10 Reasons Why I Love Living In New York
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New York. Alicia Keys described it in her epic song as concrete jungle where dreams are made of, and I can’t agree more.
I grew up in Israel and lived there all my life but I have always had a dream to live abroad and see how life would be in a new country. As a traveler, my passion is exploring new cultures and seeing how people live in other places. Thus, moving to another country and experiencing that on my own was a step I had to make.
When the opportunity to move to New York came up, I couldn’t say no. We packed our stuff, our dog, and ourselves, got on a plane, and landed in the big apple. Excited and overwhelmed, we started our new life here. It’s been five years that I am living in New York, and I love every moment.
I have to admit that not every day is easy and there are also reasons for not living in such a big city like New York. The monthly rent I pay for my apartment and the real estate prices, in general, are extremely high. I tend to spend more than I would if I had lived in a place without so many temptations. However, for me, the pros exceed the cons, and this is what I am going to explain. Here are my ten reasons for why I love living in New York:
New York is probably the most famous city in the world. Millions of people come here from all corners of the globe to visit and experience it. The Landmarks of the city are easily recognized, even by kids, as they appear in so many movies, tv shows, songs, and images.
Take The Statue of Liberty for example. Its origins are from Paris, France, however it is a very well known symbol not only of New York but also of the American dream. In my first job in the city, I was able to see the Statue of Liberty out of my office window. Ain’t that amazing?
Living in New York and walking in its streets allows me to see these amazing landmarks all the time. Even if some are purely for tourists and local New Yorkers try to avoid them, like Times Square, it is extremely exciting having them around the corner. They add a unique charm to everyday activities, like going to work, shopping, hanging out on the weekends, and others.
Living In New York Is Like Living In A Movie Scene
Not just the landmarks of New York are well-known from movies and TV shows. The streets and avenues, yellow cabs, the fire escape ladders outside of the buildings, Central Park and other city parks – you probably have seen them in one movie or another.
Thousands of movies and shows were shot in the streets of New York City throughout the years. We all have some kind of a picture of New York in our heads, even if we are not aware of that. It makes every building in the West Village looks like the one from Friends, and every skyscraper in Downtown looks like the office of Harvey from Suits.
Since I moved to New York, I saw at least a dozen of film sets in the streets I was walking on. I was able to catch sight of some famous or semi-famous actors and celebs on the streets, and I can easily say that living in New York is like living in a movie scene.
The Glamour of Broadway Shows
Broadway is what every theater wants to be. It is glamour, drama, music, lights, and colors – all on one stage. Honestly, I haven’t seen so many Broadway shows and I wish they weren’t so expensive so I could see more. However, every show that I did see was an amazing experience.
Back in Israel, I used to go to the theater once every month or two, and I loved it, but there’s something different when it’s Broadway. The excitement begins with the purchase of the ticket. While there’s no need to over-dress, entering the theater halls, with their classy and royalty design, makes me feel fancy. Then, after I find my seat I have my food and drinks routine, which is part of the experience. Hopefully, the drinks are served in the show’s branded cups, plus pretzels and chips, and I am all set.
When the lights go down and the show starts, I am drawn into a different world, connecting with the characters and their story for the next two hours. After the show ends and everybody’s making their way out, I always ask myself the same two questions: What happens to the characters next? and How would my life look like if I was an actor on Broadway? For both, there’s never an answer.
My favorite Broadway shows so far are “The Book of Mormons” and “Wicked”. If you are coming to New York from far for a short vacation, book your tickets in advance. If you have a flexible time in the city and you want some tips on how to get cheaper tickets, write to me in the comments below.
The Diversity Of People and Cultures
My home country, Israel, is a country of immigrants from many parts of the world. However, only when I moved to New York, I realized the true meaning of diversity, and how wide it can be.
New York is like a microcosmos of the world. I don’t know if I am exaggerating to say that there’s probably at least one person from every country here in the city. From Latin Americans and the Caribbean to Europeans, Africans, and Asians, even from countries that you might not even heard of.
You walk in the streets and hear multiple languages. In your workplace, you get to speak to and be friends with people whose roots are from so many different parts of the world. You can visit neighborhoods with unique characteristics that make you feel like you are traveling to a different country.
Living in a city like New York with such diversity is one of the best things I could wish for myself. I have learned to acknowledge cultural difference, so much more than before. Conversing with people from different origins, even if it’s just small talk with a cab driver, is something I would probably not have done at that level anywhere else. I understand the true meaning of respecting others, regardless of their skin color, the language they speak, their sexuality, and the clothes they wear. This is how we make the world a better place.
The culinary scene in New York is one of the best in the world, but I’ll start with a confession – at first, I thought it’s not that big of a deal. It took me a while to learn why that statement is true.
Yes, there are Michelin starred restaurants and world-famous chefs who introduce the special inventions from their kitchens here in New York. But that’s not what makes the city so special for me. When I think about the culinary uniqueness of New York, I take into consideration the fact that you can find here EVERYTHING. I mean EVERY kind of food you can think of, is probably available in New York.
You can find the most sophisticated dishes in 5 stars restaurants or the basic yet delicious plates in low-cost food stands. Street food and worldwide cuisines mix together in amazing food markets, grocery stores, and delis. New York City is heaven for steak lovers, sea-food explorers, vegetarians, vegans, paleo, kosher, halal, and what’s not.
The best thing is that after five years in the city, I still discover new places, new cuisines, and new dishes, and I love it!
If there’s something that local New Yorkers like to do when the sun comes out and the days are warmer, is to sit in one of the many parks of the city. Since beaches are not easily reachable for people who live in the city, the parks are the perfect alternative.
Central Park, the biggest of them all, gets super packed in the hot days of summer. Coming here to hang out on the grass or having a picnic with friends are some of my favorite summer activities. You can also see locals celebrating birthdays or exercising, while tourists come to enjoy the parks’ trails and statues. Who wouldn’t want to take a relaxing break from the busy streets of the city?
But not only in summer. Bryant Park behind the library, on 40th street, is a great example of a transformation a park can have from summer to winter. In the summer, people come here for Yoga classes, watch movies or watch Broadway actors performing for free. In the winter, a huge ice rink is built on the grass and the winter-village comes to life with a fun holiday market, which I enjoy visiting every year.
Every Park has its own vibes and attracts different people. A walk in the park, any of them, is one of my favorite things to do in New York. It’s a great way to see the people of the city, that are not always in a rush, like often seen on TV.
Living in New York Is Never Boring With Endless Activities
It doesn’t matter if it’s a freezing winter or even snowing, or if it’s summer and the humidity kills you – It never gets boring in New York.
Activities In The Winter
I arrived to live in New York in wintertime. The excitement from being in the big apple didn’t let me stay home too much, so with a new warm coat and second pair of socks, I was out to explore.
The holiday market in Bryant Park is colorful, cheerful, and so inviting (did I mention it’s my favorite?). Watching the decorated houses for Christmas in Dyker Heights is a must-do at least once. The ice rinks that pop up in the parks and Rockefeller Center are magical. And for someone who grew up in a city that has no snow, seeing Central Park all white after the snow for the first time is a one of a kind experience.
Activities in The Spring and Summer
When it gets warmer outside, more things open up and new attractions become available. I usually say that this is when the city comes to life, though it doesn’t mean it was dead before, it’s just the spring festivity that fills the air.
The cherry blossom in the Brooklyn botanical gardens is a marvelous sight in the spring. Watching a free Shakespeare In The Park in Central Park is a fun summer experience. The Smorgasburg food market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is one of my favorites and I visit it a few times every year. Grabbing a drink in one of the rooftop bars is an amazing way to spend the evening while watching the city skyline from above.
The parks are amazing to spend time in, and a brunch picnic on a sunny Saturday is a great way to start the weekend. Finding a shaded spot under the trees, and laying on the grass after a good meal is the best getaway within the city.
The Fall season has its own uniqueness, which I learned to appreciate only recently. The city puts on a costume, preparing for Halloween and then for Thanksgiving, while it is covered with beautiful fall colors all around.
Pumpkins and skeletons decorate almost every house, and a walk in the streets of Greenwich Village or Upper West Side is like walking in a theme park, just without the rollercoasters. The Halloween parade is the highlight of the festivals, as everyone’s outside with their crazy costumes – kids to adults, they all have fun. The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving parade comes about a month after and the city again feels festive and fun.
The Crazy Nightlife
When the night comes to New York, the city reveals a new layer of itself. Even after a long day at work, or exploring the city on a weekend, the temptations of the city’s nightlife are too strong to refuse. Luckily, living in New York City allows me to experience many of those.
From small bars to mega clubs, everything is available in New York, and every person can find what they like. Sport bars, Irish pubs, Rooftop bars, speakeasies, wine cellars, gay bars, Jazz clubs, piano bars, live music – and more. Some neighborhoods are popular for different audiences, such as Greenwich Village for students (close to NYU), Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn for hipsters, Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea for the gay community, etc. Whatever hat I put on, I can enjoy it.
The clubs of the city host world-famous DJs and the parties provide nights to remember. The Avant Gardner and House Of Yes (both in Brooklyn) are already part of the city’s must-visit places. Tao Downtown and the Marquee are two of the best clubs in Chelsea, Manhattan.
Some nights in New York ended when the sun was already rising, and others were short and I was home by midnight. I have probably been to less than 10% of the bars and clubs of the city, but I know that whatever mood I am in, I can find the best environment to spend the night. That’s the fun thing about living in New York, and the opportunities never end.
Discovering New York’s Museums
With more than 80 museums in the city, a long time is needed to visit them all. That’s why living in New York is great for discovering more of them with no rush. I enjoy exploring museums’ halls. I enjoy educating myself on things that are within my areas of interest while also learning new things, and New York offers a wide range of options.
Here, I can see works of art made by the most famous artists in the world, or enjoy exhibitions of recently graduated young artists. Only in New York, I learned about the history of our world and humanity, and the life of Native Americans, and the immigrants who came to America, and the Holocaust – all in one city. The big museums also offer temporary exhibits, so visiting them more than once doesn’t feel like seeing the same things.
The city encourages people to visit the museums and some of them offer free entrance on specific days and hours. I experienced that once, at the MoMa, though I can’t say it was the best experience. The museum was packed with people who wanted to take the opportunity and save money, just like me. However, it was great to see how this initiative attracted so many people to come and enjoy what the museum has to offer.
The first museums I visited as soon as I moved to the city were the Met and the National History Museum. From my list of the best museums in New York, these are my top two recommendations for every person – a local or a visitor.
New York is Inspiration
There’s something about New York City that never ceases to inspire me. The USA is called the land of unlimited possibilities, and for me, New York is where this sentence becomes a reality. After all, I share this city with some of the richest and most successful people in our world. When I walk in the streets and look up at the skyscrapers, or at the beautiful skyline from far (my rooftop in Brooklyn has a fantastic view), I think about the people who had a dream and made it true. That’s what it’s all about!
What I love about New York is that it has a place for everyone to dream big. Suit and tie lawyers and free spirit artists, investment bankers, or social media influencers – they are all here. When you ride the subway, the person next to you might be a millionaire businessman or a famous Hollywood actor. On the other hand, it can be a student on his way to school, who hasn’t even started paying his student loan but already dreams big about his new startup.
Yes, it is true that living in New York also has its price. The city is one of the most expensive in the world, and it’s not easy to just come here and start from scratch. I was lucky to have the opportunity to do it, and I am grateful.
New York shows me that my ambitions and hard work can pay. My goal is not necessarily to live in the tallest residential building near Central Park, however seeing this building touches the clouds tells me that the sky is my only limit, and it’s my task to get there. New York is just here to help me.
I love New York and I love living in New York. I don’t think this place is perfect. Actually, it’s far from being perfect. However, living in such a big city has taught me a lot about myself and about who and what I want to be. In these five years that I have been living in New York, I got so many insights about life, people, cultures, friendships, and family. In some cases, I learned more in these five years than I had throughout my life before. New York was one dream that came true, and it allows me to keep on dreaming. Now it’s up to me to make the rest of them come true.
Thank you so much for reading all the way.
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If you are planning to visit many of the sites and attractions of New York, you should consider getting the New York Pass. It allows cash-free entry to 100+ iconic attractions, including most of the museums on this list, for up to 10 days. In some places, it gives skip-the-line privileges, and it’s easy to use from your mobile device.