This past weekend brought the first signs of spring in NYC and was a reminder of the perks that make this crazy town a wonderful place to live. Neighborhood sidewalks came back to life and the parks filled. It also got me thinking about the pros and cons of life in New York, the city that I've called home for nearly 10 years.
I've had multiple out-of-towners ask me how I can live here, a question that usually comes up during whirlwind weekends visiting major tourist sights. While those spots are (mostly) worth seeing, they're also hectic and overwhelming and typically avoided by locals. I always recommend that visitors check out quainter neighborhoods and quieter spots around the city to get a sense for where locals actually live and to see the charms of living in NYC.
Nonetheless, this city is not for everyone. I like to quip that New York is dirty, crowded, noisy, and expensive - and if you can get over all of that you are going to LOVE it. People legitimately get caught up on any one (or multiple) of those pitfalls and find that New York wears them down. But if you can get past the challenges, this city is also inspiring and transporting. When you catch a view of the city literally glowing at sunset or you see the grandeur of the skyline any time of day, it can take your breath away. Whenever I'm flying into New York or approaching one of the bridges just outside the city, I'm awed by this place. The photo above, taken during golden hour and looking west over the Hudson River from Midtown, is really just the tip of the iceberg.
Convenience looks different in the city, especially when compared to a suburban lifestyle. Most of us don't drive to the grocery store and end up carrying groceries home (or splurging on delivery services) and share our commutes with strangers on a subway that can get very crowded. . Conversely, I don't have to get in my car to go to the pharmacy, get a great latte, visit a farmers' market, or head out to dinner at a stellar restaurant. I can try any type of cuisine that strikes my fancy, and can get almost anything delivered at any time of day. With spring on the horizon, I'm looking forward to outdoor brunches, exploring the city's parks and gardens, and checking out new neighborhoods.
The cast-iron facades along Broome Street in SoHo
The Manhattan bridge, with a peek of the Empire State Building behind, at dusk.
The edge of Chinatown
West Village street scene