The sacrifices we make living in New York — and why they’re worth it

By Former Agent

The ongoing hustle and bustle, combined with the fact that we’re all living on top of each other, can sometimes make us ask ourselves, “is living in New York City worth it?” I ask myself this all the time, and even when I have to think about it, my answer is always “absolutely.”

City living isn’t for everyone, and for good reason. There are many suburban comforts we don’t have as New Yorkers, and not everyone can live without them. In New York, the perfect living situation could exist, but it may be way out of our price range, or far away from our friends or our jobs. When you have a list of ideals, and seemingly nothing checks all boxes, sacrifices must be made. None of this is to say you can’t have it all, or get damn near close, but wiggle room is often a necessity. These are all things you sometimes think you're giving up living in New York, and why you may find that you never needed them in the first place.

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Land. With Spring approaching, we’re all getting a bit antsy in our apartments and are feeling the urge to get outside. Outdoor space isn’t impossible to come by in Brooklyn, especially when shared with your neighbors, but it’s not a given and it’s definitely not a necessity. Where I’m from originally, warm weather means hanging out on the front porch with friends. In New York, this type of gathering takes place on the roof, where the city view can usually make you forget grass, and neighbors make great company. If nature is what you seek, it’s a good thing that NYC is home to some of the greatest parks in the world, with enough activity to keep you entertained until next winter. Community gardens are also a great way to nurture your green thumb and meet people. My preferred source of fresh air and sunshine is a bar patio with friends.

Solitude. Growing up, I never imagined having roommates into my late 20s. But at this point in my life, I can’t imagine not having them around. Ideally, we’d all be living in large one-bedroom apartments, but it’s not realistic for most of us. Sharing rent and bills takes away a massive amount of pressure when living in an expensive city. For many New Yorkers, roommates aren’t just a financial choice, because managing a busy life here can truly take a village. Switching off on household errands, chores, maintenance is a time saver and having someone to depend on at home is great. My first random roommates in New York became my best friends, and my current roommate is definitely more of a domestic partnership than a monthly exchange of rent. If you’re considering moving in with people, Nooklyn can certainly help you out in the roommate department.

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Convenience. I’ve found that the longer I live in New York, my definition of “convenient” changes more and more. You may not have laundry machines in your building, and that may be a big adjustment at first. However, you’ll quickly realize that there are laundromats every few blocks, and most offer wash and fold services, making it super easy to drop off and pick up your laundry during your commute. Minor inconveniences become part of everyday routine, but the reality is that the added conveniences are infinite. It’s not everywhere that you can run to your corner and back for almost anything you need. And it’s definitely not everywhere where you can hop on a train and easily get to any type of restaurant, museum or event that you can dream of. On any given day in New York City you can take in any experience that you choose, and it really doesn’t get more convenient than that.

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Space. It’s a running joke throughout the rest of the country that all of our apartments are closets, and it isn’t off base. In fact, sometimes our apartments are our closets, because actual closets aren’t always a given. The secret is utilizing your space and making it work for you. Space is possibly the biggest sacrifice that we make living in New York, because this city has to fit a lot of people, and that’s what makes it so great. What we lack in living space is more than made up for in communal space that all of our inhabitants share. There are so many places to explore and experiences to be had that aren’t in your living room.

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Photo Credits: 1) Daniel Haire, Nooklyn 2) Courtesy of NYCGO 3) Metro USA 4) Photo by Nicholas Doyle and Showroom by Jordan Ringdahl