The 10 best things about living in NYC, according to New Yorkers

From serendipitous meetings to being able to get a chopped cheese just around the corner.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York

There's a lot of reasons we choose to live in New York City and it varies for everyone—job opportunities, family, the culture—but all of us can agree on certain things that make it worth being here.

New Yorkers took to Reddit last week to share the best parts of living in NYC after user foxyfox22 posed the question in r/NYC and there were about 10 answers posted repeatedly, citing everything from serendipitous meetings with friends to the city's many restaurants.

Below are some of the best parts of living in NYC that'll make you long for the day when we're able to see everyone again.

1. It can be a fantastic place for introverts

It might go against our initial understanding of NYC, but the city is actually a great place to live for introverts because of its boisterous atmosphere and residents. Being surrounded by all these people and ongoing events keeps introverts from becoming hermits—it gets them out of their heads.

"I'm forced to see so many strange and interesting people on my commute or walking to the bodega, whether I make an effort or not," user AgentGravitas wrote. "That keeps me grounded and makes me feel connected to others. And if I do decide to go out and be social, I have a gazillion options when the mood strikes (non-COVID times)."

And, when we want to be alone, it's not hard because New Yorkers know how to leave each other alone. You won't find people butting into our business. In fact, NYC is a great place to have a good cry. Most times, people won't invade your space and if they do, it's to offer help.

2. Small interactions with the city’s 'cast of colorful characters'

NYC isn't the most famous city in the world because its residents are all the same and play by the same rules. No, our city is full of people who aren't afraid of letting their freak flag fly and give zero fucks about what others think of them. Speaking with our colorful characters makes our lives here more rich, even if some of them are a little off their rockers. We wouldn't have it any other way.

"There are definitely some crazies here, but I've met some of the most generous, open, welcoming, life-affirming, real, funny, smart people in this city," said square-grab-5644. "I'm from London, where everyone is apparently polite, and I will tell you hands down after nearly 15 years in NYC that New Yorkers are WAYYYY nicer!!! And that's why I'm never leaving :-) I love it more every day!"

3. Whatever our stomachs desire—we have!

NYC has just about every cuisine you could possibly want. What other city's culinary scene is as diverse as ours? Not many, that's for sure. It's a safe bet that we all live within a mile of anything we have an appetite for and we can just walk there.

"In downtown - within 2 miles there’s Chinese supermarkets, a Korean supermarket, Japanese grocery stores, an Italian marketplace, countless other specialty stores, and ofc Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s," said syunsquared. "Not just “Italian” or “Chinese”, but all kinds of Italian - Neapolitan pizza, Italian sandwiches, pasta, Roman, Tuscan, etc. There’s a Trapizzino on Orchard!! - and Chinese - dim sum, Chinese bbq, hot pot, Cantonese, Sichuan, etc. The list goes on. Whatever your stomach desires we have!"

4. It's a cultural capital with so much diversity

We also have much of the world's best museums, jazz clubs, DIY venues and art galleries as well as our incredible Broadway and Off Broadway scenes. There's no shortage of talent or ways to catch it. And people from different walks of life keep coming together to bring us incredible exhibits and shows that open our world to what's beyond our own experiences. And simply being able to interact with so many types of people is something not found in other cities.

"I truly had not seen diversity until I moved to New York years ago," wrote paul_lanes. "After moving here, I've had long-term or passing connections with the rich, the poor, with people of various ethnic backgrounds, with people who come from far away or native to New York, with people from all across the political spectrum including the right, with struggling drug addicts, etc."

5. Being able to drink and not drive (and get home safely)

It's a small thing, but when we've had too much to drink, most of us don't have to worry about how we'll get home or leaving our car behind. NYC's walkability (or access to taxis) makes going out for a boozy night on the town easy and safe and even allows us to enjoy ourselves more than we would if we had to think about logistics. And honestly, sometimes being a little buzzed on the train helps the ride home a little easier.

"Just please try to barf away from us commuters. I’ll hand a wet wipe to you later," lemonyhampeapasta wrote.

6. Everyone has one thing in common—they are the kind of person who lives in NYC

It takes "a certain mind, perseverance, culture, flexibility to live in any of the boroughs and it manifests itself in millions of unique ways," said okdokke. "But that lil’ nugget of ‘new yorker’ is always somewhere inside."

Whatever "making it" in NYC means, we're all doing it. New Yorkers have a certain grit, attitude and strength that is required of them to live here. Knowing that, we all have this unspoken appreciation and understanding that we share.

7. You don't have to plan a day out to have a day out

You can plan if you want to, but honestly, NYC has so much going on that you could leave your apartment with nothing on your plate and not return home until late, having seen a performance, incredible art, and a few friends for tasty drinks and food. Even venturing to the next neighborhood over holds its own discoveries.

"There is always a new place popping up every month to visit or eat at," wrote lilac_skyyyy. "You can never run out of nearby new neighborhoods to explore which is like visiting different countries all in one city."

8. Hundreds of restaurants deliver to our apartments

We've definitely come to realize just how many restaurants deliver to our apartments during this pandemic. The list on our deliver apps is endless and we all have that deep drawer of takeout menus. We don't even have to put our pants on to get the best soup dumplings in all of NYC. We have so many options. What other town offers that?

"I travel a lot of work (or used to) and you won’t believe how shitty the options for food delivery are outside of major cities. You have max 5 options from major chains which all charge a delivery fee, and the food takes an hour to arrive," lmoe wrote.

9. Serendipitous meetings

One of the coolest things about living here is it's actually a small world. It's not uncommon to just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes we'll see a friend get out of the exact train car we're getting on or meet new people who become our best friends just because we were in the same bar at the same time.

"These 3 minute chances you give to people can grow into awesome friendships (or, at least, memories!), and I feel impromptu social interaction is not natural nor polite in any other place/country I’ve lived in," user ktoanyone said.

10. It is a city of subcultures upon subcultures

The cliche saying that "there's something for everybody" rings the truest here. In terms of interests, no one is ever alone in NYC. Whatever your hobby, obsession, kink or fixation is, there's a group for it. That's not always true in other cities and towns, which can be a very lonely experience.

"Some nights I would dress up and enjoy the vanity crowd around meatpacking district, other nights I'd put on a decent hoodie and barhop around LES," jewboyfresh said. "One time I was on the bus and saw some people dressed as if they were going to a goth convention heading into a building, makes me wonder about all the lowkey stuff that goes on. I was in a bar in Bushwick one time and it was like stepping back in time. Every single person in that bar was wearing leather jackets, had long hair, and there was rock music playing."

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