Raising a Family in New York City
Whether you live in the suburbs, soon moving to New York City, or have moved there from another part of the country, raising a family in NYC presents its pros, but also its challenges. The size of the family does not matter so much as the disposition, and where you are coming from. If your kids are teenagers, they may have a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings, and making new friends, while missing their old friends as well. On the other hand, there is so much to see and do in New York, that they may be anticipating the excitement.
If you are moving from another busy city, the shock will not be as much as if you are coming from a small country town, or suburbia. The whole environment is different. For a country family, the usual sounds that they are accustomed to hear every day will not exist in NYC. These sounds and smells, will be replaced with other very different ones, and your first night there may be a bit shocking. You may not be able to sleep at all. Sirens, conversation, car noises, trains, airport planes departing or arriving, city neon lights that illuminate the room and many other things will keep you awake. Give yourself and your family a bit of time to adjust to these differences. In time, you will not even hear them.
Another issue is the cultural shock. New York is much diversified. You will find all kinds of people of all different races and backgrounds. If you are coming from a small town, where everybody knows everyone else, this could be a bit of an interesting adjustment. Do not take it personal, if a person does not smile back to you, or brushes you in the shoulder while going in a hurry to wherever he/she is going and does not say "pardon me" or "I am Sorry." It is pretty common in a city that moves fast and where tons of people walk the streets heading on different directions. The small town friendly atmosphere will not hit you in the face in NYC - that will come later, when you get to know your neighbors and start making friends or become a regular of a favorite coffee shop or restaurant. The spirit is there, just a bit recessed into the fast pace of life.
A great advantage of living in New York is the ease of getting around. You might not need a car, depending on your lifestyle and professional commitments. It will be easy to take mass transportation, or just walk where you need to go. Taking mass transportation may be another source of cultural shock as it is really busy at the train and bus stations. People are on a mission to get to their destinations, and may get a bit frustrated with you if you do not know how to get around, buy your ticket, or swipe/tap your card. Do not expect someone to give you their seat, just because you are the lady standing - if this happens, you have officially become a strapper - congratulations, you are on your way to become a New Yorker. Kids may need to adjust to take mass transportation to go to school as well. Be patient with them, specially your frustrated teenagers who may scream, "I hate you."
Another characteristic of this live city that your family will love is the many events that are going on everyday and year round. It is practically impossible to get bored in New York. From botanical gardens to Zoos, live performances, museums, walking tours, lectures, classes, fancy restaurants, family restaurants and artsy cafes, movies, music, theater, band, parks, music in the park, vendors everywhere, artists, artisans, street musicians, art galleries, rock concerts, street fairs, historical landmarks, and much more - you will experience it all. New York becomes magical during the winter season, and your family will enjoy the atmosphere, the shopping, and the many shows going on. The best thing is that everything is close, a short drive or at a walking distance.
A great benefit is that your kids will learn to be exposed to many cultures, ideas, and diversity. They will learn to develop a wide tolerance of differences, something that does not happen much in suburbs or small towns. Living and growing in NYC also promotes awareness, you are aware of your surroundings. Kids who grow up in NYC build strong characters, more sufficient, and independent that kids who grow up in the suburbs - they are more exposed to diverse environments and situations, which is positive in the sense that they develop a quick thinking and a wide understanding of other people and cultures.
New York City will offer more professional and job opportunities to the entire family. Living in this city is not cheap, and you will need a nice income to be able to afford housing and to enjoy all the activities and events/places that the city offers.
Space is another issue of raising a family in NYC. Here you will have less space, especially if you are accustomed to live in more than an acre and surrounded by greenery. Apartments and homes are more compact in the city.
Most people that leave NYC and move their families somewhere else do it due to financial reasons. They love it there, but many cannot afford it anymore. Others are ready to retire in a country setting, while others are trying to escape the Rat Race and move to small towns where they can follow their passion, and start a small business. However, most people agree that living in New York has enriched their lives and exposed them to much more. NYC can be a good place to raise a family.
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