Tips on Moving to New York City

Frank Sinatra sings that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.

Of course, you have to MOVE here first. This article's your first step. We'll tell you about some of the New York-specific challenges to moving to the Big Apple, as well as how to check out moving companies.

First, getting there. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Many buildings in New York don't have elevators, so that will increase the effort (and the time required) if you're moving into an elevator-less building in the City. New York City moving companies won't voluntarily scale the stairs to your fourth-floor walk-up – they'll charge extra. Find out how much and make sure the movers understand the challenges they'll face.

  • City streets aren't made for moving trucks. So if you're moving yourself, don't drive that rental truck if you are uncomfortable on narrow streets. And if you're using movers, the moving company might need to use a smaller 'shuttle' truck to get through narrow city streets when a big truck won't fit, which will increase your costs.

  • Parking signs in NYC are pretty explicit. Although reading signs may be the last thing you're thinking about when you're parking your moving truck, you most likely WILL get a ticket if you park in the wrong spot. And figure out with your moving company who's responsible for tickets in case they get one. You'll be able to avoid these if you scope out parking spaces well in advance.

  • Many buildings restrict move-in/move-out times as well as access to the freight elevator; check with your building about any such restrictions.

  • Moving always takes longer than you estimate, so if you're renting a truck, rent from a company that allows after-hours drop-off. Or plan your move to allow plenty of time to return the truck.

If you're moving to New York City from another city in New York State or just moving across town, check that the moving company is licensed by the Commissioner of Transportation by calling (800) 786-5368, or e-mailing the agency at

Other tips on protecting yourself during the move:

  • Read all the documents you get, and keep copies of everything.

  • Make sure you understand insurance options when choosing a mover. Ask your moving company about your options.

If you need to file a damage claim, contact your mover. Movers must respond to a written claim within 30 days and resolve it in writing within 120 days. If you're not happy with the action, go to small claims court.

If you want to make a complaint against a mover, you can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation, but it can't force moving companies to pay for any damage to your stuff.

To file a complaint about a New York moving company, fill out this form and send to:

New York State Department of Transportation
Office of Safety and Security Services
50 Wolf Road, POD 53
Albany, New York 12232