The Tale of Two Cities — New York vs Miami – Fashion Steele NYC

The Tale of Two Cities — New York vs Miami – Fashion Steele NYC


I often get asked which city I like more, now that I split my time between New York City, Harlem to be exact and Miami Beach. It’s a hard question to answer because I love them both for different reasons. Not to long ago I wrote a blog post explaining my reasoning for moving to Miami Beach from Harlem. It was a culmination of things but mostly the pandemic that spurred it. It was a rough time for me, alone in my apartment for several months. I even spent a birthday in lock down. I needed space and fresh air and packing all my things into two suitcases and blindly moving to Miami after securing an apartment in during a New Years Eve trip was a turning point for my life. But let’s get into the real reason you’re here. You want to know the difference between these two amazing cities and I’m here to give you the answers, or at least my opinion on the matter. 

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

I’ll start with where I think most people should start when considering moving to New York or Miami…the money. When I was working as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Manhattan, it took me about 5 years to reach a salary of 100K from a starting salary of 65K fresh out of graduate school. That was because I hopped around a lot and that enabled me to increase my salary quicker than staying at one place for several years. That’s just a gross income though and most of my money went to rent, student loans and bills. A 100K gross salary does not equate to being rich in New York City. At best you’re considered middle class if you want to break it down that way. Even though I had a high salary, I was still living pay check to pay check. At one of my physical therapy jobs, I only got paid once a month. Can you imagine that stress. If something suddenly came up financially, I was panicked. I learned to live with chronic stress and high anxiety but the trade off was that I was finally making the kind of money I’d only ever dreamt about. I wouldn’t have been able to do that in Miami but the cost of living in Miami is much lower than New York.

Those high earning salaries just aren’t available in Miami unless you’re in very specific and niche professions. I find that people who move to Miami are already established and making the kind of money they desire in their perspective fields and/or they are able to work from home. Now, as far as my fairly new career as a Full Time Content creator, the money is also different between New York and Miami. New York based brands and PR companies know that money talks and are quick to pay for the content they want. Knowing that payment ensures the results they or their clients want to attain. Miami is a different beast. In Miami, it’s more about the look than the check. Some people just want to be seen at certain kinds of prestigious events, instead of being paid to post about said event. It’s been said that many of the content creators in Miami are already affluent, whether it’s family money or a past career, so the money doesn’t matter as much.

Hopefully, you’re picking up what I’m putting down. So it’s definitely been harder for me to get payment from Miami based brands and PR when they are so used to creators doing things for free. Luckily, there was a huge influx of New Yorkers in the content creation sector who also moved to Miami during the pandemic and we all came with the same money matters mindset. Miami mostly caters to lifestyle brands because it’s a travel destination where hotels and restaurants are the main attractions and revenue generators for the city. Whereas New York encompasses everything from beauty, to spirits to fashion. Thankfully, local Miami jobs are a small percentage of my earnings and I still get a fare amount of New York City based jobs being that the majority of my audience is based in the northeast. So if earning a bigger salary is your aim, New York is definitely the place you want to be but you’re going to have to make a trade off for quality of life. 

QUALITY OF LIFE

I 100% have a better quality of life in Miami. Miami wins that one hands down. I found that my anxiety is higher in New York. To the point where I felt like I needed to be on medication and one even begged for it. There wasn’t any one particular thing about city life that caused my anxiety but a myriad of the high stress work environment, the fast paced movement of everything from commuting to relationships, the noise and finally the brutal and soulless winters. Although I lived in New York City for over 15 years, I never got used to how depressing the winters were and how long they lasted. Winter seems to go on forever and there wasn’t much to do but be indoors. I’m the kind of girl that thrives in the sun and there’s just something about seeing a palm tree with lush green leaves glittering against a perfect blue sky that just does something to my spirit. The seasonal depression that would attack me every winter in New York was ruthless. I hated that I never got to celebrate my birthday in May in a short dress because it was STILL cold. 

The cost of living in New York finds new ways to surprise me every time I’m back for a visit. The price of food is extortionate and why are the taxes so damn high but the trains and the streets are filthy? Rent is high but I can’t control my radiator heat. There’s always someone playing bachata at 7am or a domestic dispute at midnight for the entire neighborhood to hear. I’d gotten really used to the noise in New York City until I became a full-time content creator and was spending more time at home filming YouTube videos. It got so bad that I’d have to wake up at 6am to film because by 10am the neighborhood would be too loud. That’s when I knew, something had to give. I couldn’t find peace. Even now as I’m typing this in my Harlem apartment, there’s a loud banging from some construction and someone is blaring 12 Play by R. Kelly on the radio. Why in 2024 are we still listening to R. Kelly? Contrary to what people may think about Miami Beach, it’s pretty quiet, even during Spring Break. Hell, I don’t even know when Spring Break is because most of that action is in South Beach or South of 5th Street and I’m miles away from that. I thought I’d miss the seasons but I don’t. I can walk to the beach any day of the week in 5 minutes and sit out on my patio watching the sun rise each morning. I can ride my bike for miles on the boardwalk. Miami is reallllly clean too, like realllllly clean. There are people out cleaning as soon as the sun comes up. For there to be no state taxes, I don’t know how they keep it so clean. But I’m here for it. This one goes to Miami where leisure is the lifestyle. 

WORK LIFE BALANCE

Like I said, leisure is not a lifestyle, it’s thee lifestyle in Miami. Everything is done a little slower. No one is in a rush to go anywhere or do anything. For it to be a huge customer service town, sometimes that can push a Type A person to madness but it has it’s perks. I learned very quickly that if you’re on time in Miami you’re quite early and things are still being set up. If you are on time in New York City, you’re on time or maybe even a little late! Nothing in Miami ever starts on time and that definitely took some getting used to. I find that my work life balance in Miami is much easier than in New York and I think that simply has to do with geography and weather. It’s always warm in Miami so I can go out with friends any time of year. Family and friends are more apt to visit me for quality bonding time. Work seems to be just as important as leisure in Miami, so I can shut off from work when it’s done and not feel the FOMO that I’d inevitably have when I was in New York. If Miami is leisure, New York is work and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

I was busy when I was in New York City trying to make it. I was trying to secure the next level in my profession. If you aren’t moving quick enough if New York City, you are getting left behind. That’s the mentality in this work focused city and for the time I lived here, that motivated me and pushed me to level up in both of my careers. It’s a highly competitive environment here, even if you’re just competing with yourself. As I’ve gotten older, more secure in my occupation and more clear on what’s important to me at this stage in my life, I think I would be able to achieve the kind of work life balance in New York as I have in Miami. It would however, take a lot more work, especially when it comes to nourishing friendships in the colder seasons. Miami comes in with another win for a better work life balance. I mean, there’s an actual beach you can swim in…no way New York was winning this one.

CULTIVATING  NEW ADULT FRIENDSHIPS 

Speaking of cultivating new friendships, it’s much easier to do in New York. I would have been more apprehensive to move to Miami if I didn’t already have a small network of friends already there. I had also gotten used to telecommunicating with friends & family who’d moved away during the pandemic. So physically being near someone was no longer a requirement for friendship. Most of my friendships are with people who don’t take it personally when you two haven’t spoken in a while. When you finally do speak, you just pick right up right where the you left off. People’s priorities change in life as they grow older and I don’t take it personally when they do but living in a place where people vacation can have it’s disadvantages. Many of the people I meet in Miami are just visiting or there for a short while for work. So I’m happy to have had long time friends and work acquaintances in Miami to lean on. I wouldn’t suggest moving to Miami alone if you don’t know anyone there. It’s much easier to make new friends in New York.  Most people who live in New York City, especially those who are from New York…never leave! I find this particularly true amongst people from Brooklyn. You will have a friend for life. Sure they won’t have a drivers license but who needs that when you have the train! There are also a lot more cultural events, social gatherings and opportunities to meet people in New York than there are in Miami, especially if you’re Black. New York, here’s looking at you for more new friends.

FOR THE CULTURE

Now, this one may ruffle some feathers but there’s no place like New York City when it comes to diversity and the sheer range of things to do to celebrate the culture. There’s Juneteenth in Fort Greene Park. There’s first Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum. There’s the West Indian Day parade down the parkway. There’s tons of parties, concerts, rooftop shindigs, BBQs, boat rides and so much more that centers Blackness in New York City. There is a rich Black History and community in New York City across all the boroughs and it’s felt. Have you ever swag and surfed with 200 people Black and Brown people? It’s really something and I know that feeling and comradery doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world like it does in New York City. Of course there is a community in Miami as well but it’s not on the scale of New York City. When I need to be around my people, I simply come back home. When I want to celebrate Blackness, I come back to Harlem. We Black folk, are few and far between, especially in Miami Beach. Most of the Black people I know live on the mainland of Miami proper and further north. So if you’re coming to Miami looking for a very rich Black cultural scene like that of New York City, you’ll be disappointed. Now, Miami does have it’s things, like the weekends at Red Rooster and a huge Caribbean community but it’s hard to find that kind of vibe in Miami on a larger scale. It’s always and forever New York for the culture.

DATING & RELATIONSHIPS

After getting asked which city I like more, New York or Miami, the follow up question is usually how is my dating life in Miami compared to New York. The answer is the same for both…abysmal. Dating in Miami is just as bad as dating in New York. There are a few minor differences though. There’s a slight disadvantage for me in the way that I am not the desired physical preference for a large majority of men in Miami. The gold standard of beauty in Miami seems to be racially ambiguous or Latina with long wavy hair and some form of body augmentation. Now I’m not saying that’s what every man is looking for but that’s what a lot of women in Miami look like thus what a lot of men come to Miami looking for. But I have managed to meet great guys in Miami through friends of friends. Actually most of the guys I’ve dated while living in Miami, actually live in New York or other places. It’s a little harder meeting men in Miami again because it’s more of a vacation place and you meet a lot of people who are just passing through.

I’ve had better luck with men who live in Miami but not Miami proper, they are in the suburbs or outlaying towns. New York is a different kind of hell when it comes to dating and that’s because there are just too many women. The men in New York know that and what one woman won’t do, there’s a woman within a block radius who will. I feel like men in New York are never ready for a relationship or something serious until they have their perfect job, their perfect salary and have sowed their oats all over every borough and are near death, so now they’re ready to settle down so that you can be their caretaker. That was a joke, but it was partly serious. New York is a workers city not a lovers city in my opinion. Again, I’ve met some great guys in New York as well, but the dating pool for women actually looking for committed relationships is tiny. So it’s a lose lose situation either way. My advice would be to go to a bible belt state, find a man and bring him with you if you decide to move to New York or Miami. And that’s that on that. 

This is the tale of two cities and what I think about each. I love them both for different reasons and I probably won’t ever be able to decide which city I love the most but for now, I don’t have to choose. I can have them both.

xx

Monroe

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