10 Advantages of living in a big city
December 19, 2022 9:00 AM EST | 7 min read
Are you thinking about living in a big city?
I was living in a small town, thinking about moving back to New York City.
Family and friends kept telling me I would be insane to do that.
One day, my psychiatrist said, “where we prefer to live is not a psychological problem; it’s merely a preference.”
Here are some advantages that I could share about living in a big city:
- public transportation
- medical facilities
- sights and amenities
Advantages of Living in a Big City
1. Mass Transit
Sold my car!
If I need one for a weekend, I can rent it just three blocks from my apartment.
It’s easy to get around when living in a big city.
Subways, buses, taxis, Uber, the Long Island Railroad, and the Staten Island Ferry.
Tourists, as well as residents, also have the luxury of using CitiBikes.
They are easy to find, and you can rent one parked near the Hudson River.
Cycle across town to the East River, park it, and leave it there.
You can rent another one anywhere you need it.
When you’re feeling adventurous, you don’t even need a passport to travel.
Brighton Beach in Brooklyn is known as “Little Odessa,” like your little Russia in New York City!
56 million people from all over the world visited here in 2014.
You can go an entire day without hearing a word of English—unless you want to.
The largest Chinese population in the world (outside of Asia) is in New York City.
And one out of every 38 people in the United States lives here!
NYC is a great place to visit—even briefly!
Recently, two friends from Albuquerque had a layover in the city on their way to Barbados.
We went to the roof of my building to enjoy the view.
They photographed the entire city from every angle and got their bearings before they hit the streets.
A couple of months before that, a friend and freelance writer visited from Santa Fe.
He arrived with a major sinus infection.
Had to cancel all of his plans.
He was well taken care of at the corner Urgent Care Center and left loving the city.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw, two musician friends, had a layover on their way to Germany to play with the Berlin Philharmonic.
They liked it so much that they stopped again on their way home!
4. Kindness of Strangers
I tripped on a little rubber mat that someone had washed and left on the sidewalk in front of a day spa near 86th Street and Columbus Avenue.
Landed flat on my face.
Two young girls rushed over to help me.
When they were sure it did not hurt me, off they went.
5. Medical Services
When I got home after the little accident mentioned above, I looked in the mirror and saw that I badly chipped my front tooth.
I called a friend.
He called his dentist.
I got an emergency appointment.
It was rush hour.
I had to make a mad dash to 40th Street on the east side.
I walked half a block to the subway entrance, changed to the shuttle at Times Square, got off at Grand Central, walked a couple of blocks, and soon sat in the dental office in less than 15 minutes.
As a bonus—for those who need it—there’s a Twelve-Step Meeting somewhere in the city 24-7, and always within walking distance of wherever you live.
6. The Sights
A very short list of the best sights to see when living in a big city like NYC:
- Central Park (larger than the municipality of Monaco!)
- Statue of Liberty
- Ellis Island
- The High Line
- Atlantic Ocean Coastline (which is longer than the Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco coastlines combined).
Walking here is like walking nowhere else.
Wander through Central Park at 85th Street, west to east, or vice versa.
On the east side, you’ll end up at The Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue.
If you walk downtown a bit, you’re in the heart of the greatest shopping area on Earth.
On the west side, you’ll find yourself at Central Park West.
Then it’s a short walk downtown to Lincoln Center, home of the Metropolitan Opera, several theatres, The New York Ballet, The Philharmonic, film festivals, outdoor entertainment, and even a farmer’s market.
Continue walking, and you’re in the theatre district in a few minutes.
You can also hail a taxi if you get tired from all that exercise!
7. Baby and Kid-Friendly (pet-friendly, too!)
My granddaughter and two-and-a-half-year-old great-granddaughter live on Long Island.
They visit whenever they can: a weekend here, a weekend there.
We rarely leave the Upper West Side (the neighborhood) because all the restaurants and shops are family-oriented and child-friendly.
If you think you can’t have a dog because you live in a city or travel too much: you can!
Foster one, walk somebody else’s, or just admire the city dogs that—despite being rescues, mostly—prance on their leashes like they’re competing in the Westminster Dog Show.
8. Museums and Galleries
The Metropolitan Museum bought the old Whitney because the new Whitney Museum opened this past autumn down in the meatpacking district.
When living in a big city you can go to things like this all the time!
Here is a very short list of local museums you should visit at least once:
- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA);
- Solomon R. Guggenheim;
- Rubin Museum of Asian Art;
- Museum of Natural History;
- Historical Society;
- Audubon Society;
- Neue Galerie;
- American Folk Art Museum;
- Pierpont Morgan Museum
Living in a big city makes every kind of food you’ve ever wanted or thought about available to you.
The Board of Health rates each restaurant.
If it has an “A” rating, you will see the sign in the window easily (“B” rating signs might be a little harder to spot).
But you can rest assured that the restaurant is worth trying if it’s “A” rated.
The city is very strict – which is great for all of us.
One of my favorite restaurants is on the second floor of a produce market, the Fairway on Broadway, in the ’70s on the west side.
They serve delicious meals at reasonable prices.
Believe it or not, there are still ways to eat inexpensively in NYC.
There are food carts—good ones.
Pizza parlors—great ones.
You can buy an incredible sandwich at any corner deli, sit in Central Park or Riverside Park, and enjoy a picnic.
Plus, every establishment delivers restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, and even pet shops!
Even Insomniac Cookies delivers into the wee hours of the morning.
Theatre, theatre, and more theatre: uptown, downtown, off-Broadway, Broadway.
All the best shows come to big cities, so when living in a big city, you don’t have to travel to see a show.
“Hamilton” is the hot ticket right now. That cast recently played the White House.
Last week, I saw Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan at a theatre on 42nd Street (for $25).
I had seen it when it first opened many years ago.
Thanks to my decision, I could see it again – this time with a new perspective!
Living in a big city is an education in itself.
I’m learning about life and how to live independently after many years.
Whatever mood I’m in, if I take a walk and people-watch, I’m happy again.
I feel less alone in NYC than anywhere else in the world.
In the comment section below, tell us what you love about where you live.