It is commonly known that New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The cost of living is exorbitant, rents are high, food isn’t cheap, and if you have a baby, good luck. But high prices are what you pay if you choose to live here, which is, in my opinion, the best city in the world. So far I have managed to make it work. I have luckily inherited a rent controlled apartment, and my boyfriend and I make ends meet with his great job, and with a little help from our families. However I have found that the true price we are paying to live in New York City, isn’t in the form of money. Our six month old lives here too. He had no say, no choice in the matter. Just like his dad and me, he is a native New Yorker.
I never realized how many challenges this city throws at you as a parent. Everyday we are battling noise, city smog, unpaved streets, traffic, and reckless cab drivers, and that’s just on our afternoon walks. My son certainly did not ask for this, and lately I have been wondering if raising my baby in New York City is the best decision.
I was brought up in midtown and never felt like I was missing anything. I had local playgrounds to run around in, friends, and access to just about everything. Some may feel that I was forced to grow up too fast; I was taking public transportation by myself just out of elementary school, and my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood wasn’t the beautiful place it is now, but what I lost in innocence I gained in street smarts. I am proud of my New York upbringing, I survived.
It goes without question that my son will survive city life as well, but I can’t help but think about other options. Would it be better for him to be able to take a nap with out car horns blaring in the background? Or would he benefit from having his own backyard, rather than having to take a 10 minute walk to the park? A pet is out of the question, and unfortunately so is private school. Do I really want to subject my son to the terrors of applying to pre-school? New York City is the only place where there is a school admissions exam for four year olds.
I have given it some thought lately, and with all of New York’s pits, there are tons more peaks. I love New York, and I know Eli will too. For now, we stay. I’ll decide if I want to let New York City snatch away my son’s innocence in a few more years.