New York City is not for everyone, and I will certainly admit it was not for me. I’m proud to say that I “made it” in such a cutthroat place (and had a lot of fun doing it), but I decided to relocate back to Boston.
It took a lot of careful thought and weighing of options, but I ultimately knew moving was the best choice for me.
However, sometimes the decision is not so easy and you can find yourself wavering back and forth. Here are the deal breakers that helped make me make up my mind. Hopefully they can help you too.
- Cost of Living – New York is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. No exaggeration. Want a $15 cocktail? No problemo – even the skeeviest of dive bars will easily charge that price. New York gets you coming and going – literally – evening paying for movers is insanely expensive.
- Transportation – If you don’t mind public transportation, then kudos to you. But I love my car and prefer driving – mostly for the cleanliness, personal space and not having to talk to/make eye contact with strangers. But it is cost prohibitive to keep a car in the city. Sadly $450/month is a good deal. This fact made me weep on a daily basis, especially when I had to pay that in a pinch one time. It is possible to find less expensive rates, but you will then have to commute to the lot – which costs time, money and convenience. In this case, if you can afford it, just bite the bullet and pay the higher price for the closer garage. You’ll use the car more and it will be worth the money in the long run.
- Quality of Life – I grew up in the suburbs and went to college in a nice suburb. I am ALL ABOUT THE ‘BURBS. So living in a city was completely new to me. Long gone were the days of in-unit washer/dryers and a spacious, new construction 1-bedroom unit with included parking space. Hello to shared laundry rooms (if any at all), dingy hallways, loud neighbors and walk-ups (luckily my buildings had elevators – but not all of my friends’ did). Not going to lie, I was not all about city living.
- Dirty and Smelly Factor – There’s no getting around it. New York is one dirty city and always smells like urine. Always. Regardless of the season. Take one walk through the subway, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
- Housing – Unless you rent directly from the owner of your unit, your rent WILL get hiked up every year. So unless you can afford it, you’re going to have to move to a new apartment every few years, if not every year. And God help you if your neighborhood becomes trendy and the prices REALLY go up. RIP Brooklyn.
- Nightlife – New York is one of the best places for nightlife. But when you live there, it can be hard to actually afford it. One Saturday night out could easily run you $150. While that seems outrageous, it’s sadly realistic. Let’s break it down…
- Taxi from UES to LES: $25
- Dinner (entree, 1 cocktail, tax/tip): $50
- 2 after-dinner drinks over course of night: $30
- Taxi from LES to UES: $25
- GRAND TOTAL: $130 😦
- Social Opportunities – While living in the city, I was a member of Magnises, which is basically a social club with special member perks (like free drinks at certain restaurants, etc). They hosted weekly networking happy hours and I met some really nice friends through the club. I was sad that I had to leave this behind, so it was definitely a sacrifice of moving out of the city.
- Health and Fitness – One of my favorite parts of New York was the plethora of boutique fitness studios. Classpass was my absolute JAM and I looked forward to trying new classes every day after work. The downside is that New York is so large, so it can take almost an hour to get to different studios all over the city. Nevertheless, I found a few near my apartment that I really loved. There are certainly a bunch of studios in Boston, but the sheer multitude of studios in NYC is incomparable. So this was definitely a downside of relocating.
- Parks – Sure, there are nice parks in the suburbs too. But it was SO convenient to stroll out of my building with my dog and be at the dog park within minutes. And the gorgeous view of the East River didn’t hurt either. So…another downside of leaving the city.
Everyone is unique and values certain things differently, so you have to think long and hard about what is important to you. But first and foremost, be honest with yourself. Unless you REALLY want to be in New York, the positives are not always going to outweigh the negatives. You have to do what is best for you.
If you’re still in doubt, this article from yesandyes.org was extremely helpful to me (specifically the hating your city aspect, not the job part – so skip to the second half of the article). Take a look and best of luck!
And with that — I officially announce my relocation to Boston, so get ready for posts about life back in New England. Don’t worry New Yorkers – if I think of a helpful tip or blurb, I’ll still blog about the city too.