The Pros and Cons of Living in New York City

Recently, I’ve had a request for a blog post on the pros and cons of living in New York. I’m always happy to respond to requests so here it goes, let’s start with the pros first!

A view from the top!

Pros for Living in New York City

  • There is SO much to do: It’s really hard to be bored in New York when there’s so many things going on every single day. You could go to a museum, a festival, bike around town, dance all the time and still be able to get a Ukrainian meal after. You’re not trapped on some college campus in the middle of nowhere, in fact your encouraged to leave campus and explore the city as whole.
  • Public Transportation: Coming from a small town, the accessibility in New York is crazy. I mean we have subways, buses, ferry’s and worst comes to worst – bike lanes. You can get anywhere even by walking! Yes we all say we hate the MTA, but the subway can get you everywhere from the beach at Rockaway to all the way to top of the Bronx where there are some lovely hiking trails (all for $2.25). If I ever move away from New York I think this is what I would miss the most, the access to everything and anything at any time.
  • Safety: A lot of people think New York is this great big city, which it kind of is, but ultimately it’s actually this really small place. Just yesterday I randomly ran into a friend from Parsons on the subway platform! Also its true that this is a city that never sleeps, because most people are out until 3 A.M. I’ve never once felt scared walking home from the computer lab at 4 in the morning –usually there are people around, cops out and students walking home as well. I actually feel safer here than I do at home because so many people are actually out and about at all hours.
  • The Job Access: Going to school at The New School isn’t really going to ‘college’ – it’s more like going to classes sometimes and working on the side. We are much more career oriented than other universities I know, and this work ethic comes from living in New York City. Major companies, cool organizations,  and unique jobs are all in New York City and looking for you. The job access is incredible and the internships are equally stellar. All you have to do is apply yourself and you have a good chance of doing whatever you want, which many cities don’t have the good fortune of having.

Cons of Living in New York City

  • It’s Overwhelming: With so many things to do, with so many people and with little space, sometimes the city can become frustrating. You do burn out and vacations are needed or just a day off to lounge around. A need to have a ‘normal’ day is what I sometimes crave, just a T.V watching/book reading day so I can do absolutely nothing. I’m from near by in Philly so whenever I get this urge I just escape and go home. But you can get out of town pretty easy, once again go to the beach or upstate for a day- it’s quite refreshing. I must say my summer day trips for 2012 is, of course, Coney Island and Rockaway Beach, can’t resist!
  • School in New York City isn’t College: Sometimes I wonder if I missed four years of college by going to school in New York City. The New School is so unconventional that sometimes I wonder if I’m missing something by not going to the homecoming football game, eating in a cafeteria or fooling around in a quad? I think what if I’ve missed four years of my youth because it’s what deemed normal by popular culture. But I don’t have the answer to this question. It’s all speculation as I’ve come to realize over my four years.
  • It’s Expensive: When you pay 2.19 for a small bottle of Coke at Duane Read, you know its New York City. The high cost is a big bummer, but it will keep you from going out too much; which I guess is good for your studies. But just keep yourself in line; meaning don’t go out to eat all the time, walk instead of riding the subway and reuse items. My parents call me frugal, but I have found a way that I could possibly live off of 50 dollars a week in New York- you just need to figure out your essential items and then you’re golden!
  • The ‘New Yorker’s: People are a real hit and a miss in New York. Some times you find the nicest people in the world (like the people on the street who helped me catch all my art work in the wind on Astor Place the other day) or you just deal with the snottiest people you’ve ever met. It’s a real toss. Also New York attracts weirdos, like a man bicycling around in a Batman suit.  Most mean well yet sometimes you’re a little wary of a man completely decked out in sparkles at one in the afternoon. However I’ve found as long as you’re polite, New Yorkers won’t be a hassle and who knows eventually you may even be one!

About Katie

Hi there y'all! My name is Katie and I am an Admissions Counselor here at Parsons. I am a recent graduate of Parsons, I majored in illustration and I am currently getting my Associates degree in Graphic Design. When I'm not at Parsons, I am a avid baseball watcher, park sitter, book lover and an aspiring hoarder.


  1. I attended Parsons in the late 70’s. Perhaps growing up in NY (suburbs) was an advantage for me. I remember the absolute thrill of being in the most exciting City in the world. There are no downsides to having the opportunity to study at Parsons in NYC!

  2. Dagny

    Hey Katie! I’m Dagny, a high school junior from Tennessee with a huge goal of hopefully one day going to Parsons! I believe I toured with you (possibly) last fall and I was just wondering if you had any advice on what to do to prepare to apply to such a selective art school? My school’s art program is….not the strongest…. so any suggestions on what to do in addition would be great!

    • Katie

      Hey Dagny!
      Thanks for reading and well touring with me! And you inspired me to write a whole new blog post about applying to art school. So stay tuned and the post should be up monday about how to prepare!
      Best of luck with your applications, hopefully it will all go well!
      – Katie

  3. Emile

    I think NY is the best city in the world , and i’m actually looking forward to move there after i graduate , to take the diploms , i live in europe now and i can’t wait to fianlly see it and go crazy there . I hope i will adjust with it quickly and make friends there too LOVE YOU NYC !!!!!!

  4. MS I.

    Hi! I’ve read yor post with a lot of pleasure. I teach 10th grade students in Mayotte ,a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean. My students have no idea what living in NYC means and if you could just post a message encouraging students from Younoussa Bamana to come and experience life there , that would be great! I’d show them your message (most of them do not have access to the internet!)
    Thanks for helping !

  5. Julian

    Hi Katie! Brilliant article! I’m going to move to NY to live with my friend as soon as i save up enough money, reading this got me pumped up! I was wondering if its not too much trouble, could you go into a little bit more detail on how you were able to live off of $50 a week in nyc? I figured that if i saved up 5k it should be enough to pay for all my food and transportation for a whole year which should give me enough time to find a job, (i’m also counting for that 5 k to provide an extra $100 per month incase crap happens haha.) Any advice on how to live frugal in the big apple?

  6. Katie

    Hi there Tanner,

    Thanks for the great comment!

    Take a look through our archive of posts to find tips on neighborhoods of New York and even how to set up your first New York City apartment. You’ll find some great tips just by reading some of our past blogs!

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