trip during Season 1, the gang is making a fresh start in the city that never sleeps. But as they learn, you can take the family out of the mess, but you can’t take the mess out of the family. This especially applies when you move to literally one of the messiest place on Earth, so things are sure to be interesting for this bright-eyed gang of weirdos.

In celebration of the TBS comedy's upcoming second season that brings the family to the Big Apple, we've partnered with The Detour to break down what you should really be expecting when you pack your bags to move to NYC. Make sure to catch the commercial-free premiere of the all new season of The Detour, Tuesday Feb. 21st at 10 p.m. ET on TBS. You'll thank us later.

The Big Decision

Expectation: You've been in love with NYC since you saw the sweeping montage of the skyline on the big screen at your local multiplex. Packing up and moving there is an obvious choice, don't you think?

Reality: Similar to Robin in the season premiere of The Detour, you'll literally second guess every major life decision you've ever made the second you hear the final boarding call for New York. Just be prepared.

Starting Your Dream Job

Expectation: Check out that big, fancy office building—I can't believe I get to work here! And woah! Is that *my name* printed on those brand new business cards? Gosh, this really is the dream.

Reality: Learn this rule: if you can describe your new boss as "eccentric" or "spirited" within minutes of your first introduction, run for the hills. (Spoiler: Something tells us this is what Nate Parker should have done when he accepted his fancy new gig in the season premiere. That boss of his seems like a real piece of work.)

Apartment Décor

Expectation: The vibe you're going for is a mix between rustic minimalist, eclectic contemporary, and Carrie Bradshaw's rent-controlled Upper East Side hideaway.

Reality: LOL, JK! You’re paying enough in rent money to blow through a whole life's savings in four months’ time. Plus, your only Friday night plans for the next few weeks are going to be assembling cheap furniture while sipping $8 wine. Cheers.

Falling In Love

Expectation: Similar to Jared when he falls head over feels for his ~first love~ in New York, we've all played the same romantic montage on a loop in our heads: Cue an apartment door opening with the love of your life standing on the other side. Cut to running down the street together, hand in hand. Cut to flirting over a glass of wine. Cut to your wedding day with the city that never sleeps as your backdrop. *Swoon.*

Reality: You'll likely spend a significant portion of your twenties swiping left and right before finally finding someone that shares the same level of weirdness as you. Here's hoping they don't have a laundry list of previous aliases that you find out about 13 years into your relationship—à la Nate and Robin Parker.

Your View

Expectation: *Stares out the window thoughtfully into the distance* This really is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

Reality: Just like the Parker's new airshaft apartment view, it's probably just a brick wall looking into a dude's apartment while he works out in his living room.


Expectation: A different cuisine every night... How could I possibly continue on a diet of pizza and toaster pastries when I’m practically living in the culinary capital of the WORLD?

Reality: Woah woah woah! The Yelp pics of this half-price sushi joint mentioned a sunlight-filled kitchen area? Is there even a bathroom?!?


Expectation: Who needs a car?! Everything is so accessible here! I'll just grab a cab

Reality: TBH your most reliable mode of transportation in the city is to walk and subway-it as often as possible, but word to the wise: try not to wind up getting hit by a cab like Nate when you're crossing the street. Those signals are there for a reason.

Making Friends

Expectation: Wow, so many new people to meet! I can't wait to casually walk into a bar by myself and walk out with five new best friends for life!

Reality: Yeah, actually, you're actually going to wind up third-wheeling with friends-of-friends for your first few months, until everyone inevitably pairs off and leaves you back at square one. When brother Jared falls in crazy stupid love with his first flame, Delilah gets a dose of this medicine.

Happy Hour

Expectation: Rooftop bars at sunset! Craft cocktails with friends! A jolly good time!

Reality: Don't kid yourself. Just like Nate and Robin, you're still just going to drink crappy bottles of wine around your dining room table with your roomie until you find yourselves in the middle of a heated game of Pictionary.

But hey! Just as the Parkers see, when you're in New York, at least you're in the good company of other people who have f*cked things up just as royally as you have. I'll drink to that!

This article was sponsored by TBS' The Detour. Tune in to the commercial-free season premiere of The Detour, Tuesday Feb. 21st at 10 p.m. E/T on TBS.

Images: Offset; Stocksy; Allison Berry/Instagram