Get us in your inbox

NYC romance
Photograph: Shutterstock

20 things that make New Yorkers grateful to live in NYC

As Thanksgiving approaches, NYC residents consider what they are thankful for.

Shaye Weaver
Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

With Thanksgiving approaching, New Yorkers are considering what they’re most thankful for.

Despite our high rents, at times dysfunctional transportation system and perennial garbage on the street, we live in the best city in the world, after all. 

Ahead of the holiday, we asked our readers what they’re most thankful for living here in NYC. Below are your answers!

RECOMMENDED: A guide to Thanksgiving in NYC

1. The bagels

There’s no doubt NYC has the best bagels and anyone who says otherwise is delusional. There is nothing better than biting into a cloud of sour cream surrounded by a sturdy but soft pillow of bread adorned with your favorite toppings—we'll always be partial to lox. If you’re salivating now, here’s a list of the best bagels in town and an interactive map ranking some top local choices as well. 

2. We’re never bored

Unlike other places in the U.S., there is never a lack of things to do here. If you’re bored, you’re doing it wrong. From trivia nights at your local bar to an endless list of shows on Broadway and Off, there’s so much to do most of us have a serious case of FOMO.

As Facebook user Nancy Resnick Hendrickson simply put it: "[There's] always something to do."

3. There’s public transit to almost anywhere

We don’t need to worry about parking, car insurance or any of the annoyances of owning a vehicle. Sure, NYC Transit has its issues now and again, but it’s what keeps the city running.

"Anywhere in the 5 boroughs for less than 3 bucks," tweeted @TheDukeJay. "Try and do that in London." They're not wrong.

4. Food from all over the world

We walk out our front doors and have the world at our fingertips, that is, a world of cuisine. Every neighborhood might skew toward a certain kind of cuisine, sure, but overall our neighborhoods represent the many cultures we have here in the city. This keeps our minds and bellies full and enticed!

Among some of the most exciting food destinations out there: Middle Eastern grocer Sahadi's new Manhattan location, beloved Tel Aviv restaurant Malka, one of the best pizzerie in the world and an "unconventional" Thai eatery in Brooklyn

5. The great parks

Our parks are second to none, from Central Park to Prospect Park and those in between and farther out. They’re historic and beautiful, plus, we rely on them to give us a healthy dose of nature and a break from our otherwise concrete lives.

This year in particular, officials unveiled a slew of new green spaces that have rapidly become some of the best parks in New York, including Freshkills Park in Staten Island, The Arches under the Brooklyn Bridge and Theodore Roosevelt Park on the Upper West Side, among others. 

6. The holiday windows

Millions flock to NYC for the holiday season and what do they do? They go to the holiday windows in Manhattan. They’re always such a feast for the eyes and just a gorgeous and nostalgic way to spend time in the city. They’re so quintessential to NYC that we have a running list of the most stunning ones to see.

7. We don’t need Amazon because all the shops are convenient

If we need something, we can literally run around the block and pick it up. 

"[We've got] 24-hour bodegas and smoke shops for my hookah habit!," tweeted @mmonique66.

8. The architecture

They say you can tell who is a tourist by who is looking up, but we’d be fooling ourselves if we said we never look up. Part of the joy of living here is seeing the gorgeous architecture and the many styles from across the decades that took over our skyline.

9. The museums and culture

Unmatched. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Bronx Museum and beyond, we truly have the best institutions—and so many. These great halls of knowledge join a roster of generally amazing cultural destination that run the gamut in terms of theme, scope and flair—as demonstrated by the variety of comments we've gotten on social media.

10. The diversity

When visitors come here, they are surprised by just how many different kinds of people pass them in the street. We truly are the center of the world when it comes to how many cultures you can find here. One Facebook user said it best when he compared New York to "the world in miniature."

In case you were wondering, here are the most commonly spoken languages in every NYC neighborhood.

11. There’s no judgment

Because there are so many people from so many backgrounds, New Yorkers aren’t judgmental—at least not to strangers. We can show up however we want and it won’t warrant any strange looks. It’s freeing!

12. Free late-night show tapings

It’s super fun to go out late and be part of a studio audience—for free! You can’t do that everywhere!

13. Quick emergency response

Despite there being tons of traffic in the city, the average emergency response time was nine minutes and 23 seconds in 2023, down 7 seconds from 2023. That’s way faster than in rural areas.

14. Everything is open late

It is the city that never sleeps, after all. We aren’t beholden to 10pm closing times.

15. The honesty

There’s no guessing here. New Yorkers speak their minds. Depending on where you’re coming from it can be refreshing or shocking. We know no other way.

16. The quick pace

It’s so good to be in a city where everyone gets that time is precious. It means we can get on with our days and get where we want to be and spend more time there.

17. Fall in Central Park

Is there anything as lovely as the fiery reds, oranges and yellows draped across the park? Let's be honest: fall in New York is the absolute best season of all.

18. The endless possibilities

We never know who we’ll meet when we leave our apartments. What we plan on doing is not always what actually happens. It’s an exciting way to live!

19. Rangers games at MSG

We love watching the Rangers take the ice. It’s a great night out and for many of us, a tradition!

20. Tourists and travelers from everywhere

Say what you will about tourists and how slow they walk, but part of what keeps our city so fresh and exciting are the people who visit our great city. It’s a chance to be exposed to more cultures and ways of life, plus a lot of things we enjoy here in the city are created with them in mind. So for that, we are grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Popular on Time Out

    More on city identity

      You may also like
      You may also like