36 Pros & Cons of Living in NYC (to Know Before You Move to NY)

“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” is one of the most famous quotes about living in NYC. And while living in New York City has tons of glamorous perks, New York isn’t perfect.

After living in Manhattan (Chelsea, to be exact) and living on Long Island and Staten Island, I’ve definitely formulated some opinions. Not to mention I still have friends living in NYC, and most of my family still lives in Brooklyn. So if you’re considering moving to NYC, I am covering some of the pros and cons of living in New York City.

Living in NYC pros and cons

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Pros of Moving and Living in NYC

I will be starting with the pros of living in NYC, because, as a New Yorker, I am not going to sugarcoat my feelings on the cons. Most New Yorkers can admit they have a love-hate relationship with NYC at some point in time.

1. The City That Never Sleeps

To be honest, this statement about NYC couldn’t be more true and one of the main reasons I loved living in NYC. Feel hungry at 2 AM? The bagel store down the block will be open. Want a full-blown meal, head to the nearest dinner.

When you live in NYC, you have access to things 24/7, and there is just something so cool about that – even in the dead hours of the night.

Read: Best Things to Do in NYC at Night

NYC at night black and white photo from across the water

2. No Car is Needed in NYC

Don’t like driving, well NYC is the place for you! You absolutely do NOT need a car when living in NYC. In fact, I highly advise against it. This city thrives when it comes to its public transportation system. The subway is extremely easy to use within Manhattan and extends to Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Read: How to Navigate the NYC Subway

You also have the Staten Island Ferry, the Amtrak, and the Long Island Railroad. There are also public buses throughout the city and boroughs. Additionally, you can find a lot of long-distance travel buses at Port Authority, like the Greyhound Bus and the Megabus, for further destinations.

Subway train in NYC

3. Close to Major Airports

When it comes to major airports, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to live in NYC until I moved to Raleigh, NC. When you live in NYC, you have the option of Laguardia, JFK, and Newark as major airports.

These airports are all giant hubs that offer so many direct flights and usually have way better flight deals than other cities. If you’re someone who loves to travel a lot, being near these major airlines makes it so much easier!

4. There is Always Something Going On

It is no joke when I say there is always something going on in New York City. From parades and night markets to movies in the park and new art galleries. There is ALWAYS something to do, so if you’re someone who likes to keep busy, living in NYC will be great for you.

You can always find new pop-up events on Feverup.

Best things to do in NYC include seeing the skyline

5. Easy Trip to the Suburbs

If the city life feels overwhelming, you are just a hop, skip, and a jump to multiple suburbs. Whether you’re looking for some of the best things to do on Long Island, like visiting vineyards, wanting to relax in nature in upstate New York, or even heading to New Jersey or Pennsylvania, they are all within grasp.

New York in itself if a GAINT state, and there is so much to explore!

Macari Vineyards is one of the best on Long Island
Macari Vineyards Grapevines

6. Rub Elbows With Other Major Cities

And since we are talking about visiting other places, I would be remiss not to mention how close you will be to other major cities, including Jersey City, Hoboken, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Boston are within 4 hours away.

View From the Rocky Stairs
weekend in Philadelphia

7. Close to Nice Beaches & Skiing

While you might not find turquoise blue water, you will still be close to long sandy beaches! I am definitely biased, but I believe some of the best beaches you can visit are on Long Island.

Just take the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station or Grand Central to Long Beach, the Hamptons, or even Montauk. For closer beaches, you can enjoy Coney Island and Jacob Riis Park.

Or, if you rent a car for the day or weekend, you can hit up the Jersey Shores. Some of my favorite beach areas in New Jersey include Belmar, Seaside Heights, Wildwood, Point Pleasant, and Atlantic City (if you want to party and beach).

And then, in the winter you have skiing and snowboarding nearby. One of the closest Mountains to hit the slopes is Mountain Creek. There is also Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain in the Catskills.

Sunset at Pirates Cove down on the beach on Long Island

8. World Class Museums

When you live in NYC, you will have access to some of the best museums in the USA – seriously! The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) has some of the most significant works of art within its walls, including Van Gogh, Ancient Egyptian Art, and more. In fact, they are probably one of my favorite museums.

But that’s not all! They have The Museum of Modern Art (The MOMA), the International Museum of Photography Museum, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to name a few.

9. Incredible Art Scene

Another pro about living in NYC is having a great art scene as well. The many art museums have a part in this, but the art scene is more than just the major museums.

NYC has some really beautiful street art and tons of galleries. Some of my favorite galleries to visit are actually the Chelsea Art Galleries. SoHo is one of my favorite places for murals.

Soho , NYC instagrammable photo location at Pietro Nolita

10. Nightlife in NYC

I mean, can we really talk about living in NYC without mentioning the nightlife? New York City is home to some of the hottest clubs and speakeasies. Some of the top places to party include Nebula, 1 Oak, Webster Hall, and Sei Less.

There are also tons of bars and clubs across the boroughs and Long Island.

11. The NYC Community

Living in NYC has this type of community feeling. Living in tight quarters in one of the busiest cities, but yet somehow, you feel so close. You’re local bodega, laundromat, etc.

And you don’t have to be born in New York to feel this sense of community, either. It is one of the great things about living in NYC.

Living in NYC visit Central Park - pros and cons

12. Experience All Four Seasons

Another great thing about living in New York is getting to experience all 4 seasons! Fall in NYC and Christmas time in New York are definitely my favorites. So if you’re someone who loves to enjoy all the seasons, you will love living in New York City!

Rockefeller Christmas Tree at night NYC

13. The Land of Opportunity

“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere; Welcome to New York!” But, for real, NYC has just about every major company with a headquarters in Manhattan. This gives you a huge opportunity to pursue your passion in almost any industry.

From tech giants, marketing, and wall street to fashion, film, and real estate, you have the opportunity. I am not saying it will be easy to land these competitive jobs, but they are certainly available, unlike in smaller cities and towns.

New York City also has one of the highest-paying salaries in the United States.

Summit One Vanderbilt with Empire State Building
Summit One Vanderbilt

14. Friends and Family Will Want to Visit

If you’re living somewhere cool like NYC, you’re friends and family will definitely want to visit you! Maybe they will even be jealous, but yet happy for you. After moving to Raleigh, I quickly learned people only really want to visit you when you live somewhere cool.

Friends and family had no problems visiting our Chelsea apartment, but Raleigh, NC – not so much!

Best Places to Stay in NYC Empire State Building Skyline

15. Active Lifestyle

If you need to feel motivated to get up and start moving, living in NYC will definitely help you out there! Whether you’re partaking in free exercising in one of NYC’s parks (like Central Park, Washington Square Park, Bryant Park, or Hudson River Greenway) or joining one of the many specialized gyms or yoga studios, you will definitely be surrounded by like-minded people.

And even if you don’t like to exercise, you will definitely be more active living in NYC from all the walking you will be doing and carrying grocery bags!

Central Park Gapstow Bridge - Living in NYC
Central Park Gapstow Bridge

16. Great Place to Network

NYC is also a great place to network. Aside from the fact this city has a population of over 7.8 million people, there are always trade events and meet-ups happening across all different industries.

Many large trade events happen at the Javits Center, but you can just as easily bump into someone on the subway and network!

17. The USA Mixing Pot

One of the special things about living in New York is that it is hard to feel like an outcast because NYC is a huge mixing pot of people from all walks of life.

You can find your people but also enjoy the diversity the city has to offer.

18. Excellent Food Scene in NYC

And partly because of all that diversity, NYC has one of the best food scenes. Not only can you find foods from across cultures, but some of the best restaurants in the world, including multiple Michelin Star restaurants.

From Little Italy and Chinatown to Koreatown, Chelsea, and Harlem, you will find an array of cuisines.

NYC also has dozens of new trending restaurants, giving off all the Instagrammable vibes.

My all-time favorite foods will always be pizza and bacon egg and cheese sandwiches.

Read: Must-try Food When Visiting NYC

Lucia Pizza NYC
Regular and White Slice
Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Bagel sandwich in New York is a must eat

19. Entertainment Galore

If you want to live somewhere that feels “ALIVE,” NYC has to be one of the top entertainment cities in the world. Almost all the major events come to New York City.

Whether that be top comedians, music performers, and festivals, you will be able to experience it in New York. On top of that, many studio shows are live in New York – many of which are free to attend.

Related: Best Free Things to Do in NYC

Lover of the arts? You have Broadway, off-Broadway, and Lincoln Center for Ballet, Jazz, and more!

Oh, and during the summer, there are so many events and festivals happening, not to mention all the additional attractions New York has, like its observation decks.

Futhermore, New York is home to a plethora of sports teams. If you’re living in NYC, you will not be short of entertainment.

NY Football Giants game at night
Giants Game at Metlife Stadium

20. The NYC Effect

There is something about living in NYC that is incredibly exciting. Afterall, NYC is one of the most iconic cities in the world with famous landmarks. I remember when I first decided to move to Manhattan, and I felt an insane rush. The liveliness of the city, the hustle and bustle, the skyscrapers, and the billboards; you will understand the feeling when you visit.

Maybe it was even on that first visit to NYC that you got “the feeling” and now you’re considering the move!

New York in 4 Days - Skyline
A New York Observation deck is a must on any 4 day itinerary! Views from Summit One

21. Top-of-the-Line Shopping

If you’re considering moving to New York City, I am sure you already know this, but can’t leave it off the list. NYC truly has some of the best shopping in the world. From just about every luxury designer store you can think of to the best thrifting spots – you will find it here.

Cruise down Madison Avenue, explore the Hudson Yards, or enjoy wandering SoHo for some of the best shopping the city has to offer. Oh, and for those of you who love Outlet shopping, you have the Woodbury Commons nearby or the Tanger Outlets on Long Island.

22. NYC Fashion

Where are my NYC Fashionistas at? One of the main reasons I wanted to live in Manhattan was for the fashion. In fact, I even attended the Fashion Institute of Technology to learn about business (with a sprinkle of fashion).

One of the coolest things I’ve done was volunteering for New York Fashion Week. I worked on shows including Gwen Stafani, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, and Anna Sui. It was really freaking cool for me. But, you can also attend fashion shows like a normal person or just embrace the uniqueness of NYC fashion.

Want to walk around the city in a ballgown? I doubt too many people would even question it!

Cons of Living in NYC

All the amazing things I’ve said about living in NYC may feel like I’ve balled them up and lit them on fire after reading the cons – but hey, no place is perfect!

22. NYC is Very Expensive

If there is one thing I know that won’t come as any surprise to you, is that NYC is expensive. New York City is one of the most expensive cities to live in and is usually considerably above the National Average. The rent is high, and it goes up every year. Currently, the average rent prices start at around $3,000 per month for a studio apartment. Food prices are significantly higher, sales tax is more, and utilities are more. Everything is just more!

Therefore, it makes sense why salaries are so high, because if they weren’t, no one would be able to live there. Maybe the only thing that is not too expensive is the Metro.

However, if financially you’re on top of the world, the prices in NYC won’t mean a thing compared to all the access to things to do in the city.

Central Park New York City Travel Sunset

23. It Can Feel Lonely

As much as New York can feel like a community, it can also feel like a lonely place. I mean Mila Kunis said it best in the movie Freinds with Benefits that New York can get Lonely at times, but any place can get lonely at times.

24. Traffic is Unbearable

Maybe I have such a hate for New York traffic because I drive to and from New York so often, but it is one of my least favorite things about New York. Not to mention if you do live in one of the boroughs, there are speeding cameras and red light cameras everywhere.

Do you know how hard it is to get somewhere when you have to go 25 mph the whole way?

Penn Station NYC Cabs NYC travel tips

25. Winters Can Be Brutal

Aside from the magic of Christmas, winters in NYC are brutal, especially in Manhattan, where the buildings make wind tunnels. Now if you’re coming from somewhere that gets colder than New York, maybe you won’t mind.

But, if you don’t do well in the cold, it can be hard toughing out the winter in New York City. The average snowfall (less predictable recently) is around 25 inches per year.

Dyker Heights Brooklyn during the winter in New York

26. NYC Wildlife

Wondering why NYC wildlife is a part of the con list? Well, cockroaches and rats are not my favorite neighbors, and I doubt they are yours, either. I know you have seen a video of an NYC rat. Those things are like the size of a small cat.

27. The City is Dirty

Why so many cockroaches and rats? Well, the city is dirty. There is no sugarcoating it. But it is hard to believe it wouldn’t be with millions of people living on top of one another.

It smells like garbage, pee, poo, and sewage mixed with weed. To be fair, it is not like this all over the entire city, but it is there.

Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo, Brooklyn

28. No Real Privacy

One of the reasons I left NYC and went back to Long Island was for some privacy. It can get tiring living on top of people. Having no yard or place of peace. There are just people everywhere.

People living above you, below you, to the side of you. That is just apartment life unless you’re moving into a fancy brownstone.

29. Crowds

The city is chaos, and that is part of what makes it special, but it also can make it pretty unspecial. The crowds can get old pretty quickly. Ask a local the last time they visited Times Square! I bet it wasn’t any time recently.

With so many people on such a small island, crowds are inevitable.

Times Square NYC at night

30. NYC Can Be Noisy

I say New York City can be noisy because maybe you will choose a more quiet neighborhood on the Upper West or Upper East Side or an apartment on the top floor. But overall, the city is noisy. Imagine this; a New Yorker feeling weirded out because a place is too quiet. It is the truth, though.

Eventually, you will get used to hearing all the cars, subways, and sirens go by.

31. Pollution in New York City

When you are living in such close quarters with millions of people, it is hard to believe you’re not going to experience pollution while living in Manhattan. If you’re sensitive, it could bother you.

I, for one always got sinus infections when I lived in Manhattan. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I blame the irritation of the pollution!

32. Hello Walk ups

Unless you have some major bills to spend, you might find yourself in one of Manhattan’s famous walk-up buildings. If you need exercise, maybe doing flights of stairs is a pro for moving, or it becomes the vein of your existence. Only time will tell, I suppose!

33. Become Friendly With Your Laundromat

Did you know it’s not common to have a washer or dryer in your apartment? So, whether you send your clothes out for dry cleaning or you wheel them in yourself, it is definitely a con to living in NYC in my eyes.

34. Finding an Apartment is Stressful

Not only is finding an apartment in NYC stressful and expensive, but the rooms are generally tiny! If you’re very well off, you may be looking at penthouses instead with views of the Empire State Building, and this won’t matter to you, but for the vast majority, get ready for your 10×17 studio apartment.

Not to mention, there are broker’s fees and competition when apartment hunting.

Having roommates is also pretty common in NYC to accommodate the high prices.

Chelsea NYC Where to Stay
Our Chelsea NYC apartment Building across from FIT

35. Being a Renter Instead of a Homeowner

You can most certainly be a homeowner in NYC, but the vast majority of us will never afford those prices. So, instead of your money going into a property you will someday own and become an asset, you’re NYC apartment will never really be yours.

But, maybe you don’t want the stresses of owning a home, so it is a pro for you.

36. Homeless

Homelessness is a problem in NYC, and it has been for years. It is very possible to see makeshift homes while walking down the street, and for some, this can be considered a con. Unfortunately, there are homeless problems across the United States, so New York is not alone in this, and certainly not as bad as California.

Movies and Shows About NYC

As I wrote this list, I kept thinking of movies and shows in New York City. Maybe this list scared you a little, and you need some of that inspiration back. So, here is a quick list of some NYC movies and shows.

  • Sex and the City (shows and movies)
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Home Alone 2
  • Taxi
  • A Bronx Tale
  • Set it Up
  • Serendipity
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • The Night Before
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic

Living in NYC FAQ

Is New York Safe to Live?

One of the most common questions people ask is if it is safe to live in NYC. I’ve lived and commuted into Manhattan for years and have never felt unsafe or had any issues. I do recommend practicing caution and being aware of your surroundings, along with not walking alone late at night.

Is it a Good Idea to Move to NYC?

Moving to NYC has so many positives, so it can certainly be a good idea to move here. However, there are also cons. The best answer is to weigh out the pros and cons with your goals in mind.

Is it Expensive to Live in NYC?

New York is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. New York scores above the National Average in the majority of categories including rent, utilities, gas, and food prices. However, NYC also has one of the highest salary averages in the USA.

Chrysler Building NYC Skyline views

Why I Moved From New York

One of the main reasons I left New York was the price. I wanted to live in a more affordable area, and my husband and I were able to work remotely. I still visit New York multiple times a year, as it is where most of my family is, so we always have a place to stay. Most times, I still consider it home.

It is also important to note I like moving and living in different places, so I am sure I will move again eventually; I have my eye on Europe next.

Living in NYC Pros and Cons Wrap-up

This concludes some of the pros and cons you may experience if you decide to move to New York City. I hope this list has helped you better narrow down if moving and living in NYC is right for you!

Have any questions about this Pros and Cons list of living in NYC? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you find this Pros and Cons of Living in NYC helpful? I would appreciate it if you could share it below!

Living in NYC Pros and Cons New York City
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

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