New York is the city to which all others are compared. No other metro area in the U.S. has so many people (22 million in and around New York) doing so much in such diverse neighborhoods that are so saturated in lore and history.
Yes, New York is a capital of international trade and finance. But it also is the place where you can take a $2 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.
For cultural diversity, New York is unparalleled in the U.S. According to the city's planning department, its five boroughs comprise close to 300 neighborhoods within 59 community districts. One study estimated that 138 languages are spoken in the borough of Queens alone.
New York is also affordable for middle-class folks — if you know where to look and are willing to sacrifice space to gain location. Yes, Manhattan neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and West Village are prohibitively expensive, but affordable apartments can be found in neighborhoods such 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 will whisk you almost anywhere in the city in less than an hour.
That famous subway, like much of the city, has grown much safer since 1990: The metropolitan area is in the lowest one-third of the U.S. 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 Department of Energy has recognized New York for promoting solar energy. The Big Apple also has 110 higher education institutions with more than half a million students, 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 the world's most vibrant cities? If yes, there is no better place in the U.S. for the city life.
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