Why I don’t like living in New York

So if you know me, you’ve probably heard me say more than once that I hate living in New York. If you don’t know me, I’ll say it again for your benefit. I hate. living. in. New York.

What?! But its the city of lights! Its the city that never sleeps! The theater! The culture! WHAT?!

I know. It’s hard to grasp. I’ll give you a moment before I continue.

Better? Ok, I’ll continue. For a long while, I kept bitching about living in New York without giving much thought as to why. It became a huge polarizing topic with certain friends of mine and none of them could get how I could ever hate New York. I got a lot of  “oh give it time, it will grow on you” speeches. A year and some change later, it has yet to grow on me and I still dislike it as much as I did before. Over the past week I’ve given a lot of thought to why some love this place and why I hate it so much. It comes down to this: values and Quality of Life.

Let me give you a bit of background. I lived in what could arguably be called a suburban area of Alaska for 12 or so years. Before that I lived in the suburbs of Miami and before that the suburbs of Clovis, New Mexico. Suffice to say I am a suburban girl. I like trees, I like being able to hop in the car and go somewhere, I like being able to walk/bike around with not a lot of worry that some jerkbag cab driver is going to hit me. I also like having a good amount of space in my residence and I like having grass. I like waking up without a lot of noise going on outside me. I value the majority of the things I just listed immensely. I don’t have the things I value so my Quality of Life is low and I’m pretty unhappy with my living situation.

Many of the people who don’t understand why I don’t like living here don’t put a lot of value into those things, yet they enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. They value the bright lights, the plays, the food options, the “culture.” Thus their Quality of Life in New York is fairly good and they’re relatively happy.

So that’s pretty much that. If you’re a New Yorker reading this and you’re just appalled at the idea that anyone could dislike living here, think about what things make you happy here and then try to understand that those things don’t necessarily make others happy too.

Update: For those of you who are not regular readers of my blog, I moved to California shortly after this post was made. Hello from the best coast! 😉

Loading Facebook Comments ...

26 thoughts on “Why I don’t like living in New York

  1. Get Me Outta NYC

    Amen. My sentiments exactly about this city that is considered by many of the kool-aid drinkers to be “the best ever”.

    Great for lots of things, but overrated in MANY, MANY ways.

  2. I'll be so glad when you finally figure out where you want to be in life 😉 Understand your problem is not unique, be encouraged that you still have time to discover. I don't believe NY is your issue. Nonetheless, my strength goes with you.

  3. I'll be so glad when you stop assuming that you know me better than I do when you get but a miniscule glimpse of who I am. :) Thats arrogance of the highest order.

  4. Ouch.. I'm sorry.. My reply was not meant to be mean-spirited, smug or arrogant. I wish you the best of luck; where ever you decide to go..

  5. I feel like New York is a great place to visit but not to live.

  6. I've lived in New York since '81 (with 4 years in between in college and, most recently, 7 months on Cape Cod — heaven), and I fucking hate it. It hasn't always been hate. I did really love it at one point (mid-to-late '90s to be exact). To me, it's more of an old shoe situation, but everything you describe I relate to as well. It's a highly overrated city and the quality of life indeed sucks. Manhattan is like a little shoebox. Everything feels so small and cramped. No, Brooklyn is not “cool” or “hipster” — it's dirty. I am plotting my departure from here, and thinking of going to Cali. I love being near the ocean too. And try getting out to the Hamptons (prolly the best beaches in NY) on a weekend. NOT a quick drive.

  7. What a breath of fresh air: “The greatest city in the world”? Don't make me laugh! This is a place with no soul, where the architecture is custom designed to make a person feel insignificant, which he/she is here anyway by every standard of living common to life of people anywhere else. Besides the different size of buildings it's basically the same heartless grid system designed to get people to work and back to their little airless cubicles in the most efficient way. No thought was given to their life outside work; the capitalists who built this place had no use for the quality of life of their dispensible workers; and so people have no place to sit outside to watch anything outside their buildings unless they go to another heartless designated “recreation” area called Central Park, or another equally artificial place of “Nature in the City”. And by the way you can keep your “culture”: it's worthless, pessimistic, annoying: either the fake Broadway shows, where they still repeat their “glorious past” hits ad nauseum, used always to brainwash the poor immigrant workers of New York City with sweet dreams of “happiness ever after” complete of course with riches, to escape for couple of hours their harsh living conditions, or the hard & mean “reality” theatre reflecting the gruesomeness of NYC life, that is as unpleasant to watch as it is unpleasant to live. This is not a city, but a cynical system of using people to further the aims of wealthy people living elsewhere. It is total bluff. When I go into the subway I feel like I am back in the 20's and 30's; it has certainly not been improved or modernized since then. Reeking with urine, stepping on filthy floors and watching dirty walls; with unbearable heat in summer, and equally unbearable cold in winter. You just feel discredited, non mattered, insulted, just like I'm sure those hard working immigrant population of New York always felt.

  8. I'm with you my dear… I moved here about 3 months ago and I'm counting the days until the lease is up. Oh those “give it time” speeches are annoying as hell! Along with the “it's a New York thing” every time you point out some B.S. you've just witness. Well, I guess I'm uncool and I just don't get it. They can keep it. This is by far the WORST place in the country I've lived in thus far. I've like just about everywhere else I've lived but the day I was finally officially here, I knew I wouldn't last.

    And as far as food choices… who cares? Who can afford to eat every night with the backbreaking rent you pay? It's cheaper to take a trip a get a hotel for the night for the once or twice a month I do eat out. And the “culture” and “attitude” are crap. Friendliness and community trump those any day.

    Okay enough ranting… I hope you get to escape someday or already have…

  9. Exactly! I wish I had realized that before I moved!

  10. wow im so glad someone feels similarly to me! I unfortunately grew up in new york city and which i never grew up here. I love the racial diversity, restaurant/cafes/culture options, and architecture in certain BUT I despise how crowded it is, noisy it is, dirty it is, and overall dense it is, and lack of connection to real nature. Sometimes it felt like a nightmare being here. Honestly, the racial diversity, restaurant/cafes/culture options are in other places and/or should be in other places and for me its not worth being here with nycs flaws. It depends on how much someone can take new york city's flaws. There is a lot to appreciate about this city but a lot to also hate and be annoyed by. I feel like my anxiety has increased living in nyc again, i feel more disconnected to people, i feel more grumpy, i feel more stiff because i dont feel like i have space almost anywhere, i hate having someones crutch in front of my face on the subway, the subway feels like a sewer, i feel more depressed than in other places, my energy level is gradually decreasing more and more, life feels like a hassle here, i feel too overstimulated, the clutter here impedes my creativity and intellecual aptitude. im dreaming about being in places like vermont, seattle, washington, and san francisco, california to get me through living here for the last time. i was in seattle for 5 days and felt so happy there. i lived in a small town in uptstate ny for a month recently and felt happier and more healthy there too. good luck with leaving new york city too!

  11. Im so glad someone feels similarly to me! I wish I never ever grew up in New York City. I like the racial diversity, coffeehouses/restaurants/theatres/museums/stuff like that, and the architecture in certain places BUT i hate how crowded it is, how noisy it is, how dirty it is, how the subway feels like a sewer, how fast paced it is, the lack of pure nature or connection to pure real nature(central park doesnt count), the high density and the way it feels like theres almost no space for me anywhere here. It honestly depends on how much someone can take the flaws of this city, or if they consider my flaws as flaws. There is a lot to appreaciate about this city but also a lot to hate about this city.

    I lived in a small town in upstate nyc for a month three months ago and felt so much happier and healtheir there than in NYC. I was on a northwest for ten days in mid august and felt so happy, laid back, and healthy there too. I went back living in nyc since late august and after just a month I feel like my anxiety levels are higher, I feel more stiff because i dont feel like theres enough space to just be here, i feel more depressed, i feel overstimulated, the clutter impedes my creativity and intellectual aptitude for most activities, i just get more easily irritated, i feel more grumpy, i feel more restless, and other things too.

    Honestly, being in this city environment messed me up being here non stop age 1-17. Ages 16-17 i was ina deep dark depression and felt messed up in many ways and literally things just got much better by leaving this city and living in a small town upstate ny for a month. I didnt feel depressed anymore and felt healthier.

    Since im back here but not for long, Im trying to enjoy the things that are good about this city because there good things about this city but am so happy that Im leaving for good soon. Im going to be in vermont for 6 months after this and then after that seattle,washington, or vancouver, canada places i love so much ore than in nyc in most ways. What is good about nyc, a visitor for just a week could easily take in for the most part and not have to live here for a long time. The racial diversity, cultural opportunities are in other places too, and shouldnt be packed into this cramped space. New York City became too big, crowded, and noisy for its own good. Im glad people on this blog feel like this

  12. I moved here because my husband wanted to “experience NYC living for a year.” I don't like it much at all. The suffocating herds of people are more astounding than I imagined. The gross filth and trash and smells of urine and feces truly makes me ill. People look miserable and they have the most intense scowls on their faces. The admonishment to not ever “look at anyone in the eye” demonstrates the sad sad lack of human connection. Don't look people in the eye? Or what. Someone will stab me? So many people trying to act cool – that's the other thing. Like your $300 boots make you a person with purpose in life. I do love our apartment (upper east side – doorman – great amenities) but its $2700 a month for god's sake. We have to eat ramen noodles during the week just to afford going out every once in a while (and we make $120 a year combined). Only 358 days to go.

  13. I am British and moved to New York a year ago (I was previously living in London). Someone else has mentioned that New York is a great place for a tourist but not a great place to live and this is one sentiment I totally agree with.

    Manhattan is sooooo small. After a couple of months exploring there is nothing left to explore! And Brooklyn?! Queens?! They’re like a throwback to the 1920’s (not in a cool sense) – they are terribly dirty and, aesthetically, look awful, truly awful. Trendy?! Erm… Cheaper perhaps?

    I miss open space, I miss the color GREEN, and I miss jumping on a subway, travelling to the last stop and being greeted by forest, or a river running through the country, I miss a CLEAN SUBWAY – what the hell is wrong with the subway here?! It looks as if it hasn’t had a lick of paint or seen the sight of a broom in years! CLEAN IT UP! And why are the streets never clean? Surely, those who pay the extortionate taxes to live in New York deserve a clean city?!
    With regards to the cost of living; I am used to it as I am from London but, in general, I believe that I had a better quality of life in London – I had more space, I had ridiculously easy access to the country side and the rest of Europe, I had a clean city that I could get lost in as it was so big and best of all, England has PUBS! How I miss walking into a pub on a winters day, to see a roaring fire, to hear the wooden beams creaking and enjoying a pint of REAL ale… Ahh… glory days.

    New York isn’t a terrible place by any stretch of the imagination, just over-rated. Each to their own I guess…

  14. this is so well put. I am from Jersey City, became a New Yorker when I was 13, lived here until I was done with college at NYU/Columbia, and in between I lived in Europe and Guatemala. I loved the city so much during all that time: the excitement, the people, the culture, the opportunities. After school I traveled around the States and lived in Cali for 9 months. I fell in love with open space. I fell in love with stars. And sky. And the feeling that life is exciting because you can drive somewhere and discover nature. And outside of New York, you can still create culture and do what you want. New York is not the only place in the world to do something “big” with your life. I think being happy, exploring our Earth, and having peace is priceless. So though I love New York, and when I come back to visit I always feel so proud and happy to be a New Yorker, I would die inside if I couldn't see the ocean, the stars, and the mountains, and hear silence.

  15. why do people always say that? sometimes i think yes, maybe NEW York IS the issue. It is a hyper active place and there's no space. People like to delve into the depths of other's experience, but really, I think there is something to say that maybe the busiest city on earth might just be the issue here. We don't need to think too much all the time. :-)

  16. Wow! If you don't like NY, then get the f*** out. Don't take my profanity as a sign of hostility, but I have been trying to get into NY for some time now. Finding an apartment is impossible (although i think I found one yesterday), and to hear someone who knows that they value the suburbs stay in NY if only to complain bothers me. Please, there are millions of people who want to be in NY don't hold down one of their spots.

  17. Honey, I left that hellhole a year and a half ago. I'm afraid my “spot” has probably been taken as I'm sure someone has already moved into my overpriced POS apartment in Brooklyn.

    Regards from normally sunny but rainy for the moment California!

  18. Wow! If you don't like NY, then get the f*** out. Don't take my profanity as a sign of hostility, but I have been trying to get into NY for some time now. Finding an apartment is impossible (although i think I found one yesterday), and to hear someone who knows that they value the suburbs stay in NY if only to complain bothers me. Please, there are millions of people who want to be in NY don't hold down one of their spots.

  19. Honey, I left that hellhole a year and a half ago. I'm afraid my “spot” has probably been taken as I'm sure someone has already moved into my overpriced POS apartment in Brooklyn.

    Regards from normally sunny but rainy for the moment California!

  20. All y'all, I totally agree! I moved from Vancouver Canada to NYC and stayed for almost 2 years. First in Park Slope Brooklyn and then in Manhattan (SoHo area). I have some great friends there, but I noticed that I was the only one working to get people to hang together – everyone there is used to being 'too busy' to get together and I felt like I never ever saw some of my best friends – it was a monumental effort always and when I gave up trying to organize get-togethers, the get-togethers stopped. Apartments are generally too small to hang out in, so you're forced to go to bars and cafes to socialize (no potlucks in NY!) the class divide is creepy and awful, and the people in the middle are so desperate to claw their way up the ladder to claim the 'dream' – it's entirely depressing and soul-sucking. I'm so glad I got out. I only wish I could have convinced my boyfriend too, but he won't give up his 150G salary doing a job he hates (and he still feels like he's 'poor', go figure) because he hasn't 'made it' yet and he doesn't want to 'leave with his tail between his legs'. He is over 50 now. No kids. No marriage. Living alone. Trying to achieve the dream. Miserable. “But it's New York, the greatest city on earth”. Sad. And the weird sense of entitlement that I feel everywhere in America (sorry) is multiplied by a thousand in NYC. To me, it's a case of the emperor has no clothes. My friend once commented, 'you go there, and you see people all dressed in black, carrying their cloth bags with baguettes in them, dour-faced and grumpy, rushing down the street, trying to pretend it's all worth it'. Garbage. Noise. Sirens. Rude people. A park where the 'nature' is man-made. No thanks!

  21. I started to ask if you still lived in New York, but I see now that you’re in California. Good for you.

    I’m a little more conflicted about New York than you seemed to be. I like urban life. It’s just that New York is so brutally urban. It feels claustrophobic at times. I keep thinking I’d be better off in a city with just a skosh more room, just a little more green. I love being able to walk to a coffee shop, cafe, restaurant without having to get in a car. But give me some trees and a little bit of space along the way.

    New York is wonderful in a lot of ways. It truly is exciting and energizing on many levels. Unfortunately, the cost of living – more specifically the cost of housing – have degraded the quality of life here in a real way. The artists, writers, thinkers, bohemians and just plain characters that gave it so much of it’s power, can no longer afford to live here. There are actually more fertile art / intellectual scenes in smaller, less expensive cities.

    And, yes, New Yorkers can’t shut up about how much they love New York. To suggest otherwise is paramount to heresy. That’s a good thing, I guess. It’s good that people love their city. But one does sometimes get the feeling that some of this praise amounts to a collective pep talk. New Yorkers trying to convince themselves that New York is, in fact, worth the rather substantial price tag – financial and otherwise.

  22. Just been reading all the posts. Wow. Even with all my misgivings, I think some of you are being a little harsh. (I don’t bring this up to be argumentative, just for the sake of discussion). I can’t believe it either, but it actually makes me want to defend NYC a little bit.

    The saddest take is from Buffalobirdie. Who told you never to look anyone in the eye? It’s a NYC fallacy. It’s a habit. A throwback to the good bad old days when NYC truly was a dangerous place to live. It’s nonsense. In fact, part of what makes living in NYC bearable for me, is purposefully breaking through the barriers, the habitual walls. People are still people and find most folks (with the notable exception of certain young climbers who have some sort of hipness thing going on) are remarkably open to connecting if given the chance.

  23. Even with all my misgivings about NYC, it breaks my heart you feel this way. Who told you never to look anyone in the eye? It’s a NYC fallacy. It’s a habit. A throwback to the good bad old days when NYC truly was a dangerous place to live. It’s nonsense. In fact, part of what makes living in NYC bearable for me, is purposefully breaking through the barriers, the habitual walls. People are still people and I find most folks (with the notable exception of certain young climbers who have some sort of hipness thing going on) are remarkably open to connecting if given the chance.

  24. Prettybrown132

    I just don’t understand the need to detail this in a manifesto. Just work on moving. Voila!

  25. I lived in New York for the first 30 years of my life (with a small 5 year sabbatical when I left for college).

    Finally moved away for good in 2002 and I’ve been happy with my decision every day for the past 9 years.  Now I live under palm trees, near the ocean, in a house with a driveway….. and fenced in yard where I can hang out with my friends, or all by myself, and just chill out whenever I want to.   I still have regular nightmares that I had to move back for some god awful reason.  They wake me up nearly in tears.

    Yes, I grew up in NYC.  If I go back every two years or so for a long weekend, I’m fine and dandy with it.  I hope someone is enjoying taking up my two inches of space up there.  It’s all yours.  :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *