Reel Estate

5 must-see movies about moving to NYC from college

By Virginia K. Smith | May 11, 2017 - 3:59PM 

If you're looking for a blueprint of what it'll actually look like to transition from your college campus to life in New York City post-graduation, we wouldn't necessarily recommend turning to movies. (At least, not if you don't want to become horribly depressed about the state of your actual apartment versus how "broke" young twenty-somethings tend to live onscreen.)

That said, the painful post-grad transition has been chronicled pretty exhaustively onscreen, and whether you're looking for a movie that mirrors your struggles with entry-level jobs, post-college relationships, or moving back into your parents' house, we've pulled this viewing list to ease you through the rocky early years:

When Harry Met Sally

Though Nora Ephron's standard-setting rom-com focuses more on Harry and Sally's life once they hit their 30s, the movie actually begins with the two main characters taking a contentious road trip together, the better to save gas money since they're both heading from college in Chicago to stake their claim on New York City. They're mostly too busy bickering about relationships for us to find out much about their starter apartments, but the movie's peppered with plenty of classic New York locations, and later features an enviable Upper West Side brownstone and an epic fight over a hideous wagon wheel coffee table.

The Last Days of Disco

After Metropolitan, his classic chronicle of bored, rich Upper East Side college students home for the holidays, Whit Stillman followed up with The Last Days of Disco, in which a bunch of recent Ivy League and liberal arts school grads work in publishing by day and hit disco clubs by night. The main characters, Alice (Chloe Sevigny) and Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale), live in a realistically dingy apartment for a pair of young publishing underlings (you can catch glimpses of it in this clip), and while you've missed the boat on Studio 54, the fable of recent grads working entry-level jobs, squabbling with college-friends-turned-roommates in crappy share apartments, and spending too much time and money on nightlife, is a tale as old as time.

Tiny Furniture

Before there was Girls, there was Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham's breakout 2010 movie in which her character, Aura, gets dumped by her college boyfriend after graduation, and moves back in with her mother in the family's posh Tribeca loft. Conveniently, this was filmed in Dunham's parents' real-life Tribeca loft, which was later sold for $6.25 million in 2014. (We've got more details here.) You might not have a multi-million dollar loft to crash in rent-free, but if you need a movie to make you feel better about an aimless career trajectory or dismal love life post-grad, Dunham definitely has you covered.

The Devil Wears Prada

Though it's more of a workplace movie than a moving-to-NYC post-grad one, nothing says "fresh out of college New Yorker" like running yourself ragged for an exacting, eccentric boss in hopes of climbing the ladder in a low-paying glamour industry. In spite of their entry-level salaries in publishing and the restaurant business respectively, Andy (Anne Hathaway) and her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier) seem to share a fairly decent, spacious one-bedroom. The star of the show, real estate-wise, is obviously the townhouse owned by Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a limestone stunner reportedly filmed on East 73rd Street. Hopefully, you don't have to run personal errands to your boss' house—even in your first job—but if you do, it wouldn't hurt if it looked like this one.

How To Be Single

The most recent addition to the list, How to be Single is in many ways a breakup comedy, but it also features some eye-catching real estate, most notably a huge, loft-like apartment at South 2nd and Berry in Williamsburg. It would, shall we say, be a stretch on the paralegal salary of the main character Alice (Dakota Johnson), even though at the beginning of the movie she was crashing with her well-off sister Meg (Leslie Mann), a doctor who lives on the Upper West Side and could presumably have stashed away some cash. More realistically, however, Alice eventually finds out that her new friend Robin (Rebel Wilson) is secretly loaded, and has been living in a huge apartment the entire time. If there's a more quintessential New York experience than finding out that your "peer" is quietly being bankrolled by a massively wealthy family, we can't think of it.



Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.