New York is the rare city where you can safely say that, no matter what your interests, background or age, there is probably someone — or, really many someones — for you somewhere in that urban soup.
From the artsy to the outdoorsy and everything in between, the nearly 8.2 million residents of the city's five boroughs cover the gamut of possible personal profiles. All that's required is a willingness to interact, and of course the financial means to stay afloat in one of the country's most expensive metro areas.
But while New York is a capital of international trade and finance, it also is the place where you can take a $2.50 subway ride to the Metropolitan Opera or Yankee Stadium, then head into Greenwich Village for the best Italian meal this side of the Atlantic, then catch a live comedy or jazz set at a world-renowned club and still have numerous options for where to go next.
Want cultural diversity? New York offers close to 300 neighborhoods within 59 community districts. One study estimated that 138 languages are spoken in the borough of Queens alone.
New York can be affordable for middle-class folks — if you are willing to trade off space for location. Yes, neighborhoods such as SoHo, Central Park West and Park Avenue are prohibitively expensive, but affordable apartments can be found in such places as Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park in Brooklyn. Many sections of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx have easy access to green space, great restaurants, bay views, friendly neighbors and the subway, which has chaperoned more chance encounters-turned-romances than many entire cities.
Once known as gritty and dangerous, the subway, like the city itself, has grown much safer in recent decades: The metropolitan area is in the lowest one-third of the United States for violent crime, with even lower rates of property crime.
The New York metro area also has one of the nation's highest concentrations of physicians and teaching hospitals. And New York is serious about going green: The League of American Bicyclists has honored the city's bike paths, and the U.S. Department of Energy has recognized New York for promoting solar energy. The Big Apple is also home to half a million students attending 110 higher education institutions, including several with lifelong learning centers for older students.
The biggest issue for people considering a move here: Can you handle the nearly endless buzz of one of the world's most vibrant cities? If yes, you'll have trouble running out of things to do and people to meet here.