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Pros and Cons of Living in New York City

Updated on April 4, 2017
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Born and raised in the north of England, Paul has traveled and lived around the world, including NYC. He currently lives in Florida.

Despite being generally thought to be a tough place to live, many people dream of living in America's most densely populated major city.  Advantage of NYC include job opportunities and entertainment, disadvantages include the expense and the weather.
Despite being generally thought to be a tough place to live, many people dream of living in America's most densely populated major city. Advantage of NYC include job opportunities and entertainment, disadvantages include the expense and the weather. | Source

New York City is one of the most iconic locations in the world and many people dream of moving there, despite its rightful reputation for being a tough place to live.

The upsides include plenty of job opportunities, lots of things to do, including restaurants, bars, music, art galleries and museums, plus there is an awesome public transport system for getting around. It's also generally a safe place nowadays, certainly in most of Manhattan.

Downsides include the weather, which can be harsh in winter and humid in summer, and the cost of living, especially for housing—you can pay thousands in rent just to live in a tiny space with few amenities. New Yorkers are busy people too, so it can be difficult for some people to find committed relationships.

I personally love NYC, but if you are considering moving there, it is important to keep your expectations in proportion. Shows like Friends and Sex and the City romanticize NYC. The reality may be very different to what you anticipated.

Below is my full pros and cons list and more details.

Pros of Living in New York City

  • There are plenty of career opportunites, including jobs in finance, fashion, modeling, advertising, PR and marketing.
  • You don't have to drive anywhere. The subway system is awesome and cost efficient. There are also taxis, Uber, and buses to consider for some some journeys, if the subway is insufficient.
  • You are surrounded by history and culture. There are world class museums and museums, as well as iconic buildings all around you.
  • As well as high culture, you also have a wide range of restaurants, bars, music and art events to keep you amused. Food from all over the world is available, most of it high quality and authentic.
  • If you enjoy celebrity spotting then NYC is a great place to be!
  • If you are young and single it's a great place for meeting people and dating.
  • The dark days of the 1980's and 90's when crime was rife are long gone now and the city is generally a pretty safe place to live.
  • If you are socially connected, you will find plenty of free events to attend, such as art openings with drinks and snacks, parties with open bars, free concerts, and more.
  • Central Park is one of the most beautiful urban green spaces in the world with spectacular views in every direction.

Advantages of living in NYC include lots of job opportunities, and a wide range of restaurants, bars, museums, art galleries and music events.  The subway system is a great way to get around this cosmopolitan and generally safe city.
Advantages of living in NYC include lots of job opportunities, and a wide range of restaurants, bars, museums, art galleries and music events. The subway system is a great way to get around this cosmopolitan and generally safe city. | Source
Disadvantages of living in New York City include the big expense of everything, from rent to food and drink.  A beer can easily cost you over ten bucks in some places, for instance.  The weather is tough too, harsh in Winter, humid in Summer.
Disadvantages of living in New York City include the big expense of everything, from rent to food and drink. A beer can easily cost you over ten bucks in some places, for instance. The weather is tough too, harsh in Winter, humid in Summer. | Source

Cons of Living in New York City

  • The cost of buying real estate is prohibitive to most people and rent prices are astronomical. You end up spending a lot of money to live in a shoe box with few amenities. Like it or not, you may need a room mate to share the costs.
  • It is an expensive place to live in other ways too. A beer can easily cost you ten dollars or more in some places. Utilities, groceries, services, and eating out can be pricey too.
  • It is the city that never sleeps, if you like a quiet, relaxed, laid back life, you may want to consider another place to live.
  • Competition for jobs is huge.
  • Traffic is always heavy and noisy. You take your life in your hands if you try to drive. Cycling sounds like fun but is only for the bravest. The subway can be overcrowded at rush hour. Train delays and routes closed due to construction will become a frustrating part of everyday life.
  • The Winters are bitterly cold. The Summer can be hot and humid. There are plenty of cities in the US with much better weather.
  • You will need a thick skin; if you are sensitive to being treated in a rude or aggressive manner you won't last.
  • Once you've lived in the city for a time, you can get jaded and stop noticing the museums, art galleries, and historic buildings, never mind visiting them. If you are working all hours to keep a roof over your head, you end up accessing the night life much less than you anticipated.
  • The city is the number one terrorist target in the USA.
  • The tourists in Manhattan will begin to annoy you after a time. Groups of visitors blocking up the sidewalk while they read a street map will become a regular source of frustration.
  • Lots of homeless and crazy people wandering the streets, not to mention the rats.

With a population of over eight and a half million, New York is the most densely packed major city in the USA.  Some parts of the city can feel overcrowded, dirty, and polluted.  Designated green areas like Central Park provide great places to relax.
With a population of over eight and a half million, New York is the most densely packed major city in the USA. Some parts of the city can feel overcrowded, dirty, and polluted. Designated green areas like Central Park provide great places to relax. | Source

Facts About New York City

  • NYC is the most densely populated major city in the USA with a population of over eight and a half million people
  • It is made up of five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island) which were consolidated into one city in 1898.
  • It was initially known as New Amsterdam, with many of the early colonists made up of Dutch people fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Believe it or not, it is actually illegal to honk your horn in NYC, unless it is an emergency. A rule that is rarely followed.
  • The first American pizzeria opened in the city in 1895.
  • It is the most linguistically diverse city in the USA. Around 40% of households speak a non-English language and there are over 800 languages used.
  • Manhattan started out as cattle pasture.
  • From 1789 to 1790 the city was the capital of the USA.
  • It has the largest Jewish population of anywhere in the world apart from Israel.
  • It is home for Albert Einstein’s eyeballs, which are kept in a safe deposit box.
  • It is estimated that the city has around 50,000 homeless people.
  • It is a world center of international diplomacy, hosting the headquarters of the United Nations.

NYC is a world diplomatic center and hosts the headquarters of the United Nations.  The Manhattan building was designed by Brazilian, Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1952.  The city is also a major international financial and cultural hub.
NYC is a world diplomatic center and hosts the headquarters of the United Nations. The Manhattan building was designed by Brazilian, Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1952. The city is also a major international financial and cultural hub. | Source

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© 2017 Paul Goodman

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting analysis.