Received an offer from Amazon for either Seattle or to be virtual in New York. Are there any major reasons to come to Seattle? Is the "Seattle freeze" really a thing? I'd also love to hear from any NYC-ers who made the move and their thoughts on it.
A little conflicted:
a) I currently reside in NYC
b) Seattle would be better for visibility
c) I visited Seattle a few weeks ago and the slow-down in pace really got to me. With that said, I love being outdoors (i.e. hiking, camping, traveling around).
d) Married with no children (and no plans to have any anytime soon)
TC offer: (non-tech)
135k base (SEA) / 137k base (NYC)
65k Sign on
- Microsoft It’s🌞inCASeattle is garbage. I lived there for over 15 years before finally moving to Bay Area last year.
- Weather sucks especially if you have kids that like to do things outside.
- Lot less diverse than east coast
- Food options can’t even be compared to east coast.
- It has a small town DNA. After a while you start feeling how small the city is in terms of options for things to do, places to go.
- Seattle freeze is real. People are not as friendly. But they’re super passive aggressive.
- Housing is more expensive than suburbs of NY.
- Don't fall for the tech meme that city is a good city. People don't know how to communicate there.
In Seattle, you can have a one hour Uber pool and not talk to anyone. It's very hard to make friends and everyone is lonely.
In the South, I walk into an empty bathroom and the guy shitting in the stall strikes up conversation while I'm urinating.
- Do NOT, whatever you do, give up NYC for Seattle. You’ll regret it after two weeks (I did). Your social life will evaporate, the vibrancy and diversity of New York will fade to a dull monochrome white and you’ll realize that all the times you complained about the MTA you never realized how good you had it while you’re driving for 60 minutes just to get across town in Ballard. Honestly, the reasons for picking NY over Seattle are too many and too voluminous to fit into a single Blind comment so I’ll just leave it at that.
YMMV (but it probably won’t).
- Did you live in Sammamish to drive 60 mins to Ballard? For me driving from Bellevue/Kirkland to SLU was never more than 30 mins. When you have a family, and especially kids, you don’t need so much external stimuli like night life and “vibe” to feel happy.
NYC is the concrete jungle. Too many people, too many crap, too expensive. It’s cool to visit for a few days once in a while, but not actually stay there long term. Especially with a family.Feb 93
- Right - but OP doesn’t have a family or any plans to have kids so that’s not relevant. Without a family (or even with I’d argue, though I can’t say from personal experience) Seattle is dull and lifeless. NYC has culture and interesting things to do constantly and dependable reliable friends and ample ways to forge a social life. Seattle has...mountains?
- How often do you attend symphonies and museums? I can easily fly to NYC or elsewhere on big occasions if I need to see new exhibitions and don’t need to pay the insane rent for that, but live in a big house with a backyard on Seattle Eastside. And I do outdoors almost every weekend in May-Sept.
- “How often do you attend symphonies and museums” - if you have to ask, NYC will forever be lost on you. It’s not just that there are a handful of museums with big, famous exhibits; culture is literally everywhere and unavoidable. It’s not for everyone, but by the same token the idea of having a huge backyard to care for and going for a walk in the woods sounds awful to me so to each his own.
- I appreciate the different perspectives Instagram/vmprwrkday.
Here's some thoughts on my end:
- I agree that having the plethora of museums, concert halls, sports teams, art-related venues is incredible. But, in my experience, that's mostly for psychological ease of mind. Most of the museums and concert halls I've been to have been because one of my friends came from out of town and wanted to do the "tourist-y" things. That's not to say that New Yorkers don't take part in that themselves, but for the most part, I go to work, hang out with friends at some new food place (or frequent our usual bar), and do tons of walking around. What I mean to say is, it's great to have those options, but the reality is, I don't have the time (and to be honest, the same interest I did when I was younger) to be running around doing a new event every night/week. And to @Instagram's point, if there is really something I want to see, I would just travel to that city to do it.
- I, too, prefer having a large(r) house and a backyard to a 600 sqft apartment paying upwards of $3k/month.
- Re: transit: the truth is the MTA in NY is incredibly convenient to get you to most places you'd ever need visit. But, I seldom use it. I prefer to live close to work (my current job is one block away from where I live) and do as much walking as possible. I also own a car, which helps me get around to the other boroughs, grocery shop, and go out of town. So car-culture is one I personally prefer over public transit. With that regard, Seattle is more appealing to me.
- Honestly, it sounds like Seattle might be better for you then. I’m a New York native and avowed “city person” and won’t ever get tired of the cultural options (there are far more non-touristy things to see and do than touristy ones) and living on the east coast offers the ability to travel to the rest of the Atlantic Coast either by train or short flight while also being close to Europe. For the right person Seattle is fine and it might be preferable to you.
- I lived in NYC and now am in Seattle.
What Seattle offers: easy access to nature; mild weather; better and less expensive housing; generally cleaner; less competition at grocer stores, restaurants, etc.; less urban stress
What NYC offers: neverending things to experience; diversity of ethnicity, socio-economic class, gender, and job sectors; culture (art, fashion, music); subway transportation; better and more varied food; more gregarious, extroverted people
- It's a tough call. I don't love NYC either (not originally from there so don't have tons of friends there and now in my later 30s). The shit quality of housing and the subway are big cons as are the sticky summers and mountains of leaking garbage bags. This doesn't help you, but I would probably live in Chicago: 1) closer to more of my friends and family, 2) splits the better aspects of NYC and Seattle, and 3) lower cost of living than both. Of course, the winters suck and the state/city are drowning in debt, so no single place is perfect. 😄
I would suggest being close to your friends and family. They are what matter most in life.Feb 92
- Amazon / ProductwoM72Totally agree with all of this. I'll emphasize a couple of things from my perspective:
Seattle has a very limited night life. Aside from a few pockets in Cap Hill, Ballard, etc most places shutdown early so you're limited in your food and entertainment options.
The overall food scene is lacking compared to most major cities. There are some great places here but the average across the board is lower.
The rainy, grey weather is definitely unmotivating when it drags on for months.
Hiking and winter sport options are great here!
- re: night life, I definitely felt that in the week I was there. Was really surprised how early it died down. With that said, my hometown is similar to Seattle and so I understand most people have families/live in suburbs etc.
- re: food scene, of course many cities pale in comparison to NY with regards to options, but I'm not sure about the food scene lacking in Seattle. Granted, this is based on anecdotal evidence, but I've seen a lot of diversity of high-quality food options there. FWIW, I watched a few travel/food shows in the past few weeks (including Bourdain) and was pleasantly surprised with the options.
Also, really good to hear about the weather. I definitely am worried about it.
- Seattle has better outdoors than NYC and upstate NY. Mild Winters and mild summers. If you're a single straight guy Seattle is going to be harder for dating. You'll need a car in Seattle if that influences the decision
- Agreed on the outdoors. Upstate NY is often busy during the weekends and have limited surrounding cities to visit (beyond Boston, Philly, and DC).
I'll update this above, but I'm married with no children, but going out and doing things with wife/friends as opposed to staying in and Netflix-ing is a high priority of mine.
- Yes. I live in NYC , single Straight(don't know why that matters) male and I don't really have a social circle here which I can say I can boast of. But looking at my friend's lives in Seattle and the suburbs I don't want to live in a dark hole with no sunlight ( Seattle summers are incredible as much as I have visited )
Being married might be a deal breaker for you because you have a companion and might not need external stimuli.
Btw I am also looking to chose from Seattle or NYC. I don't want to be that guy who will realize the value of NYC only after I leave the cityFeb 130
- Facebook pndubsI lived in New York for years then moved to Seattle.
Things I miss about New York:
- Diversity: Not just in terms of people diversity, but also in terms of culture and industry. There’s a tech monoculture here that is a bit suffocating. Sure, tech is big in New York, but there’s also the arts, finance, media, law, real estate, etc. The world doesn’t revolve around tech in New York and I like that.
- Winter sun: I’d heard about the rain, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the lack of sun in the winter. It is gray and overcast 80% of the time in winter months, which is a real drag. Apparently it’s common for people to take vitamin D supplements regularly here because the lack of sunlight is so bad.
- Walkability: One of my favorite things to do in New York was just going out and exploring it on foot. Some parts of Seattle are walkable, but you still end up having to drive from neighborhood to neighborhood. There are buses and a limited light rail, but nothing like the scale and frequency of the MTA (as unreliable as it is). Seattle is mostly a driving city.
- Housing character: Looking for a place to live in areas with a convenient commute was a parade of either bland cookie cutter apartments or crusty old apartments that haven’t been renovated in decades. There are charming houses with character, but they’re usually single family homes and often in neighborhoods that are less convenient commute-wise. There isn’t housing stock comparable to the historic brownstones of New York.
- Central AC: It exists, but is pretty uncommon. Especially in rental apartments. My apartment doesn’t have traditional windows that would fit a window AC either (we have tilt windows and a sliding door), so have to use a portable AC, which is a hassle. Good news is it only gets warm enough to need AC a few weeks of the year, but without AC, those few weeks can suck.
- Energy and culture: This is super vague and hard to explain to non New Yorkers, but I just miss the energy of New York. The feeling that I am surrounded by ambition and creativity and activity at all times is something that’s not the same here.
Things that are great about Seattle:
- Mild winters: As gray as it is, the winters never get bitingly cold like they do in the northeast. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing. I wear a light jacket most of the time, and have only had to bust out the real winter gear a handful of times.
- Gorgeous summers: It’s not a lie that the summers are amazing. Warm and sunny, but not too hot. Nothing like the gross humidity you can get in New York. Great for getting outside and being active.
- Outdoors activities: This is by far the best thing about Seattle. Amazing hiking, skiing, and generally awesome nature is close (sometimes just a 15 min drive) and plentiful, compared to New York where getting somewhere naturey requires renting a car at stupid rates and driving for two hours.
- Affordability: Cost of living is generally lower here than in New York, especially since there isn’t state income tax.
Thank you so much for that incredibly detailed post. That's precisely what I was looking for.
re: central AC, that's actually quite concerning. Thanks for the heads up.
The hiking/no state or city tax is incredibly tempting. I'm personally not a huge fan of NYC housing, unless they're updated brownstones, but those are typically quite expensive to rent or buy.
Walkability (or lack thereof) in Seattle is an issue as I love to walk, but it seems to be a bit contradicting with some other people I've spoken to about it. Based on what they've said, there's definitely options to walk around (obviously not in the extent of Manhattan).
- NYC without a doubt. I will say Washington state is very beautiful when it's not raining. The crack heads, rain, and lack of women ruin it. If you have a family and ready for suburban life, do Seattle. If you are young and single, NYC all day.
- Amazon SanchezosThe weird thing about Seattle is most people are transplants, but they still emanate the Seattle freeze.
- That’s because The Freeze is in the DNA of the city, probably even the whole PNW. Seattle is still a city of introverts, and a tech boom only makes it worse. I’m introverted by nature, but I have something in me that gets sick of it and forces me to get out there more. When I do step out for extroversion, I enjoy it but I naturally retreat to the real me. When I was 25 I left Chicago for NYC for that very reason — I spent a week in NYC and knew I had to move there to deal with my middle ground of intro/extro. I can say that it worked for me. I met many extroverts, particularly some who are socially forward people but not needy about it. I learned so much from them. I had a very outgoing business partner in my dotcom years. Her partner was in the restaurant biz, and I got to mix with that crowd (I was invited to the pre-opening party of Cafeteria in 1998, which is still a huge success). I remember us meeting up with her mother one night. We walked in to a hip downtown place and her 60-some y/o mother was talking to a young guy at the bar. I remarked to her how impressive that was. She said to me, all you have to do is get someone to talk about him or herself, because everyone loves to do that. Anyway, after 20 years, I moved to Seattle for these past 2 years. And my social skills fell off the GD cliff! It’s my fault, really. I had learned from the best. But the DNA of Seattle took that all away, I cannot overcome it here. I sometimes go to an mic night in Fremont (to watch, not participate!). Even local performers are not very extroverted. It’s just how it is here. I appreciate it, but it also aggravates that mixed me I talked about. It seems that I need to return to NYC for a while. I can come back to the PNW later, on a PART-time basis! Retired or not. But I think I will badly suffer from loneliness if I stay here. Even meeting a bunch of people at Amazon didn’t do it, I still feel lonely. When I visited NYC 2 months ago for the first time in a year-and-a-half, I was in culture shock that week. I had to talk to so many people when I was with my friend a few days. At the elevator, at the shop, in the hallway, on the sidewalk. It was a lot. But it was what I needed. Seattle has shut me down. Think of the movie “Awakenings” (which is now a dated reference, but RIP to its director Penny Marshall and also its star Robin Williams). All that said, I’m in love with the PNW and I’ll be back, I just can’t stay here 100% of the time.Feb 120
- I'm from Seattle, spent a few years in New York. It really depends on what you want. If the slowdown got to you, that's important to note. There are a couple places in Seattle (Capitol Hill, Ballard) that have some nightlife, but it's more like Greenpoint or Williamsburg or Astoria than anything in Manhattan. It's enough for me, just barely, but if you like the energy of NYC you will be disappointed. On the other hand, I eventually found New York oppressive with the masses of people to contend with for every little task; that's usually not a problem here.
The weather in Seattle is far superior, without a doubt. Sure it is rainy at times, but winters are never very cold, we don't have that piercing wind that you get in New York. And in the summers it's warm and sunny not hot and sticky.
- I really appreciate the insight on this, thank you. I currently live in Williamsburg and it's the perfect blend for me (minus insane monthly rent). You get the quant vibes of a smaller-city but are one stop away from the city.
When visiting Seattle, one of the things that shocked my wife and I was how early the city (I was in SLU but wound up walking around Capital Hill and Pike Place) seemingly shuts down. After 8 or so, most of these areas seem to be ghost towns. That got me a little apprehensive, tbh.
It's also interesting hearing that the weather is far superior in Seattle. It seems it becomes an issue for most transplants, but given you're from there, I assume you've just become used to it?
What are the average lengths of time where it's cloudy/rainy (outside of Summer)?
- I actually grew up in Eastern WA where it's dry so I've never gotten totally used to the gray but compared with the other tradeoffs you could make with weather it's fine. It's probably gray 70-80% of the time from October to April. May, June, and September are hit or miss, and July and August are gorgeous, every day almost is 75-80 with moderate humidity and sunshine until 9 PM.
It's never 15 degrees and 20 MPH wind, it's never 95 and humid. The gray can be tough, but I prefer it to those extremes.
- Anyone that says Seattle has good nightlife is a liar and never parties. Capital Hill is okay at best on Saturday. Most parties in Seattle end at 10:30pm and clubs are at midnight. On the east coast we party till 2am minimum. NYC there's a party every day.
- Microsoft no.eirNative New Yorker here who's relocated to Seattle.
Seattle pros: no state income tax, accessible outdoors, better visibility since you'd be at HQ, winter is nothing compared to NYC
Seattle cons: public transportation is hit or miss depending on your route, this past week has demonstrated that Seattle isn't equipped to handle snowstorms..., it's small for a major city, the homeless population iismuch more visible, Seattle freeze depends on how proactive you are with making friends (I spent my first few weeks only going to work and then sitting at home :( )
I'm definitely bored here. Most of my old social circle is back on the east coast, and Seattle can feel like a monoculture sometimes (oh wow, another person who works in tech and likes the outdoors! :P). I'm definitely biased towards NYC -- love the art & museums in NYC, nightlife, going to a Broadway show/access to the latest productions, concerts, eating Korean food at 3am in ktown, the MTA (despite shitting on the MTA while I lived there), endless food options, spending weekends reading books at The Strand, Central Park picnics, attending lectures by your favorite authors and columnists, etc. You get the idea :)
Don't get me wrong, Seattle has its own charm (and Seattle summers are the best) and I've loved hiking here, but the city aspect can't compare to NYC. I personally want to move back to NYC in the near future even thought it is more expensive. I'd rather live modestly but enjoy life in NYC while I'm young.
- Amazon / Othercut a sev6Cost of living is lower in Seattle. Plus no state income tax. Do what you want but Seattle is great if you wanna buy a home, see your $ go a little farther and be less fed up with the overpriced nature of NYC.
Freeze ain't a thing. Just a conclusion of meeting people and making connections at a different life stage. We're not in college anymore and we have our own lives (demanding job, family planning, travel, personal goals, conflicting priorities etc). Don't get offended if we have little time to hang out and get to know new people :-) other than that we're really nice people. Come on in and make our real estate values continue to go up!
- Completely understand the not wanting to hang out part. Suburban towns are typically like that.
I likely am not looking to buy in Seattle as it's not particularly a city I'm looking to stay long-term in (famous last words), and I've also heard there may be a decline in real estate prices there in the coming years (but that's anecdotal).
- Exactly. I am going to have to evaluate ( currently in NYC single male in late 20s ) NYC vs Seattle.
After I started my research I came accross this Freeze thing. I am so confused now. I have visited Seattle a bunch and absolutely love the summers but if I'm being real, most of my waking time in a year I will be spending behind a desk and winters seem long and dreadful and gloomy. I can take that but on top of that if there is this seattle freeze what people are talking about then I am not sure if I should be interviewing for companies in Seattle. I don't know. For reference- I have a handful of friends in NYC outside work but I never feel alone here. In seattle I have a handful of friends already living there.Feb 130
- Google / EngUSSmoreLived in NYC for 6 years and Seattle for three. Both are awesome cities. Bars and restaurants are way better in NYC, but there's plenty to do in Seattle and Bellevue. My commute is now 16 mins instead of 60, which is hugely better for my wife. Seattle freeze is real but if you have friends here or double date it's fine. Being closer to the mothership is better for carreer.
Remember that Amazon relocates you via your own money (advance) for two years, and has pretty bad perks compared to the two other giant tech companies here.
- Re: your commute, in which part of the city do you live in? And do you travel by car or public transportation?
And that's exactly what I'm primarily worried about -- not being close to HQ and my manager. I'm not looking for an easy, WFH job. I'd like to work hard/efficiently to climb the so-called corporate ladder. I'm hoping HQ2 can help fix that but it seems were still some time away from that actually happening (assuming that it even happens to begin with).
Can you explain what you mean by relocation for 2 years? Do you mean I can choose to relocate to Seattle within 2 years of me joining?
- What is meant by the 2 years is that whatever relocation expenses Amazon pays for you, they are technically treated as a sort of loan or advance to you. Every month you work, you “earn” 1/24 of the total. If you leave Amazon after a year, for example, they will expect you to pay back the 50% you didn’t earn. If you are “managed out” like I was at the 1.5 year mark, the balance will be forgiven.Feb 120
- Amazon xb373brd82You said virtual - does that mean you'll work remotely in NYC? That's a significant undertaking depending on the role. You should check if it's something you're comfortable with, and the rest of the team can work with time zones, remote calls etc.
- That's a great question. My manager and a couple of others on the team are in Seattle, whilst two or three others are virtual around the US and Canada, but most would be PST.
I asked the recruiter if it'd be possible to work out of an office here in Manhattan and she said I have four buildings to choose from, where I'll be assigned a desk. But won't matter whether I work from there or at home.
- Microsoft osuayhaoaSince I spend less than 10 minutes each way to work, qualify of life in Seattle for me is amazing. I get to spend more time with family ... Same for my wife. It would be quite hard to match that in any other City especially NYC. Weather isn't that bad to be honest. I don't need to put more than a single layer. If you like outdoors or want a family life ... Seattle, otherwise NYC. BTW with Amazon possibly reconsidering Hq2 in NYC, I would be careful ...
- Absolutely re: HQ2. I'm a bit apprehensive about it myself as there hasn't even been a commitment to lease a particular place/building. Much less to build it out and bring people here.
If I may ask, where do you work and live that your commute is less than 10mins? Also, do you drive or take public transportation?
- I moved to Seattle from NYC to join Amazon. I didn’t make it to my second year because I was unfortunately managed out. In a few weeks I’ll be moving back to NYC. I certainly don’t regret any of it, though it’s sad that I couldn’t last longer at Amazon. If your first year doesn’t go well, and you’re an experienced hire (namely 40+), then you’ll be graded at the 6 month mark and you’ll have to live down whatever that grade is. Hopefully you’ll do better. My advice is to move to Seattle, try to make it to 2 years at Amazon’s expense, then see where you want to go. The PNW is truly breathtaking and this is your chance to “dive deep” into it. Although I’m moving back east, I will always have the PNW in mind for retirement. I might also try to later swing a bi-coastal life because there is so much beauty up here that you won’t find elsewhere. I’m also considering a career change, because the ageism as an IC SWE is really bad on the west coast. How I got an offer for Amazon SDE at this age, I’ll never know. It was clearly a fluke that I’m having a very hard time replicating.