Living in New York City: The Honest Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Are you considering a move to a city that never sleeps? Before packing your bags and heading to the Big Apple, it’s essential to know the reality of living in one of the world’s most iconic cities.

From the endless job opportunities to the diverse communities and non-stop nightlife, New York City has plenty to offer. However, the hustle and bustle of the city can also come with a few downsides, such as high rent prices, crowded subways, and noise pollution.

In this article, we’ll explore the honest pros and cons of living in NYC, giving you valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

So, whether you’re an adventurous spirit looking to explore a new city or considering a job offer in the Big Apple, keep reading to discover what living in New York City is really like.

Living in New York City

“New York is the only city in the world where you can make out at a red light.”

– Neil Simon, American Playwright

First Let’s talk about the Good, the exciting Part: The pros of Living in New York

Culture and Diversity

Michael Jackson wall painting

New York City is home to over 8 million people, representing a multitude of ethnicities and cultures. This diversity is reflected in the city’s food, art, music, and festivals.

For example, you can enjoy authentic Korean barbecue in Koreatown, taste traditional Italian cuisine in Little Italy, or explore the vibrant African-American history in Harlem.

The city also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, such as the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn.

Endless Opportunities

New York City is a global business and financial center, with Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange based in the city. This attracts a wide range of companies, making it a hub for industries such as finance, fashion, media, and technology.

The city is also home to many prestigious universities, research centers, and cultural institutions, creating opportunities for academic and artistic growth.

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The city’s entrepreneurial spirit and startup culture provide opportunities for small business owners and innovators.

Public Transportation

gray and red train on train station

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including the subway, buses, and taxis. The subway system alone is one of the largest in the world, with 472 stations and 27 subway lines. This makes getting around the city easy and convenient, even for those who don’t have a car.

The city has recently implemented initiatives to improve accessibility, such as adding elevators to subway stations.

The Food Scene

New York City is renowned for its food scene, with a diverse range of restaurants, street vendors, and food trucks. From classic New York-style pizza to innovative fusion cuisine, there is something for everyone.

The city also has numerous food festivals throughout the year, such as the New York City Wine & Food Festival and the Vendy Awards, which celebrate the best street food vendors in the city.

The Entertainment | Art, Music, and Museum

New York City has an endless array of entertainment options, including Broadway shows, concerts, museums, and sporting events. Broadway alone attracts millions of visitors each year, with shows ranging from classic musicals to cutting-edge dramas.

The city is also home to world-class museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art.

In addition, the city has numerous sports teams, including the New York Yankees, New York Mets, New York Knicks, and New York Giants.

Now Some Hard truth: Cons of Living in New York

Cost of Living

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world, with high costs for rent, food, transportation, and entertainment.

According to a report by the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of living in New York City is 49% higher than the national average.

For example, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is over $3,000 per month, while the average cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant is around $20.

Additionally, the city has high taxes, including a sales tax of 8.875% and income tax rates ranging from 4% to 8.82%.

Crowded and Noisy

New York City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with over 27,000 people per square mile. This density can lead to overcrowding, particularly during rush hour and on weekends.

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The noise level can also be overwhelming, with constant sounds from traffic, construction, and people. This can be a challenge for those who are sensitive to noise or prefer a quieter lifestyle.

Lack of Space

New York City apartments are notoriously small, with limited space for living and storage. This can be a challenge for those who are used to larger homes or who have families. In addition, the cost of living can make it difficult to afford larger apartments or homes.

For example, a family of four may struggle to find affordable housing with sufficient space for everyone.

High Crime Rates

While crime rates in New York City have decreased significantly in recent years, some areas of the city still have higher crime rates than others.

According to a report by NeighborhoodScout, the overall crime rate in New York City is higher than 85% of cities in the United States.

This can be a concern for those who are new to the city or who are not familiar with the areas with higher crime rates.

In 2020, the overall index of crime decreased by 4.2% compared to the previous year. Additionally, murders decreased by 24% and shootings decreased by 37% in 2020 compared to the previous year. The NYPD’s continued efforts to address crime have helped to make New York City a safer place to live and visit.

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Fast-Paced Lifestyle

New York City is known for its fast-paced lifestyle, with a high level of energy and intensity. This can be stressful for those who prefer a more relaxed pace of life or who are not used to the demands of a big city.

The fast-paced lifestyle can also lead to burnout or fatigue, particularly for those who work long hours or have demanding jobs.

Helpful Tips: Before you Move to New York City

Do your Budgeting

Creating and sticking to a budget is essential when living in New York City. It’s important to track your expenses, including rent, transportation, food, and entertainment, and to prioritize your spending.

There are numerous budgeting tools and apps available, such as Mint and YNAB, that can help you stay on top of your finances.

Additionally, taking advantage of free or low-cost activities, such as visiting museums on free admission days or attending outdoor concerts, can help you save money while still enjoying all that the city has to offer.

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While New York City has an extensive public transportation system, it’s important to be aware of the options and to plan your route in advance.

The MTA website and apps, such as Transit and Citymapper, can help you navigate the subway and bus system.

Additionally, taking advantage of alternative transportation options, such as biking or walking, can be a great way to explore the city while also getting exercise.

Understand Your Safety

Being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions can help keep you safe in New York City. This includes avoiding unsafe neighborhoods, being aware of your belongings, and not walking alone at night.

The NYPD also offers safety tips and resources, such as the Safe Stop program, which provides a safe place for individuals who feel unsafe while traveling on public transportation.

Neighborhood Research

Researching neighborhoods before you move can help you find the best fit for your lifestyle and budget. This includes looking at factors such as safety, cost of living, transportation options, and community resources. Websites such as StreetEasy and RentHop can provide information on rental prices and neighborhood amenities, while local news sources and community forums can offer insights into the culture and character of different neighborhoods.

Building Relationships

Building relationships and finding a sense of community can be important when living in a big city. This can include joining local clubs or organizations, attending community events, or volunteering. Websites such as Meetup and Eventbrite can provide information on local events and groups, while social media can be a great way to connect with others who share your interests.


New York City offers a unique and exciting lifestyle that attracts people from all over the world. It’s a city of opportunity, diversity, and endless possibilities. However, it’s also a place that requires careful consideration before making a move.

As we’ve explored in this article, there are pros and cons to living in the Big Apple. While the hustle and bustle of the city can be exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming and stressful.

Ultimately, the decision to move to New York City comes down to personal preference and individual circumstances.

We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of what to expect from living in a city that never sleeps, helping you make an informed decision about whether it’s the right move for you.