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The Pros and Cons of Living in NYC in 2024

New York City New York State

by Matt Lyons Posted on February 5, 2024
Nothing compares to New York City. With its iconic attractions, world-class cuisine, and neverending entertainment — among many other attributes — its reputation precedes itself. So it’s no surprise that you’re thinking about making a move to the Big Apple. But just as with any life-changing decision, here are some pros and cons of living in NYC to first take into consideration.
Planning a move to NYC? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Fun Facts You Should Know About New York City

  • With a population of over 8.3 million people, nearly 1 in every 40 people in the U.S. are proud to call New York City home.
  • NYC is considered one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the world, as over 800 languages are spoken there.
  • In 1952, after World War II, the United Nations Headquarters was established in NYC.
  • NYC has more coastline than Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston combined (over 520 miles!).
  • There are five boroughs that are a part of NYC: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
  • The New York Library is the third-largest library in the entire world.
  • New Yorkers are among the top consumers of hot dogs in the nation!

So what are the pros and cons of living in New York City? For starters, NYC has an abundance of job and education opportunities. But, unfortunately, that goes hand in hand with its packed public transportation systems and constant noise (it is the “City That Never Sleeps,” right?).  
Want to dive deeper? Check out these other major pros and cons of New York City.

Pro: Job Opportunities

One of the main benefits of living in NYC is that it's a great place to work, whether you’re seeking a big break or a high-profile office job. Financial services is a major industry in Manhattan, so there are a lot of job opportunities on Wall Street, for example. The city's retail market is also booming. You'll find a wide range of opportunities in this area, including high-end fashion retailers on Fifth Avenue and at the Columbus Circle shopping center.

A noisy, busy New York street

Con: Noise At All Hours

New York City is known for its endless fun, but it also comes with some noise issues. While the city's outer boroughs have plenty of quiet streets, those residing in more densely populated areas will have to adjust to the late-night noise levels. Pro Tip: If you're not a night owl, you might want to avoid living on any street in Manhattan that ends in "Avenue," as it’s likely to be noisy. And some especially noisy neighborhoods to avoid are Williamsburg, Queens, and Brooklyn.

Pro: Solid Education System

New York City has a robust educational system, with some of the world's top post-secondary institutions calling it home. Whether you want to study journalism or fashion, there are a variety of elite and more welcoming schools in the city. Some of these include:

Con: Unpleasant Weather

The weather in New York City is typically unfavorable during the winter season. It’s windy and cold, and the tall buildings create wind tunnels that are difficult to walk through. Low temperatures range from 25 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the city often gets several inches of snow.

And while the winters are very cold, NYC also experiences very warm temperatures throughout the summer season. That heat and humidity can easily be trapped in the city's streets and grates, and the heat can feel worse when you get on board the subway. Fortunately, many of the region's subway cars feature air conditioning units.

The New York skyline seen from a train

Pro: Popular Public Transportation

When you think of New York City transportation, do you immediately picture those bright yellow cabs? How about the packed subway stations? Besides walking, public transportation is basically a way of life in NYC.

You can thank the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for all that accessibility. In fact, they’re responsible for a fleet of over 6,000 buses that run on a grid. And, the subway system of New York City is one of the largest in the country, with 665 miles of track, covering various areas of the city, such as Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island. And don’t forget about the city's ferry system. It can be a great way to get around the city or even just a fun addition to a family day out.

Con: A Very High NYC Cost of Living

How expensive is it to live in NYC? Well, living in a city that seems to have it all doesn’t come cheap. The Best Places Cost of Living Index shows that the cost of living in the city is much higher than other parts of the country. In fact, it costs nearly 73 percent more than the U.S. average. Factors that go into this cost of living include things like food, shelter, transportation, child care, taxes, and health care.

The average home price in NYC is around $734,300, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $4,425. 

When taking a look at other major cities near NYC, you will notice that many of them are much more affordable than the Big Apple. Take a look at these cost of living indexes:

Q: How do people afford to live in NYC?
Budgeting is key when adapting to the NYC lifestyle, as the cost of living is nearly 73 percent higher than the national average. One major way to cut costs is to find more affordable housing. When checking out all of NYC’s various boroughs, you can find plenty of great neighborhoods within Manhattan with costs of living much lower than the city average. Yorkville, for example, is one of the area’s cheapest places to live, with a cost of living index of 85.7.

A young couple walks out of a Broadway theater, smiling arm-in-arm

Pro: Endless Entertainment

In New York City, there is so much to see that it would be hard to get around to it all in one lifetime. From the Empire State Building to Ellis Island, Broadway to Brooklyn, the attractions and entertainment options are plentiful. And the best part? NYC is your one-stop-shop for all things trendy. New to the scene? Don’t get overwhelmed! Simply start with Times Square, and go where the city leads you!

Con: Crime

Is New York City safe? Better yet, how safe is New York City? Well, compared to other areas in the nation, New York is considered to be among the most unsafe places in the country. With 38 crimes per one thousand residents, there is a 1 in 26 chance that you will be a victim of either property crime or violent crimes. Data derived from the FBI shows that NYC has a crime rate that is 95% higher than the other towns and cities in the state of all sizes.

The good news? Crime is typically concentrated in certain areas. According to NeighborhoodScout, these are NYC’s top 5 safest neighborhoods:

  • Steinway
  • Roosevelt Island North
  • Stuyvesant Town North
  • Washington Heights Northwest
  • F D R Dr
Q: What are the weaknesses of New York City?
Unfortunately, crime is a weakness in the city. Likewise, getting into the New York City housing market is rather difficult, due to the lack of availability and high prices throughout the city. 

Pro: A World-Class Dining Scene

While NY-style pizza gets the shine around the country, make no mistake. New York is one of the food capitals of the world. Some of these include Michelin-starred establishments, sweet treats that are Instagram worthy, and Halal food carts that offer authentic falafel. Pro Tip: Discovering new neighborhoods is a great way to try different cuisines and explore the culture of the city. For instance, you can visit Little Italy in the Bronx or Manhattan's Chinatown.

Congested New York City streets

Con: Long Commute Times

The constant hustle and bustle of NYC means the city has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. In fact, it's estimated that drivers in the city experience close to 120 hours of traffic in a year alone. Think you can get somewhere quickly because it’s fairly close? Not so fast. The distance between Upper Manhattan and Brooklyn's Prospect Park, for example, is 14 miles, but it could take up to an hour or more to travel between the two by train or car. Adapting your trip with extra time can help you get around the city more efficiently and avoid potential delays.

Pro: Access to Nature

Public parks are essential in New York City, since most residents don't have private balconies or backyards. The five boroughs have various parks that are accessible to the public.

Central Park is the most popular park in New York City. Its various paths, picnic areas, and lawn are all ideal for relaxing. Other places to enjoy the outdoors include Brooklyn's Prospect Park and the Bronx's Van Cortlandt Park. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park is also located on Roosevelt Island.

And if you're looking for a break from the excitement of downtown Manhattan, you can find a beach not too far away. Make like The Ramones and hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach, for example. Or take a ride on the Wonder Wheel as you cruise the boardwalk in Brooklyn's Coney Island. And if you're in the northern part of the borough, enjoy the ocean breeze at the Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Before you head to the subway, just make sure to slather on the sunscreen!

Q: Is it worth it to live in NYC?
If big-city living replete with nonstop entertainment, a fabulous variety of shopping opportunities, a mix of arts and culture, etc., sounds appealing, then living in NYC is definitely worth it!

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Make the Move to NYC With PODS

Is it worth living in NYC? No matter where you decide to move, there are going to be drawbacks along with the advantages of living in a new environment. And while the cost of living and housing prices in NYC are much higher than cities nearby of similar sizes, the city still offers plenty of job opportunities to create a great career, fun things to do, a great cuisine, and a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors — among many other perks.

So when it comes to making that move to the Big Apple, PODS is here to help. PODS City Service, in particular, is designed for a busy metro move in NYC, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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