Average New York

Welcome to Average New York: A celebration of what makes the city the singular place it is

Photo: S. Jhoanna Robledo

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How much total do you plan to tip the building staff this year?

There's nothing average about New York City, many of us would argue. From its monumental canyons of glass, concrete, and steel and delightful brownstone-lined side streets to its cacophonous hodge-podge of people and personalities and passions—just witness the potent and poignant sight of Yemeni bodega owners protesting against the new administration's immigration ban stopping to say their prayers in Brooklyn's Borough Hall last week—New York City is full of singularity.

Still, we're prone to only extol the extraordinary. (Consider all the fawning over the latest and greatest—and most expensive—luxury real estate project.) But it's the quotidian, the average, that makes NYC pulse with life. For every One57, there are plenty of prewar co-ops that crackle with neighborly devotion and fascinating tension; for every trendy destination, dozens more that are comforting in their reliability and authenticity; for every multi-millionaire, hundreds more average Joes making it work, trying to live well and carving out a place for themselves—literally (the affordable-apartment-hunting struggle is real) and figuratively.

This week, we celebrate "average" New York City in all its greatness. The apartments that trade hands more than any other, the buyers, sellers, and renters who make the market tick. After all, there is nothing at all mediocre or commonplace about the real-life needs and struggles of real-life New Yorkers—arguably the most resilient people of all.