Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Part 2: Loans Suck!

Welcome to Part 2 of my research on living in NYC! If you have been following thus far you know that this post and the previous post contain my research on what it will be like to live in New York City, and if you haven't been following and have no idea what I am talking about, go back to the beginning and re-read this sentence. Without further ado:

Transportation: There seem to be many ways of getting around in New York City: Driving, Subway’s, Taxi’s, ferries, bikes, buses. As I will not be taking my car with me, that eliminates the first option of driving everywhere. Plus, if you take a car, your going to end up paying more just trying to park it somewhere than you would on any other option.  The most accessible option seems to by the Metrocard. If you pay $104 you get an unlimited number of rides on both subways and buses for 30 days. Considering a fare for a typical subway or bus ride is $2.25 you would spend $135 dollars riding the subway or bus at a minimum of twice a day so you end up saving $31 dollars. Cab’s are a more expensive option to chose while traveling. Here is the info taken from the New York City Taxi and Limousine commison website:
Standard City Rate (Rate Code 1)
$2.50 upon entry
$0.40 for each additional unit
The unit fare is:
  • one-fifth of a mile, when the taxicab is traveling at 6 miles an hour or more; or 
  • 60 seconds when not in motion or traveling at less than 6 miles per hour. 
  • The taximeter shall combine fractional measures of distance and time in accruing a unit of fare. Any combination of distance or time shall be computed by the taximeter in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 44. 
  • The fare shall include pre-assessment of the unit currently being accrued; the amount due may therefore include a full unit charge for a final, fractional unit. 
  • Night surcharge of $.50 after 8:00 PM & before 6:00 AM 
  • Peak hour Weekday Surcharge of $1.00 Monday - Friday after 4:00 PM & before 8:00 PM 
  • New York State Tax Surcharge of $.50 per ride.
Blah blah, basically you’re going to end up paying all that, plus and tolls you might incur while trying to get to your destination. So only use it if you have money to blow, or if it is the safest option. There are also many smaller-scale forms of transportation including, but not limited to, Pedicabs, dollare vans, Jitnesys, Chinese vans, and the Aerial Tramway. Additionally there is a brand new Bikeshare program that NYC is introducing in July co-sponderd by Citibank. At first glance it seems pretty cool, you pay a fixed amount per day/week/year, and you can pick up a bike at any of 600 locations and traverse across NYC. Where they get you is that the first 30 minutes of your ride is free, but they start charging you after that. So a 4 hour bike ride with this program could end up costing $86.95.... at that rate you are better off just buying a bike.


Phone: I am beginning to think it is time to get off my parents phone plan. My plan is to sign up with Sprint when I get there and get an iphone- quadruple-g-berry-galaxy for two reasons: One is that sprint offers the best price when it comes to unlimited data. For only 79.99 a month you get unlimited text email data and 450 talk min. Not to shabby! Two, it is rumored that Sprint will be the only carrier to have the next gen of iphone, and typically carriers offer reduced priced upgrades to the newest phones, so I could get a Iphone4gs and upgrade when the iphone 5 comes out at a reduced cost! If the next phone doesn’t suck that is (Google: odd-even iphone rule) Win-Win.

Health: I am beginning to think it’s a good time to stay on my parent’s health insurance plan. Yeah I’ll still be leeching, but here is some advice I got: “I’d stay on your parent’s health insurance until you turn 27, even if you pay them. It’s too expensive in NYC right now, and too hard to find full time work in the arts right away.” Plus, by the time I am 27 hopefully I will have done enough to become an Equity stage manager, so by then I can pay Equity dues and they will provide health insurance.

Student Loans: Student loans suck. Its not secret. They are easy to ignore during college, but once you graduate they get harder to ignore, especially when the loan companies begin stalking you like a fat kid stalks cake. So how does a poor college graduate attempt to pay off a massive mountain of debt? Here is what my friend James had to say:
             One word: deferral. 
                I am broke as a joke. And living in NYC is not easy, by no means. I took Econ and AP Econ in high school. My teacher was the village president. His advice: take as long as possible to pay off your student loans. Because if they are student loans (and not general loans from a bank) they don't get passed on to your family members when you die. Haha. I know it seems ridiculous but paying off student loans seems even more ridiculous.
So there you have it. If you can prove to be in “economic hardship” you can have your loans deferred for up to three years. To that my dad says, “The banks are not going to go out of their way to help you; you have to put forth the effort”. So if you are like me and are seriously considering deferral, YOU got to make it happen.

Banking: There are a ton of options when it comes to banking, and it seems that all of the have their pros and cons. Online banking like ING Direct and HBSC comes recommended if you are wanting to put your money somewhere where you can always access it and are interested in the interest rate game, but otherwise it can be a hassle for someone who is looking for a place to dump their money and use it occasionally and impulsively. Because of long transfer/wait-times and lack of physical location, sometimes getting money from it can be a hassle (this can be a positive and a negative). From what I have found this seems to be the best option for me because I will be able to access my money anywhere and it is tied to my primary account back home. Credit unions are a good choice because of higher interest and less “evilness” than big banks, but they have stricter limitations on who can join and it will be hard to join one upon arrival. So maybe in a year or two, once I have found some firm ground to stand on, I can transfer everything to a Credit union in New York... Until then, I’m going to go with ING Direct because of the great reviews they have received, and also because they are orange.

So there you have it! The summary of my research on NYC. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me :D
"So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains."
-Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Part 1: Simple Enough

So, moving. To New York... Maybe its just because I am super obsessive about planning things, but I feel like its going to require a lot of planning. So that's what I have been doing since like... December. Maybe I'm slighty obsessive... 
Anyways, in this two part blog post I will be posting what research I have found in these areas: Where to Live, Work, Food Stamps, Drivers License, Transportation, Phone, Health, Student Loans, and Banking. 

Where to live:
There is so much to write about when it comes to living in New York: Safety, location, quality, rent price, room size, number of roommates, house shares, home swaps, sublets, and hostels. Finding a place to live for cheap is like finding a line in a Mamet play that doesn’t have the word fuck in it: Its hard, but it can be done. Here are some website that have been helpful in my search:
So while finding a place to live that isn’t outrageously expensive is hard, its not impossible. In terms of safety, I am told that New York isn't as dangerous as most people tend to stereotype in their heads. Here is what my friend Eugenia had to say on the topic:
Well, there are certainly bad neighborhoods still...bed-stuy, parts of Flatbush, brownsville, parts of Harlem...it's just about being smart and aware of what's around you. So much of the city is gentrified. The way I see it, is if something's gonna happen its gonna happen, I just do my best to keep my wits and not be stupid.
So, don't be stupid. Nuff said.

Work: ahh work... Here is the plan thus far: I have submitted many applications to theatre internships in New York, and I plan to submit many more. I hope to get work somewhere in theatre. But lets be realistic, work in theatre doesn’t pay much at the entry level, so I will have to have some other way to supplement my income until I can afford to work in solely theatre. There are many different fields of work for artist who need money, namely, waiting on tables, working in retail, or becoming a barista (or barister... if such a word has Grammatical gender)  In addition to looking for these sorts of jobs when I am there, I am also going to look for photography related jobs, since I like taking pictures and people keep telling me they aren’t complete crap. SO, in beginning this research into photography jobs I am making an online portfolio of sorts on a website called behance, its really cool and easy to use, here is the link to my page: http://be.net/JoeyStamp. It’s a pretty nifty site with job listings and free portfolios and such. Because I cant really apply for day jobs until, at maximum, two weeks before I go right now I am going to put my effort into bolstering my portfolio and resume.
 Here are some websites that have really helped my in my search:
Food Stamps:
There is an awesome website called Accessnyc that, after a short test, will show you any and all government benefits you qualify for. Through this food stamps can be attained. From this food can be acquired and death can be held off for a while.

Drivers Licenses:
From the NYDMV website:
            If you become a resident of NYS, you must get a NYS driver license within 30 days and surrender your out-of-state driver license. Normally, you cannot have a NYS driver license and a driver license from another state, but there are exceptions. It is a violation of Federal law to hold more than one commercial driver license (CDL).
            This seems simple enough. Just go to address and simply swap out the old out of state license for new a new NY one. Having a drivers license is important and can give you a leg up on the competiton, especially in the stage hands world.

Well thats the end of part one, hope you found it interesting. Tune in next time for Part 2: Loans Suck!

"Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying."
-Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mumbo Jumbo

Great stories always have great first sentences. Take these for example:
Call me Ishmael. - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984(1949)
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - C. S. Lewis,The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
 Space: The Final Frontier. -Captin Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation (2364)
It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953) 
The list goes on... 

Here is mine: Joey decided that in order to pursuit his dream of directing, he was going to move to New York to live and work in the greatest city on earth and learn, through observation, what it means to be a director and he also thought that the Beatles totally rock, bacon cheeseburgers are the greatest thing on earth, and that run-on sentences can get hard to read when the ideas stop connecting.

To begin with I want to credit the inspiration for this blog: jamesfollowshisdreams. When I first set out to move to New York I sent James a message to ask if he had any advice for a poor Midwestern college graduate who wants to move to New York. Being a poor Midwestern college graduate who DID move to New York, he had lots of helpful advice. This is what he first said to me:
"I know this might sound like a cop-out, but I blog all about working/living in NYC: Http://jamesfollowshisdreams.wordpress.com/ If you haven't read it, I suggest it. Not cuz I think it's the greatest piece of literature but because I give out a bunch of advice about living and surviving in NYC."
He was absolutely right about his blog being helpful and absolutely wrong about his blog not being a great piece of literature. Sure, it not slapped between two pieces of cardboard, but it is enjoying to read and  he truthfully pours his heart and soul into his writing. I highly recommend checking it out.

In addition to talking with James I have also been talking with many other people who are helping me with this transition. My list of thanks includes: Eugenia, Mrs. Waggoner,  Mr Biebuyck, family, friends, and many many others. One cannot just up and move to New York on one's own, it takes alot of help and friends. 

So by now you might be saying to yourself  "Yeah, that's all well and good, and those quotes are mighty interesting, and bacon cheeseburgers ARE awesome, but whats the point of all this mumbo jumbo?" Well my hope is that this blog can serve to inform anyone who is interested/bored in knowing about my adventures of then living and working in New York, and also as a way of keeping in touch with people.  I have no idea on how frequent these postings will be, nor do I want to promise something and then not be able to fulfill it! So check back often to see what I've been up too.

'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,' he used to say. 'You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring