To New Yorkers, New York City is the center of the universe.
I have lived here all my life (with a brief interlude for schooling in New Haven), and I cannot imagine settling anywhere else. We New Yorkers appreciate its quirks and love the many things it offers residents and visitors alike.
While it’s no surprise that we get over 60 million tourist visitors per year, the real riches of the city tend to open themselves more subtly to those of us who live here.
Below I have compiled my Top 10 Reasons to love living in the Big Apple:
In many ways, living in New York resembles a never-ending reality show. From the ped-locked streets of Midtown to the grey-flannel-suited precincts of Wall Street, something or someone unexpected may appear at any time. Angry protesters, overdressed ladies who lunch, street performers, ordinary individuals who look like street performers – what is across the street or around the corner is always a surprise.
We are a city of walkers. And it’s only in walking that you see the things which so many others miss: the carved heads on the building facades, the pocket parks so teeny that you could blink and miss them, the curious little shops and vendors selling all manner of things. Only pedestrians get the real New York experience. Plus, between walking everywhere and climbing in and out of the subways, we stay in shape!
Every New York neighborhood offers surprising and delicious food opportunities. Greek food in Bayside, Chinese food on Main Street in Flushing or in Chinatown in Manhattan, Italian food in Little Italy, Jewish food on the Lower East Side and in Borough Park, Middle Eastern food on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn – the list goes on and on.
With so many options, many delivered right to your door with a few keystrokes, New Yorkers can dine around the world any time they want.
We are, contrary to popular belief, a hospitable and curious population. Walking through Central Park, sitting outside in a café, riding the bus, wherever we go opportunities to chat with strangers and learn about them abound. It’s one of my favorite things about living here.
Everywhere in the city sit reminders of our past. From the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights (where Aaron Burr once lived) and the tiny, charming wooden houses of Sylvan Place right across the street, to Trinity Church on Wall Street, to the glorious Art Deco Chrysler Building in midtown, our history is around us in the architecture which embodies all the different chapters in our city’s rise. And now we are making history with the spate of super-tall residential buildings piercing the Midtown sky on 57th Street.
So much of what is new begins right here. Not just architecture, but music, drama, technology, and finance all incubate and give birth to ideas and processes in New York City. New Yorkers have always been innovation leaders and we still welcome and embrace the people who push the American Dream forward.
Can any other city in the world top New York for the artistic opportunities it provides both the practitioner and the consumer?
Countless world-class museums, concert venues, galleries, dance companies provide culture at a world-class level. At the same time, pop up galleries and small dance and music venues provide opportunities every day and night for those seeking a more cutting edge experience.
From BAM to Bushwick, The Met to The Stone and National Sawdust, for every taste art abounds here.
New York embodies energy efficiency. Living vertically as we do creates far fewer demands on our heating systems, bathed as apartments are with ambient warmth from the units around and below them.
With the advent of congestion pricing a few months ago, even fewer cars will clog the city’s streets, which already have a very low ratio of cars to people. Increasing numbers of apartment buildings are both recycling and composting. We extrude a (relatively) small carbon footprint.
New York, with its towering skyscrapers, soaring bridges, and vast naturalistic parks, boldly thrusts itself towards the heavens while remaining anchored in the natural world.
In migration season Central Park hosts flocks of migrating songbirds, and our increasingly clean estuaries and harbor islands are home to countless egrets, cranes, and egrets.
At every turn, the attentive perambulator can appreciate exquisite small details in the stonework of buildings and cornices, and appreciate the finesse with which townhouse architects created whole blocks to reflect aesthetic principles of symmetry or mirror imaging. Beauty hides everywhere in the city, waiting only for the attentive passer-by to notice it.
No quality of our city speaks so plainly to its greatness as our diversity of every sort. New York embraces the gamut of cultures, lifestyles, religions, ethnicities, sexual preferences, gender identifications; these differences create the lifeblood which runs through the veins of us all.
Because of diversity, we are who we are as individuals; because of the diversity we live surrounded by the richness only possible because of this plurality. People from all over the country and the world dream of moving here because of the freedom and opportunity which still exist here.
We ARE the American Dream.