12 Pros and Cons of Living in NYC

Living in NYC is an adventure. Every day is a new story and experience that’s larger than life. Some of these stories are amazing, while others can be tragic, but they are all part of that big city life people dream about. E.B. White said that there are roughly three New Yorks. The New York of those born here, the New York of those who commute, and “the New York of those born somewhere else, and came to New York in quest of something.” No matter which NYC a person experiences, there are good and bad parts of the city that are essentially universal.

Pros of Living in NYC

The Food

The food in NYC is easily some of the best in the world. There’s a huge concentration of Michelin-star restaurants, but some of the best places to eat are the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants that folks seem to stumble into by accident. Nearly any cuisine a person can think of can be found in this city, which is prepared by a master chef’s brilliant hand. There are endless restaurants to enjoy in the Big Apple, and trying to enjoy them all will feel like a trip around the world.

The Diversity

Queens, New York is one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world, and the rest of the city is rife with diversity and culture as well. People from all over the world travel to NYC to live and work. This diversity brings a lot to the city, and is celebrated by the city in the form of museums, parades, and festivals. This diversity also shines through in art, cuisine, and shopping experiences, making everyone feel right at home in this crazy town. NYC has always been a melting pot, and that isn’t going away anytime soon.

The Art

NYC has art for everyone. Whether it’s the most exclusive gallery or a free sculpture garden in a park, everyone in the city can enjoy beautiful art. This doesn’t just go for sculptures or paintings either. Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway theaters tell stories to everyone willing to listen. Carnegie Hall to a small stage in a dive bar means everyone can listen to beautiful music. Even on the street, performers and graffiti can instill a sense of awe in those who live and visit here. NYC is a city of art and finds its way into every part of this concrete jungle.

There’s Never a Dull Moment

NYC is a city of entertainment. Everywhere people look, there’s a party, a nightclub, a movie theater, or a beautiful park. Some folks travel across the country to experience the festivals that take place in NYC. Seasonal events are a big hit in the city, with summer and winter offering some of the best entertainment and art in the world. Even something as simple as a walk with a friend can turn into a grand adventure. Folks just need to look outside and there will be something amazing going on.

24-Hour Public Transit System

Many people might disagree with this point, considering the lack of enthusiasm for the MTA. However, most cities in the US don’t have a mass transit system, and those that do, don’t have nearly the coverage the New York City subways have. The best part is that they run all day every day, so people can stay out as late as they want and not be forced to drive back home. The public transit system in NYC might not be perfect, but it’s easily one of the best in the country and makes living in the city a lot easier.

A Resilient City

New York City has seen its fair share of large-scale tragic events. It wasn’t too long ago that the city went into lockdown to try and stop the spread of COVID. “Two weeks to flatten the curve” quickly turned into “Hopefully, we’ll open up in a year or so.” However, this didn’t stop NYC from being NYC. 

Using COVID guidelines, a ton of socially distanced, outdoor events were held. Restaurants added outdoor seating so people could still eat out in a safe way. Even dating in the city adapted, with walks through a park becoming extremely popular. No matter what the tragedy is, New York finds a way to survive and thrive. That attitude is one of the best parts about living in this city, as it inspires people to innovate, create, and be bigger and better for those who live here.

Cons of Living in NYC

It’s Crazy Expensive

Most people know that NYC is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. Housing prices keep rising, often artificially by landlords and developers, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. The cost of everything is going up in NYC. It’s easy to leave home for a few hours and accidentally spend hundreds of dollars. 

This is especially difficult because wages aren’t keeping up with inflation. Even with the $15 minimum wage, many people are getting priced out of the city or are forced to work two or three jobs just to feed themselves. NYC has a hustle culture that says those who work hard will live well, but many of the hardest workers have the hardest time affording their homes. It’s a problem that has been plaguing the city for decades.

The Noise

The city is loud. That’s not exactly a secret, but it is something that can surprise people. Even in the dead of night, cars are honking, dogs are barking, and sirens are blaring. It can be difficult to find a quiet space in the city. Even when a quiet space is found, firecrackers may randomly go off or you may end up with noisy neighbors. Most people who live in the city get used to the noise and can eventually tune it out. However, many people never learn to live with it, forever putting a sour note on their NYC experience.

The Traffic

NYC has some of the worst traffic in the country. Rush hour, construction, parades, marathons, just about anything can halt all traffic on a major road. For those who rely on public transit, this isn’t normally a problem. However, all that traffic and road construction lead to another issue: air quality, which is a major health hazard and gets particularly bad in the summer. Again, this problem is minor for most people. But for those who have a car or love to take Ubers or Lyfts, this is a common annoyance that isn’t going away anytime soon.

The Tourists

NYC is a tourist town. Which is fine. A lot of towns rely on tourism. Most of the tourists who visit NYC consider it a privilege and are perfectly respectful and pleasant. However, entitled tourists are often much louder than kind ones. Some tourists come to NYC and expect the city to revolve around them completely. This is especially bad on major drinking holidays and festivals like St. Patrick’s Day and SantaCon. People will come into the city, destroy parts of it, and then leave with no regard for the people who actually live here, which can be very annoying.


NYC is full of little critters scurrying around. Rats, roaches, and bed bugs are fine creatures when they are outside. Unfortunately, they love living inside other people’s homes. Roaches, especially, can be annoying to get rid of, so much so that many apartment complexes have a monthly sign-up sheet where residents can request an exterminator covered by the landlord. The rat problem was also particularly bad after the pandemic when dining sheds became abandoned and destroyed, leaving thousands of rodents running around to find new shelter. These pests are pretty gross to most people and are everywhere.

Infrastructure Issues

NYC has some interesting budget priorities. One might think that city functions like street repair, building maintenance, bridge inspection, and trash collection would be a significant part of the city budget, but these services definitely need a lot more funding. There is litter everywhere in the city, potholes are commonplace, and fines for unsafe buildings are laughably low. People paying an arm and leg to live in this city deserve better maintenance for it, especially considering the increased risk of flooding in recent years. It’s an issue that’s tough to ignore, and many New Yorkers are fighting to fix it on a daily basis.

There’s a lot to love about living in NYC and there’s a lot to be annoyed about. NYC is not everyone. It’s a tough, expensive city with a lot of noise and big political issues. That said, most of the people who live here love it. The sights and sounds easily outweigh the negatives, especially when those negatives can eventually be fixed. In fact, every issue NYC faces is totally fixable. The city simply needs to put in the time, effort, and funding into the right things. There’s a lot to love about living in the city, and the people who call it home can make it even better. 

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