Well hello my friends! I know it's been a long two months since my last post. TBH I would like to post more often, but my laptop is running on fumes right now. Hope everyone survived this crazy Winter. It has definitely been a crazy one in NYC. We are getting our fourth Nor'easter in less then a month, oh yeah....and it's now Spring! Which brings me to my post for today.
The pros and cons of living in NYC. In order to not turn the post into a novel, I will do 3 pros and 3 cons. So like myself when I arrived four years ago, you have your expectations of what it is like to live in this fascinating city. You picture yourself hailing taxi cabs left and right in your designer pumps ala Carrie Bradshaw. A different party or event every night of the week. A gorgeous and spacious loft apartment like Rachel and Monica, with your cute neighborhood coffee shop. Well friend....not so much.
I'll start with the Cons.
1. Cost of living
All you need to do is go online and look for apartments in Manhattan. The price for a basic studio, with no elevator (the dreaded walk-up), no door man (get your packages at your own risk) and no laundry in your building is roughly $2300-$2500. Most people opt to live in the outer boroughs (Bronx, Queens, Staten Island or Brooklyn) where you can find a better deal and more space for your money. I could do a whole post on apartments in the city, but we'll leave that for another post. If you have questions I can definitely answer them on here, just leave them in the comment section below.
Now those taxis. They also don't come cheap. A ride from lower to upper Manhattan will run you roughly $40 with very little traffic, which lets face it...is rare. With said traffic, you are going to be late if you don't leave with plenty of time to your destination. Car services aren't much different, unless you're pooling with other riders. Your average Manhattanite does not own a car. Why? Again, traffic. With our limited space, you also have to park your car in a lot if your building doesn't offer parking (which most don't). That parking is going to run you about $500 a month (that's the median price...it could be more or less if you park far away...as in another borough far). Insurance prices will be extremely high because of the liability of driving your car in a city with 8 million other people. Tolls. Now anytime you want to jump to the other boroughs or go to Jersey....you will have to pay a toll. As you probably guessed it, they also don't come cheap $15 for most (that's each way) the cheapest being $8.50 for the Queens/Midtown tunnel. You doing the math my friend? So you bet I sold my car with a quickness when I moved here from sunny California. I now get no privacy on commutes, but plenty of free entertainment on the city subways. Oh yeah, you also need to eat. Like everything else, the cost of groceries is also higher then in other parts of the country. We have Trader Joe's here, which was my go-to for good quality inexpensive groceries back home. You have to go Super early and early in the week to not walk into empty shelves and lines out the door though. Nothing like a Sunday evening there to turn you homicidal. With groceries, what you can carry is what you are taking home. Most of us walk or take the train or bus to and from our grocery stores, it's those times I miss the trunk of my car. Restaurants. With so many crazy options you can find good deals (I'm looking at you $5 meals in Chinatown and dollar pizza slices), but most of the time you will spend about $50 for a normal meal with an adult beverage, an appetizer and entree. So, you're basically making frequent trips to the grocery store.
Oh those picturesque Central Park post cards, with the trees covered in white and children ice skating at Wollman Rink. It's cute, real cute... for like the first or second snow fall of the season. Cut to almost April, and you're hoping your insurance covers a therapist. It can get very depressing, staying indoors to get away from the frigid temperatures...not seeing the sun for months. I always wondered why people looked at me crazy when I told them I moved from California...their response was always "What?!! Why?!!". Well, apparently (4 years later) because I'm insane. I cried as I landed in LAX a little over a month ago and my black and white life was suddenly in color. (Ok, so I'm being dramatic, but seriously....the sun is glorious.) All that cute snow turns into a brown sludge that you have to obstacle course yourself in and out of. I've been told Summers are bad, but growing up in Houston, Tx....I can't say it's been any worse. We have actually had pleasant Summers since I've lived here (I realized I probably just jinxed myself.)
3. Space (or lack there of)
So your boyfriend decided to break up with you the day before Valentine's Day and you have a complete melt down as you are listening to his pathetic excuses on the phone....well the whole third car on the Uptown 6 train knows All about it now too. You finally got tickets to that show you have been wanting to see for months, and dread comes over you as you know you have to tread through thousands of zombies with their heads all facing up in Times Square and pushy guys trying to drag you into a comedy show. You have had the longest day at work, you get into your subway train just as the doors close, happy to see an empty train car.....only to get teary eyed and nauseous seconds later after those doors close...it's not an empty car after all. You jump out at the next stop and hop into another car, the door closes and you hear "Ladies and gentlemen, sorry to bother you...." and you suddenly remember you left your ear buds at work, and will look like a huge asshole as this person comes up to you to ask you for money (a multiple times a day occurrence). You finally make it home, only to find Nina....your next door neighbor screaming at her kids again. Space, privacy, peace and quiet....same thing, either way....you will have none of that here my friend.
Now finally to the Pros (oh, yes...they exist)
Honestly, that is the reason I moved here. I've never seen anything so beautiful in my life. The air outside starts to get crisp and you no longer smell the trash on the streets cooking from the Summer heat. The city wears a beautiful warm glow. The sunsets are glorious, it's still nice enough to have a drink at your favorite rooftop bar with those killer city views. You start to crave those carbs, and with the heavier wardrobe of yummy sweaters, boots and coats you can afford to eat them now. What better place then NYC to have a hearty Italian meal? Nowhere, I guarantee you...at least outside of Italy. To say this city loves Halloween is an understatement. The brownstones are all decked out with the best Halloween decorations, pumpkins and fall leaves. You can be a basic bitch and order that PSL from Starbucks, because you have the outfit to go with it now. Fall is just straight up Romance in NYC and all of upstate NY. It is my favorite season, and it is just that good....and why I've stayed as long as I have despite the cons above. It always baffles me to see so many tourists here in the summer and winter....our worst seasons weather wise. It's ok though, I'll keep my city and it's golden streets all to myself during this time of year. Walking for miles through Central Park, lost in its otherworldly beauty without being stopped to take someones photo.
One look at my instagram and you will understand my love for the structures in this city. To walk up and down the streets, in particular the west side....either downtown or uptown, you can't help but be inspired by the beauty and history of these buildings. Our main library, Grand Central station, Financial District, St Patricks Cathedral, the Ansonia, the Chrysler building the Oculus....I could go on and on. When I first stepped foot in the Vatican I was struck by the intricacy, beauty and history of its structures....walking through the city I feel the same way. So much history, so much passion and dedication went into the making of this city. You can't help but be inspired. She is truly my muse. I highly recommend when visiting, to take an architecture tour of the city...and to also take your time and truly look at her from the Brooklyn bridge. She's a beauty.
This truly is the city that never sleeps. You can dance to your hearts content until the wee hours of the morning....or actually go and dance your butt off at 6 am in the morning (Daybreakers). You can order ANY type of food you want at ALL hours of the day or night and not have to leave your comfy bed. Now, when you do leave your home...you have so many options when it comes to food, dry cleaning, and many other places right outside your door...that in other big cities you would need to make a 15 to 30 minute drive for. You can get a taxi, uber, lyft or subway train 24/7. What last call?! Is there such a thing here? You can have Amazon prime deliver pretty much anything to you within 2 hours. There are other similar services that deliver groceries and liquor to you same day or next day. Pretty much anything you can think of, there is a service for it and can very conveniently deliver their services to your door. Lets not forget the Bodega, our neighborhood mini warehouses/delis where you can find almost anything if you are in a pinch and need to find something quick. It is very hard for a NYC resident to go outside the city and not have these conveniences readily available. You grow dependent on them, because your time becomes very valuable as you have already read above.
I was afraid this post would be a long one and if you made it to the end Congratulations! Hopefully I didn't discourage too many of you from making the move here. The pros really do outweigh the cons. I know I only posted 3, but there are so many more positive things about living here...or else I wouldn't still be here. It's not easy, but man is it worth it. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me in the comments below. I look forward to them. Until next post and Happy Spring! (my 2nd favorite season in the city)
Good vibes always,