I unabashedly a New Yorker. I grew up singing the tune of “I love New York”. I unapologetically love the city and no one can tell me New York isn’t great. With that said, I have lived in 17 cities, So, obviously I am not wedded to staying in NYC. And, obviously I have much data from which to compare New York. Again, I have lived in 17 cities and I am open as to what is great about other cities. But, I will note nothing compares to NYC. Am I biased? Sure. A little. But I also have more data than most other people out there.
- Walking everywhere. A recent study found that walking really helps your health. What better place than NYC to walk around and take it all in.
- A good quality of life. There are a lot of people out there who truly believe that living in a city is bad for your health. However, that is not necesarily true. NYC residents live about two years longer than the national average. In 2010, a New Yorker’s life expectancy at birth topped out at 80.9 years. Wow. Maybe it is due in part to having availability and access to vast resources? Plus, walking is good for you.
- Public transportation. It goes without saying that the public transportation in New York compared to other American cities is unbelievable. Sure, New Yorkers complain aboyt the subway all the time. But that is because we can. While it is great, we know it can be better compared to itself. While living in Los Angeles I have horribly missed New York’s public transportation as it is abysmal out here. People out in Los Angeles look upon public transportation with complete disdain. Not that many believe in it. Yet, so many claim to to care about climate change. Whatever.
- Seasons. Sure,warm weather is desirable. Well, for many people but not all. For example, my son prefers cold weather. He loves the snow. I am not too huge a fan of snow. But I do miss it. I miss variability. And, let me just state for the record the weather in San Francisco sucks. It is gloomy most of the time. Yuck. Los Angeles goes down to 50 or 60 degrees at times and there is June gloom here. It’s not perfect as many would lead you to believe.
- Twenty-four hour access. Maybe you don’t need cough syrup at 3am. Maybe you don’t feel like eating greasy pizza at 2am. Maybe you don’t feel like clubbing all night and going straight to work after a night out on the town. But, in New York, you could do all that and more at all times of the day.
- Diversity. Part of the reason I love the public transportation in NYC is because even the Mayor rides it. And, you see all cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religions there. I love my son being exposed to so many different types of people.
- Crazy cab drivers. I try to avoid getting into a cab in new York as I suffer from severe motion sickness. And when you get into a cab in New York be prepared for what is ostensibly a rollercoaster ride. However, when I do get into one it is bound to be interesting, crazy and memorable. Also, you can almost always get a cab. Of course, Uber has changed that dynamic up a bit. And I love Uber (well, not the bad PR it has gotten lately). However, there is something about a NYC cab ride.
- Weekend getaway trips. Sure you can go to many small towns within California from any California city for the weekend. But I am, honestly, bored by that. In NYC, you can go to many different countries, including Iceland, for a quick weekend trip and not suffer from jet lag. That’s unbeatable. I miss the ability to travel that way.
- Faster trips. Even going to Japan is faster from NYC than from Los Angeles. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Not that you can go to a weekend trip there but it’s faster. That’s a win in my book. Oh, I also forgot to mention that we have four major airports in the area and we have the ACELA amtrak. There’s always a way to get away. And get away fast.
- A gorgeous skyline. I miss the tall buildings I know that sounds odd to many. But I find beauty in the skyscrapers.
- There are still bookstores. Many cities have lost almsot all their bookstores. And, yes, NYC has lost bookstores. But you still have the Strand and it warms my heart that it is often packed. People still read books! There is also the Mysterious Bookstore. Murder mysteries galore. Yah! And, they have a sense of humor about their specialty bookstore. “Nobody shoplifts from a store that knows 3,214 ways to murder someone”. Hmm.
- Music. Which band doesn’t perform in NYC? Also, great music genres come out of NYC. You have heard of rap music, right? It started in my beloved Bronx. You also have musicals galore here. I’m not a major fan, per se, but I appreciate that it is here should I desire to catch one. Also, songs about New York are uplifting.
- Never tire of the natural history museum. I don’t know what else to say about this other than NYC has great museums. And if you are a kid at heart, the Natural History Museum is awesome.
- Bagels and Pizza. Other cities just do not have good bagels. They also forget the cream cheese. As for Pizza, so many other cities have restaurants that claim to have NYC pizza, But they don’t. And, what does it tell you that all these other states want to have NYC pizza. might as well go to the course.
- Shopping at Macy’s. The store in Herald Square is fantastic as there are constant sales and it has an old school feel to it still. Where every store is starting to be minimalist it is fun to go into the messy, crazy Macy’s on 34th street.
- Christmas Markets. They are not as robust in NYC as in Europe but we still have those pop up Christmas market stalls. The ones in Grand Central and Union Square warm my heart. You can but art from local artists before they hit the big stage.
- Homeless shelters. I am going to get serious for a second here. I currently live in Los Angeles, where the number of homeless is just mind-boggling. There are tent cities everywhere; even near Beverly Hills. They just don’t have enough shelters here and they allow people to sleep day in and out on the streets in tents. New York is not perfect and can surely improve its social services. However, there are shelters and attempts made on a daily basis to get people into one each night.
Now why did I go through this exercise? Because no matter where I am in the world, New York is where I belong. As John Steinbeck has been quoted as saying, “Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.”