At a recent conference, I was asked numerous questions about living in New York City. One question that always get asked is
1. You don’t need a car – Every destination in the five boroughs can be reached by subway, taxi or town car. Imagine, I spend a $225 month for the subway versus tri-state commuting suburbanites who spend $800+ in gas, insurance and car payments. If you really need to head out to IKEA, a day trip or just a few hours to run some errands, zipcar.com was designed expressly for city dwellers.
2. Everything you need is within a 20-block radius – Every New Yorkers is 5-15 minutes from a supermarket, drugstores, banks and most major big box retailers. Personally, I can easily walk to my daughter’s school, doctor, pediatrician, dentist, supermarket, drugstore, bookstore, and ice cream store without breaking a sweat.
3. Delivery Service – Again who needs a car, when all the supermarkets, Bed Bath and Beyond, IKEA and other big box stores deliver directly to your door.
4. Museums – My daughter and I go to a museum at least once a month. My daughter has been visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art since she was four. I did not go to the Met or Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) until I was 25. My daughter can identify Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse and Edgar Degas. I had never heard of those artists until I went to Europe during college.
5.Parks and Playgrounds – Suburbanites have their backyard but I am within 10 blocks of 3 playgrounds and odds are we run into one of my daughter’s friends. Playdate issue, solved.
6. Built –in Maintenance Help – I am lucky enough to live in a full-service building. That means, there is a doorman here to accept all my packages. Best of all, when something goes awry in my apartment, I can just put in a service request and it will be taken care of. Last month, my daughter and her friends stuck a pencil in the toilet. No need to call a plumber. Just ask and a maintenance person will come up and take apart the toilet to find the offending item. Over the years, they have replaced a bathroom doorknob, installed a smoke alarm, unclogged my sinks and installed a dishwasher.
7. No yard to mow, shrubs to trim …. I spent a good part of my youth mowing lawns and weeding. Those days are gone.
8. Celebrity Sightings – I love New York for the number of celebrities who walk amongst us. Over the years, I have seen Lauren Hutton, Susan Sarandon, Jon Stewart (at the Central Park Zoo), Bruce Springteen, Tim Robbins (riding his bicycle up 6th Avenue), Anna Wintour, Jon Steward and Christy Turlington. And if you go to certain downtown parks, odds are you will run into at least one celebrity with their child. My lovely daughter had the pleasant experience of playing at the park with Sarah Jessica Parker’s son when she was three. (Yes, she was nice and said my daughter was cute, alas no playdates were had, darn!)
9. Diversity – For better or worse, I like the diversity of the city. Sure, having to explain why some guy is dressed in women’s clothes and some wacko is walking around with a parrot on his head but it’s reality and it always makes for an interesting conversation. All these characters provides color to my daughter’s life she will not experience anywhere else.
10. Community – I feel that there truly is a community of single moms (single moms who adopt and older single moms, to boot) in the city so much so that I don’t feel out of place and most of all neither does my daughter. Her well-being and self-esteem is so important to me. Being able to see other children with single moms or have two mommies or two daddies shows her she is not different and that are many ways to make a family.
11. Restaurants – New York City has some of the best restaurants in the world across every cuisine type. This means my daughter gets an opportunity to experiment with food at an early age. But don’t worry, her afternoon snack maybe hummus and crackers but she is a big fan of the usual kid fare of pizza, burgers and chicken fingers.
12. The Best Toy Stores in the World – FAO Schwarz and ToysRUs Times Square fulfills every little kid’s (and adult) toy store dream. FAO Schwarz with it’s life size piano (from the movie Big) to the largest stuffed animals you will ever see to the toy soldier doorman makes every trip special. And ToysRUs Times Square with it’s indoor ferris wheel and life size dinosaur is worth going to Times Square just to see.