New York, New York. From the bustling diversity of Queens to the “suburbia” of Staten Island, this city is a cosmopolitan whirlwind of color and culture. It’s been known as the City that Never Sleeps, the Melting Pot, and the Capital of Finance, of Culture, of Technology, and of the World (despite not being a capital city at all!) While it can seem overwhelming, everyone and anyone should be able to find their place when moving to this global city.
New York City is the most populated (and most densely populated) major city in the U.S. It consists of 5 boroughs (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island), each with their own personality. However, when you’re looking for places to move, look less at the borough and more at the neighborhoods. Yes, it’s generalized that Manhattan has the highest living costs, and Staten Island is more suburban than the others, but the real personalities show within the best neighborhoods. If your family is looking to move, there are plenty of family-friendly neighborhoods in each borough. And while Manhattan has higher costs, if you work there it could save substantial amounts of time and money for your commute. If you’re living alone and don’t need to be home as often, make sure you’re looking more at the up-and-coming neighborhoods than the actual apartments- you’re bound to spend more time in the area around your home than anywhere else, so make it count.
So what will you do with all that time outside the home? There’s no shortage of places to visit in NYC. The Bronx has a great zoo and botanical garden for family fun, and Brooklyn is filled with museums and art. You’ll find amazing food anywhere you go, but your widest variety will be found in Queens, as 48% of its population is foreign-born, and each brings their culture’s phenomenal cuisine. Manhattan (being the most well-known borough) is full of tourism and has plenty of activities for both the young professional and the growing family. But once you’ve exhausted your tourist destinations, there are plenty of alternatives that’ll really make you feel like a local.
While the city is just about as urban as you can imagine, it’s remarkably easy to find parks, trails, and other outdoor spots- some close the heart of the city, some just a short commute on the subway. Once you’ve experienced the beauty of Central Park, the next step may be enjoying Sunset Park. Lesser known, it’s the highest point in South Brooklyn Park and offers a beautiful view of the skyline- perfect for family outings, romantic strolls, or enjoying some quiet time with a book. Another option is Fort Tryon Park, a smaller, but still gorgeous outdoor area to roam around. Nested in Fort Tryon is “The Cloisters” which is a castle that contains historic artifacts and art. These are just a few of the free outdoor activities- find your own favorite place by exploring the different areas of the city. There’s guaranteed to be something you love close to home.
So, while New York, New York is filled with opportunity for adventure and exploration, it’s also a great place for a family to settle down. There are about 1,700 public schools in the city, in addition to charter and private schooling options. The New York City Department of Education is the largest school district in the U.S., serving 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools. One of the best school districts in the area is Jericho Union Free School District. If you’re looking for a different (yet budget-friendly) option, there are over 200 charter schools to choose from as well. These do not have a tuition and often have great specialty programs. Lastly, private schools are also great alternatives as NYC has some of the best independent schools in the nation. Many families may choose to live in less-expensive areas to save for tuition, though there are often a multitude of scholarship opportunities available.
Moving to NYC can be overwhelming with new sights, sounds, and information being thrown at you every which way, so here are a few tips to help you get started in the city. If you aren’t sure where you want to live, but are eager to start your life in NYC, look for the best temporary housing or sign short-term leases. If you don’t need to settle down right away, this is a great way to figure out what kind of neighborhood fits your lifestyle the best (and it helps avoid being stuck in a less-than-stellar studio apartment). Another tip: try not to sign a lease if you haven’t seen the place in person. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. And when you’re looking for new places, be prepared to make an offer. Good deals and living spaces go fast, so what’s available one day may not be available the next. Lastly, understand that it’s not just New York’s high cost of living that’s going to put pressure on your wallet. The city, with all its activities and attractions, has a high-spending culture.
By living in NYC, you’ll get a blend of urban bustle and outdoor exploration. You’ll experience culture like you’ve never seen, and people from all walks of life. You can move around during your first few years, or settle in a great neighborhood with hundreds of quality schools to choose from. Wherever you come from, you’ll find hundreds of other people who share your values, desires, and love for this crazy place you’ll call home, New York City.