12 Reasons To Live In New York City Even with Kids

New York Downtown Skyline (photo credit:nycsinglemom.com)

New York Downtown Skyline

At a recent conference, I was asked numerous questions about living in New York City.  One question that always get asked is

“Have you thought about moving to suburbs?”
And I always say, “Yes I have thought about it but I prefer living in New York City.” 
And why!! Because I think that New York City is an incredible place to live AND  raise a child.
Clearly, I am not completely delusional so I will acknowledge the obvious downsides to New York City.
Yes, it’s crowded, it’s competitive, it’s expensive and unless you are a gazillionaire or lucky to be living in a rent-stabilized apartment, you will live a small- sized apartment.
Sure, I would like to have a two bedroom apartment but unless I win the lottery, I don’t think upgrading is in our future.
But the advantages and benefits of living in New York City outweigh the above drawbacks.
Here are 12 Reasons why New York City is a most excellent place (yes, a reference to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) to live and bring up a child.


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.

Red Rooster Harlem (photo credit: nycsinglemom.com)

Red Rooster Harlem

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.

FAO Schwarz Toy Soldier Doorman - (photo:nycsinglemom.com)

FAO Schwarz Toy Soldier Doorman

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. 

For you suburbanites, don’t get me wrong and don’t be offended. I still love the suburbs, I grew up there and love being there when I visit family and sometimes, I even it miss it but I just can’t see myself living there at this juncture of my life.
Now, if I was married….. Nah, just kidding
Living and Thriving in New York City as a Single Mom.  That’s me.


  1. I like to add one more to your list. “No car that you need to warm up on a cold winter’s morning.” Growing up in the midwest, I hated having to scrap ice off the windshield.

    And above all: life is damn interesting here! Let’s face it’s an amazing place to live. Plain and simple.

  2. Kelly Burroughs Crowell says:

    I’ve always lived here in Michigan and I must admit you have some AWESOME pro’s for living in NYC!! I think it sounds like an amazing place not only to live but also to raise a child. I think this article should be read by anyone who is hesitant about making the move especially people who either have children or have them in their future plans.

  3. I was thinking of living in NY. It sounds amazing. :)

  4. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much for this article…. My husband is a New Yorker born and raised and wants to move back with the kids, I am a Midwest girl from a tiny town. The move is kind of freaking me out. I have been to New York many times and love it but I enjoy coming home. You have put me at ease a bit. I am still concerened as to whether we can afford it though.. we shall see I guess :)

  5. I realize you wrote this post a few years ago but I’m so thankful to have found it! I have long worked for AOL/Huffington Post from the ‘burbs north of Seattle, WA. I also have a six-year-old son. I’m in a position where it would be in my best interest to move to NYC for my job but I’ve been so hesitant in taking my little guy from a small, idyllic Pacific NW island (w/garden and chickens, etc.) to the NYC hustle and bustle. We view life as an adventure but I’m just not sure. My parent friends there tell me it’s just the best place ever to raise a child — and I do see many of the pro’s. I’ll definitely keep reading this site as I work through my decision making.

    • NYCSingleMom says:

      Thanks for your comment. It will be a change but there is so much to do here. And it is such an adventure that will be a memorable experience for your son.

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