You Want To Find A Cheap Alternative To New York City?

image - Flickr / Roman Iakoubtchik
image – Flickr / Roman Iakoubtchik

Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: Where would you live if you wanted the culture of NYC, but not the pollution, high cost of living and crime? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.


I really don’t want to be argumentative about this, but

  1. Among the 182 U.S. cities with populations of more than 100,000, New York City ranked 136th in overall crime.
  2. While the concentration of people and activities does result in more pollution than living out in the middle of the Great Plains, the 2009 annual report of the American Lung Association ranks the New York City region as 22nd among the top 25 regions in the United States most affected by year-round particle pollution, and New York’s greenhouse gas emissions are a small fraction of the national average.
  3. As for the cost of living, there’s no question that it is higher than rural America, but it’s actually less than 10% more than other ‘cultural’ cities like Boston or Washington, DC.

Which brings us to the key issue: there simply is no other place in the US that is even remotely close to the global cultural center that is New York City. There is nothing comparable to New York’s theaters, museums, libraries, universities, cinemas and night life. I personally love San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Austin…even Toronto. But they are just not the same thing in any way, shape or form.

There are many people for whom NYC is not the right place to live, and for many reasons, including speed, concrete, and cost. But it is crucial to understand that in life there are trade offs, and the flip side of putting up with those challenges is the advantage of living in arguably the most extraordinary, unique city on earth.

You can take both, or you can take neither, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. TC mark

This comment originally appeared at Quora.

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