Notable parents on why NYC is the best city in the world

We asked some of our favorite New York parents to tell us why NYC is the absolute best city in the world to raise a family.

By Rory Halperin

Deciding where to raise children is a big decision, but for these notable New York parents (chefs, designers, authors and entrepreneurs), it was a no-brainer: There's no where else they'd rather live with their kids than New York City. We asked them to tell us why NYC is the best city in the world to raise a family—answers ranged from "we have instant access to art" to "the city teaches kids to be open-minded and tolerant." Scroll through our slide show to read all of their comments, then tweet us at @timeoutkids to let us know why you think NYC is the best city in the world for families. 

Photograph: Jennifer Hughes

Marc Glosserman, founder and CEO of Hill Country Hospitality and dad to Austin, 5, Skye, 4, Jaclyn, 2, and Geena, 6 months

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"The convenience of the city is what makes NYC an amazing place to raise a family. Whether it's ordering groceries on FreshDirect, running across the street to 7-Eleven for an extra carton of milk or walking our daughter five blocks to nursery school, most of our family needs are within a few short blocks of our lobby's front door. I literally walk two blocks from my apartment to get to work or to check in on our restaurants, which means I get to spend more time with the kids and less time commuting. There's simply no city as convenient as New York when it comes to raising a young family like ours, and as they get older, the richness of cultural experiences at our children's fingertips is, of course, unparalleled."  
Photograph: Jessica Lin

Nigel Barker, the host of Oxygen's The Face, and dad to Jack, 7, and Jasmine, 4
Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
“I grew up in London and have lived in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Munich and Los Angeles but only in New York did I find a city where the best elements from all these cities come together in perfect harmony. It's less of a salad bowl of cultures, but a soup bowl where the ingredients truly blend. It was an important factor for my wife, Crissy, and I when we decided to bring our family up in New York City. We wanted to have a stimulating, worldly and inspiring community around our kids to help turn them into global citizens. All that, plus artists, activists and academics from around the world, the best slice of pizza, and the convenience of indoor and outdoor play year-round, and quite frankly—why would you live anywhere else?”
Photograph: James Wade

Cat Greenleaf, host of NBC's Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf, and mom to Primo, 4, and Truman, 1

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"The biggest city perk for families is the subway. We can all be anywhere within moments. We don't need to plan, or worry about parking or gas. Plus, with little kids, the ride itself is an adventure. We love you, MTA."

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Padma Lakshmi, author and host of Top Chef, and mom to Krishna Thea, 3

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"New York City is a great place to raise kids because they grow up independent, cultured and confident. I love that there are also so many ethnicities in our little city, all living together. It teaches us to be open-minded and tolerant."


Amy Sohn, author of Motherland and mom to a seven-year-old daughter

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"As a native Brooklynite myself, I went into motherhood committed to raising my family here. New York City is the greatest city in the world to raise kids because arts and culture are a step outside the door. They can see children's plays that are as good or better than adult plays, tour world-class museums, and take classes in anything from weaving and pastry-making to robots. Most important, you don't need a car to get around. My daughter, like I did, observes the world from the street: a daily education. I could never be a soccer mom because as a typical New Yorker, I can barely drive."
Photograph: Michael Falco

Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot and The Bump, and mom to Havana, 15, Cairo, 8, and Dublin, 4

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"There's instant access to art. You can wake up on a Sunday morning with no clue what to do with your kids and within minutes be looking at an insane installation by an artist from Shanghai—and pretending that you are the world's most organized parent! There's also tons of takeout. I'm a working mom. Cooking is a passion, but not a realistic weekday priority. Thankfully between my office in LoMa and my home in Dumbo, I have Greek, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, and about 8 types of pizza to feed my 5 hungry mouths on a Monday. I also love taking the kids to the New Vic. One set of season tickets and you have 20 fun evenings ahead with your kids at performances that are age appropriate, but surprisingly riveting for you too! And last, but not least, the subway. Yes, it gets me to the kids' (awesome) Upper East Side orthodontist in a flash, but I like the train as a cultural experience. A sardine can full of amazingly unique individuals!"

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Robert and Courtney Novogratzcelebrity design couple and parents to Wolfgang, 15, Bellamy and Tallulah, both 14, Holledar and Five, both 7, and Major, 4

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"We both love New York City and love living here. The city's energy keeps us happy, which in turns makes for happy kids. We love the endless possibilities and opportunities that the city provides because it allows our kids to dream big. We have seven kids, each is unique in their own ways; some are athletes, some are artists, and the beauty of this city is that it allows them to find their passions. There is truly something for everyone in this amazing city."
Photograph: Heidi Green Photography

Lyss Stern, founder of DivaLysscious Moms and mom to Jackson, 9, and Oliver, 5

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"By raising your children in New York City, you are giving them the greatest gifts of their lives; you are exposing them to a world of color, culture and opportunity. New York is a gigantic playground for children (and parents) filled with the best museums, playgrounds, art centers and more. Your child can virtually pursue any of his or her interests within walking distance from their apartment! We as parents hold the key to the most amazing city in the world, and each and every day is a new adventure!"
Photograph: Erin Turner

Marcus Linial, co-owner of the Canal Room, owner of Fun Music Artists, and dad to Summer, 4, and Benjamin, 7

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"I lived in Manhattan for 12 years, and when my wife, Melanie, got pregnant we moved to Brooklyn. Having the city's culture, the people, the art and the music at our doorstep is priceless. Our kids are growing up in a city where they can learn to dream and be creative. We are here for the long run."

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Ali Wing, founder and CEO of Giggle and mom to Tyler, 10

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"The three things I love most about raising my son in NYC are:
1. I walk Tyler to school, then on to work every day. Our "walking everywhere" NYC family lifestyle is great mom-son time.
2. Tyler's core group of friends speak Russian, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish and French in their homes—so much so that for practice at soccer, whoever is leading warm-ups gets to the pick the language that they will count in! Where else could you find that?
3. This week in school Tyler has a "science in the city" week. Yesterday they spent the day at the American Museum of Natural History. Today they are at the Intrepid. Tomorrow at Columbia University's Science get the idea. It's all in their backyard. The influences and access are amazing."
Photograph: Bjorg Magnea

Alison Qualter Berna, co-owner of apple seeds and mom to Madeleine and Sydney, both 7, and Jack, 3

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
“Raising children in NYC offers things that are difficult for many parents to teach: By living in the most internationally diverse city, children grow up making friends from around the world, hearing a variety of languages and seeing the world as a smaller, more accessible place. NYC also offers the highest quality in cultural offerings and activities for kids—in what other city can you access the caliber and quality of children’s theater, music concerts, dance performances and other events? In terms of the question everyone seems to ask (how do you balance apartment living with the need for green grass?), it is not only possible to find a park or playground in every NYC neighborhood, but it is also quite simple to get out of the city, something we do nearly every weekend to access the outdoors on a regular basis. Finally, NYC is a city that people from around the world love to visit, meaning friends and family from all parts of the world never feel too far away.”
Allison Schlanger, co-owner of apple seeds and mom to Sam and Ari, both 8, and Dov, 2

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
“We love that we can walk anywhere and be at our destination in minutes. Everything is reachable and doable the day you want to do it. We love looking out our window at the Empire State Building and watching the lights change nightly, knowing that the very same light show is being seen by millions of strangers at the very same time. The city can be big and anonymous and so familiar and secure—all depending on where you find yourself. We love that our kids can be exactly who they are and who they want to be, and that the city embraces them and affords so many opportunities for them to find their niche.”
Courtney Grant Winston

Ellen Diamant, founder of Skip Hop, and mom to Spencer, 12

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"The great museums, parks and playgrounds in the city are the absolute best. There are so many to chose from—you can literally visit a different one every weekend for an entire year! When our son was small we mixed things up and went to a new neighborhood park every weekend. Traveling uptown and downtown, he was exposed to different parts of the city and never grew bored. Plus, they're free!"

The Nissanoffs: Daniel, Amy, Asher and Phoebe
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Daniel Nissanoff, founder of Make Meaning and dad to Asher, 7, and Phoebe, 6

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?
"I'm in the 'inspiration' business, and in New York City, it's everywhere. This city is equal parts raw and uninhibited as it is sophisticated and culture laden—and the authenticity of all of these qualities is something that I love that my children are exposed to. They can ride the subway with me at midnight on the way back from Yankee Stadium, skip to some of this world's top museums and hear seven different languages on the walk to school—and that's just an average day of being a kid in NYC. I'm also in the 'make meaningful moments' business, and the fact that I can get home from working at one of our stores in a few minutes allows me to steal quality time with my kids on a regular basis instead of relinquishing that time to a daily commute. For a parent working in the city to be able to say "Good morning" and "Good night" to his kids on a regular basis is pretty special."

The Farahnakian Family at the P.I.T.
Photograph: David Rosenzweig

Ali Farahnakian, founder of the People's Improv Theater, and his wife, Beth, creator of Broadway Birthday Bashes, and parents to Ella, 6, and Olivia, 4

Why is New York City the best city in the world to raise a family?

"We're able to take advantage of amazing educational and cultural opportunities for our daughters. And working so close to home allows us both to be very active in their lives."


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