I’ve recently been involved in conversations about the value of New York City and whether it’s worth living in this city. Here’s my rant and side of the story as to why I love New York City.
I love New York City. Even more so, I love my neighborhood–the Upper West Side. My friends have recently begun to talk about leaving New York. They complain about the value they’re getting for the price they’re spending, the people, the small spaces, the vibe, the stress, etc. This got me thinking. New York may not be for everyone. This is a concept that I will always struggle to wrap my head around, but I can see why that may be. One thing is for sure, New York is certainly for me.
At the end of the day, you pay what you think New York is worth to you. Yes rent is expensive, yes cost of living and everything is expensive, but it’s worth it. What I get in return is an energy, a number of events and happenings on a daily basis, something new every day, a beautiful city during all times of year (yes, I think New York is beautiful, regardless what others may think), access to anything at any time, and the homey feel of the Upper West Side. All of this makes New York a livable and amazing place to be and worth the money, at least for me. But at the end of the day, it really all depends on how you spend your time and money.
Do you take advantage of what New York has to offer? Some people don’t which leads me to think yes, then spending all this money is ridiculous and moving to another town or city makes sense. I spend my weekends walking from FiDi or Soho all the way back up to the UWS. I stop by new cafes and restaurants, pop ups and stores, explore new neighborhoods and streets, and try to immerse myself in everything New York has to offer. There is something new every day of the week. And you can’t put a price on that for me. Everything is open 24/7, I can order any food I want at anytime of day, go to a workout class at 8PM or 4AM, stop by 4 supermarkets in one day all within 3 blocks of my house, eat dim sum one day, thai the next, indian after that, moroccan, greek, you name it, and retreat back to the quiet space of my apartment. Even New York’s location makes it ideal. You’ve got Long Island to the East where you can retreat to beaches in the summer, neighboring ski resorts to the West and North for the winter, and trails in neighboring States for the Fall and Spring.
Yes, I will not deny that there are days (and many at times) where I get annoyed at this city, I get mad, there are crazy people, there is too much going on, and it is stressful and all I want is some peace and quiet. People are always doing things in New York and it gives you a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) when you step out the door. Even though you might not know what the FOMO is about, you have it, we all do. But that’s what the Upper West Side is for. I’ve been living on the Upper West Side, specifically Lincoln Square, for a little over 4 years now and could not imagine living anywhere else. When I retreat back to my little apartment facing an inner courtyard, all noise ceases. It’s complete silence. I sleep uninterrupted and am able to escape from the movement of the city. That’s not easy to say in New York City, but the UWS is able to provide you with this luxury. Maybe that’s why I find New York City a livable place…I certainly wouldn’t feel this way if I lived in a busier NYC neighborhood.
My friends say things like, if I lived in any other city I’d be saving so much money. I’d be living in a 3 bedroom penthouse, I’d be able to get a dog and an outdoor space. I’d be less stressed. I’d get paid just the same as I would in New York (I don’t think so…but let me know otherwise). To a lot of people this is the dream, so when they hit the age of 25/26 they leave New York. To someone like me, at least at this point in my life, this doesn’t persuade me. Sure a 3 bedroom penthouse is nice, but it’s in the middle of a city that is not Manhattan. No place or city can replace Manhattan, for so many reasons and to me it’s worth what I spend. And when I do and if I do eventually leave New York City, it will be for a suburban town that will probably be equally as expensive. Because at the end of the day, what you’re paying for is the experience from public services, amenities, schools, etc.
I often day dream about living in other cities around the world and hope to get the chance in the future. I’ve thought about going on a sabbatical and I probably will in the future. Taking a break from this pulsing city will be healthy for me, but I’m curious to see how I will respond to being away from New York for so long. I’m sure I’ll do fine in any other place in the world because each country and city has so much to offer, but I wonder how they will compare to New York at the end of the day. Maybe I’ll move on from New York, or maybe I’ll come to appreciate it even more. Only time will tell. At the end of the day, I agree. New York is not for everyone and you can’t convince someone to love New York City, you either do or you don’t. But in my opinion, the reasons why you love New York and whether you’ll want to stay here all stem from what you make of it and how you use what the city gives you.
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