A person looks out at the New York City Skyline

City Guide / New York City

The Pros and Cons of Living in New York City

By Bri Hand | Aug 31, 2021

So, you’re planning on making the move to the city of big dreams and even bigger buildings—a place where anything is possible, and there’s a bodega on every corner. New York City! 

In a city of 8 million people, it’s no surprise that living in New York comes with plenty of perks. With that said, there are a few things newcomers should look out for when moving to the Big Apple. 

Before you find your forever home here, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of living in New York, including: 

  • Pro: Jobs
  • Con: Say goodbye to your car
  • Pro: Nightlife and entertainment options
  • Con: Noise
  • Pro: Schools
  • Con: Cost of living
  • Pro: Networking opportunities
  • Con: Weather

Pro: Jobs

Whether you’re looking for your big break, or simply a cushy office job in a high-rise building, New York City is the place to be. 

U.S. News rates NYC a 7 out of 10 on the job market index, due to its many job opportunities and thriving economic industries. Some of NYC’s biggest markets currently include:

  • Financial services: When you think of New York, there’s a good chance Wall Street is one of the first things that come to mind. In a city known for investment banks and day trading, it’s no surprise that financial service jobs in Manhattan are in high demand. 
  • Healthcare: This city is home to hundreds of highly rated hospitals, health clinics, and healthcare firms. While the healthcare industry is booming across the U.S., it never hurts to be in a metropolitan hotspot when looking for a new job. 
  • Professional and technical services: Lawyers, mechanics, marketers, and more—if you can think of a professional or technical service, NYC has hundreds of job opportunities waiting to be filled by qualified people. 
  • Retail: One of the city’s biggest attractions is its retail market. From the world-class luxury designers on Fifth Avenue to the shopping center at Columbus Circle, you’ll have plenty of options when searching for a retail position (and the hefty price tags are great if you’re making commission). 
  • Manufacturing: NYC is known for its fruitful manufacturing industry, particularly in the fields of software engineering, railroads, computer products, and video games.
  • Education: New York City is filled with public and private schools with teaching opportunities and is also home to a number of the country’s top colleges and universities. 

New York City also offers a $15 minimum wage, so even the city’s entry-level positions are favorable compared to other parts of the country. 

Con: Say goodbye to your car

This one is interesting because it could really go either way. Some New Yorkers revel in the fact that they don’t need a car. And in a city where bars and nightclubs are open until 4 a.m., having reliable public transportation can certainly be a plus.

That being said, NYC’s public transportation isn’t always 100% reliable. If you’re making the move to this bustling metropolis, be prepared to deal with late trains on a regular basis. This can be particularly frustrating for those who live in boroughs outside Manhattan. Trains headed to Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx can be difficult to catch, especially during late nights and weekends. 

Of course, if you find yourself living in a more suburban area, there may be a possibility of owning a car. In this case, you’ll need to do some research on street parking in your neighborhood in order to avoid getting a ticket (or worse, having your car towed). 

Pro: Nightlife and entertainment options

Speaking of bars and nightclubs staying open until 4 a.m., read that again

If you’re looking for a lively hotspot that’s anything but boring, the city that never sleeps is going to be your best friend. Say goodbye to having last call at midnight and asking a friend to drive you home. In New York City, you’ll never run out of places to go on a Friday night.

If nightlife isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. New York is filled with fun activities all hours of the day. Some of the best ways to pass the time in New York City include:

  • Sunbathing in the green spaces at Central Park or Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Bowling and playing ice hockey at Chelsea Piers
  • Ice skating at the world-renowned Rockefeller Center
  • Seeing comedy shows in the East Village
  • Sightseeing on the Staten Island Ferry
  • Enjoying a Broadway musical in Manhattan
  • Seeing a baseball game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field

Con: The noise

While New York is a great place for endless fun, it also comes with its fair share of noise. While the outer boroughs offer some quiet streets, New Yorkers living in more populated areas will need to get used to the late-night noise. 

Since bars are open so late, you can expect to hear the hustle and bustle of partygoers all hours of the night. If you’re not a night owl, we recommend steering clear of apartments on busier streets. In Manhattan, pretty much any street that ends in “avenue” is going to be noisy. Astoria, Queens, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are also neighborhoods to avoid for people who don’t want to deal with the noise level. 

As for suburban neighborhoods, it’s important to note where the above-ground trains are. These can be even louder than tipsy locals walking home at night. 

Pro: Schools

As noted above, New York City has a thriving educational system. In fact, some of the best colleges and universities in the world call this city home. So, whether you’re looking for a top-notch journalism course from NYU, or you want to learn about fashion from renowned experts in the field at the Fashion Institute of Technology, here are some of the top schools to choose from:

  • Columbia University
  • NYU
  • Cooper Union
  • Pace University
  • The New School
  • Baruch College
  • Fordham University
  • Pratt Institute
  • Barnard College
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Hunter College

Con: Cost of living

It’s no secret that NYC is expensive, but did you know that it’s actually the most expensive city in the country? New York City’s cost of living is a whopping 154% higher than the national average. While the city does offer a higher minimum wage than most areas of the country, it can still be difficult for these numbers to break even.

The New York housing market is one of the biggest factors in its high cost of living, with a median home value of $606,000. For reference, the national median is only $217,500. With a majority of New York residents renting their homes rather than owning them, the high cost of living doesn’t stop there. The median rent in NYC is $1,443—well above the national average of $1,062. And if you’re moving to Manhattan, you’ll likely fork over even more.

Pro: Networking opportunities

When living in New York City, you’re among the doers, thinkers, and dreamers of the world. If you’re an entrepreneur or looking to join a company that aligns with your values, there’s no better place than the big city to make a name for yourself.

Additionally, some of the biggest names in tech, financing, marketing, and journalism call New York City home, including:

  • American Express
  • Adobe
  • Droga5
  • Condé Nast

That means those with big dreams can find big opportunities to match. Additionally, there are various in-person and virtual networking events to help residents connect with groups of professionals based on their interests, industries, and demographics. Using resources like Eventbrite or Meetup, burgeoning professionals can find a community of like-minded doers looking to climb the corporate ladder. Plus, meet-ups are a great way to find local favorites throughout the city!

Con: The New York weather

New York is a northeastern city, so don’t expect 365 days of sunshine. Winters in NYC are cold and windy, and long avenues surrounded by skyscrapers often create wind tunnels that can be difficult to walk through. 

In the summer, NYC’s weather scales tend to tip the other way. Heat and humidity gets trapped easily in the city, with subway vents and street grates practically radiating heat into the air. Once you get in the subway station, the heat is often even more unbearable. Fortunately, most subway cars have air conditioning in them—so you’ll at least be rewarded for your time waiting in the heat!

Navigate the NYC housing market with Landing

Finding the right apartment in NYC can be tricky, and lugging heavy furniture to a fourth-floor walk-up is even worse. Fortunately, Landing is here to help.

Landing is an elevated way to find your next home. We offer hundreds of furnished apartments in New York City, so you can find the right apartment to meet your needs. With flexible leasing options, Landing members can test the waters before making a full commitment. 

While knowing the pros and cons can be helpful when moving, actually living there is the best way to experience a city. Find a Landing and start your NYC adventure today!

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.