What is the average cost of living in New York City in 2014?

It's not helpful to say "it depends" but to give some context, let's say it depends on whether you live alone or with roommates.

You will pay a minimum of ~$800 per bedroom (+utilities) for any place in Manhattan, and that's assuming 3+ total bedrooms as well as the option to live uptown in Harlem or similar. More likely you will pay a minimum $1,200 for your room + utilities.

Add groceries @ $80 /week (that's if you don't buy organic or many name brands), "going out money" @ $150 / week (restaurants, bars, taxis) and miscellaneous expenses like stuff for your home, metro cards, etc.

Now we're around $2k month and that's not a particularly active or comfortable lifestyle. If you want to save on top of this (trust me, you do) then you'll be spending $2,500 /month easily just to scrape by with roommates, a tight 'fun' budget, and minimal savings.

After taxes at a regular job that means you need to make at least $45k salary.

Now, if you live alone:
You will pay a minimum of $1,600 for a studio apartment, and again that requires willingness to live uptown (although not necessarily as far north as Harlem) and most likely in a walk-up or at best a building with an elevator but no doorman (my personal situation is this @ $2,200, 25th/3rd).

Add name-brand groceries @ $100+ /week and more going out + miscellaneous funds + more savings (the bigger they are, the harder they fall).

We're now around $3,500 /month in total expenses (including ~10% income savings), translating roughly into $60k salary.

This is an OK lifestyle, but given most building income requirements (annual income >= 40x monthly rent), you would not meet the $1,600 * 40 threshold and will need either more income (freelance, parents, student loans, etc) or a guarantor.

In addition to all this you will need furniture, first/last deposit + security, potentially broker fees ($3k+, one-time), and other "moving to NYC" things.

So you now need savings of $8k+ in addition to a healthy salary ($60k+), which is effectively 3 months' salary from either another job prior to NYC or a higher salary ($80k+) while already in NYC.

Basically, this place sucks and everyone is secretly dependent on their parents.