New York parents share why they decided to stay and raise kids in the city

By Brick Underground  | July 13, 2016 - 1:59PM 

Why put up with the vagaries of New York City living—the crowds, the noise, the prohibitively expensive cost of housing—and raise children in the city? Here, New Yorkers weigh in:

Because I can't with the commute

"We plan to stay because my husband works crazy hours in finance. If he added a commute to it, we'd never see him. Also, as a stay-at-home mom, I much prefer the city for ease of abundant activities and experiencing culture with the kids." —Melissa, Upper East Side

Because NYC kids have access to great schools and stretch their independence

"Aside from the fact that both my husband and I have full time jobs in Manhattan, I love raising my boys here; the school they go to uses the city as the classroom. For example, in first grade, in order to introduce how to study math, science, and history, they studied Central Park—they studied the history of the playgrounds, they learned about the Beatles, they took a poll on how many slides there are, etc...I love that when we walk around the city they see people of all backgrounds and here lots of different languages spoken. I love the growing independence that they will have." —Rachel, Midtown East

Because NYC is our past, present, and future

"Our history is here. My husband was born here and we are living in the apartment where he was raised. His parents were the original tenants since the 1940s. My son goes to the same public school that my husband went to. My daughter attended preschool at another public school where her grandmother and aunt taught for 30 years. The people in our lives have been family friends for decades. Our neighborhood is like a family with history that goes back to the 1800s when his family came over from Ireland." —Arica, Lower East Side (pictured above)

Because it's easier to live your life on foot than rely on a car (especially with babies)

"When my kids were little, I would buckle them into the double stroller and hit 10 stores easily. When I would visit my parents it was in and out of the car and carseats and it was so annoying! [Here], you can run to the corner and get a tomato, a load of bread, etc., and again, no getting in the car and driving to a store." —Erica, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Because diversity matters

"We are committed to staying in NYC because you literally have the best of everything at your fingertips. I also love walking everywhere and using public transportation. It's better for our health, the environment and just more interesting than getting in and out of a car all day. ...While we are able to afford private school, we plan to send our kids to public school on the UWS because we appreciate the diversity and think it's important to be part of the educational community in which we live." —Carrie, Upper West Side

"I can't imagine raising a child elsewhere. I grew up in midtown Manhattan. The way I see it people who grow up in the suburbs are proud of having more dirt. All the time you hear people rue over their lack of a yard. I grew up with field trips to see the NY Philharmonic, Alvin Ailey dance company, once-in-a lifetime exhibits at museums and so much more. I grew up knowing there were people that looked and sounded different from myself and that was my "normal". I want my child to have all of that and there's no way I would trade that for ownership of a patch of grass." —Andrea, Upper East Side

"I love the feel of different neighborhoods; the culture; the mix of nationalities, races, and religions. It's ironic that some of the most politically "liberal" people—who talk about loving diversity—end up in such homogeneous neighborhoods in the suburbs. I went to a "gifted" public school (not private school), which enabled me to meet amazing, open minded people. As a young adult,I briefly lived in the suburbs and longed for Manhattan—different types of people, diverse restaurants, Broadway shows, Lincoln Center, Central Park, museums! I'm thrilled to raise my son here. I hate the subway and the fact that there's nowhere to park our car but it's worth it. My husband grew up in Brooklyn and really gets how terrific Manhattan is. We take advantage of it with our son all the time... We also have time to be with our son during the week. I work downtown and it usually only takes me 30 to 40 minutes to get home, as opposed to having a longer commute from outside the city... A lot of my friends have moved away, and I know they're getting more space. But look at all they're giving up." —Caryn, Upper East Side (pictured above)

Because there's just as much community here as in a suburban town

"My husband and I moved to Riverdale on a whim. I was six months pregnant with my oldest (now a 10-year-old), we lived in a one-bedroom walkup on the Upper West Side, and it was time to move to a neighborhood where we could afford two bedrooms. For the same rent we were paying in Manhattan, we got a two-bedroom, two-bath [in an] elevator building with a 24-hour doorman right across the street from a playground. My husband's brother and his wife lived in the neighborhood, so we followed them, without giving it much thought. We thought it would be a short stopover and we'd eventually move north to Westchester, as many Riverdalians seem to do somewhere around the birth of their second child. But, as the years passed, and many of our Riverdale friends left for suburbia, we held our ground in Riverdale. I think our building is what's keeping us there. Unlike the anonymity of Manhattan neighbors and the isolation of suburban neighbors, our building is a little community filled with a cross section of New York. My kids' favorite neighbor Betty is 104! But, if I'm really being honest, the thing really keeping me in Riverdale is our building's pool right outside our back door. What a luxury! Try finding that in Westchester without spending a few million dollars!" —Emily, Riverdale, the Bronx

"Here, wherever we go, we run into someone. Park. Store. Restaurant. Church. We know people. We stand and chat. You aren't just driving down the block and waving. You are stopping and talking." —Erica, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Because we haven't found anything better (yet)

"We didn't exactly choose to stay, we just didn't see many options. Neither my husband nor I have family in the metro area and neither of us was drawn to a particular area. Mostly, he was against commuting given that he owns his business, has an erratic schedule, often has to go in on weekends et al. I attribute our staying to our absolute inability to make plans. We can't seem to see beyond the next month. We've had absolutely no regrets until now. With the high school process upon us a second time, I think it'll be harder for our middle child to find the right school. The stress of the process is unfair to the kids. It would be so nice to have the direct option that they have in the burbs!" —Barbara, Morningside Heights

Because NYC has most everything we need

"I'm a native New Yorker with a love/hate relationship with the city. On hate days the reasons are: We're rent controlled and can't afford to leave. Also, I don't know how to drive. On love days: There is always something to do. Access to great parks, theater, and museums. There is a sense of community here I never felt before having a baby. I can step outside and make mom friends just walking to the pet store. I love that my son interacts with a diverse group of people (both friends and caregivers) from all different backgrounds and lifestyles." —Diane, Manhattan Valley

"Manhattan is the center of the universe. I can't imagine raising a family anywhere else. It allows me to spend less time commuting and more time doing the things I enjoy -- spending time with my husband and daughter (and dog, too), tapping it back at SoulCycle, and taking advantage of all the opportunities within blocks of my doorstep." —Stephanie, East Village

Because we could afford the city after all

"Got a deal on a house. Long Island stinks. That's all I got." —John Houlihan, Flushing, Queens  


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.