Saturday, February 16, 2013

Why I'll never leave New York. And neither should you.

New York has to be the only city in the United States where it’s impossible to be bored.

Los Angeles has its charms, but I am reminded of the radio announcer who said, “And it’s another monotonously beautiful day here in southern California…”

Chicago has stunning architecture, but on a January day the wind off the lake gets boring really fast.

Philadelphia?   Seriously?

Here there’s never nothing to do.  There are countless museums—it would probably take a lifetime to explore them all. 

Brooklyn's Prospect Park West
It takes half a lifetime to explore all the treasures of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I knew someone who never went there without a compass. 

There are innumerable art galleries.  Two botanical gardens.  Two zoos.  The best theater, opera, ballet in the world. Parks everywhere, from vest pocket size to bigger than the entire country of Monaco.

You get the idea.

But there are other reasons why New York is a great place to grow old. 

For me, one of the biggest advantages would be not having to drive, park or maintain a car.  Face it, we may all live long past the age when it’s a good idea to drive.  Here we have the best, most ubiquitous public transportation in the country.  
Gay Street, in New York's West Village
You don’t have to climb stairs; there are 58,000 elevators in New York City (thank you, Google).  If you need medical attention, there are 184 hospitals and 122,167 doctors, and you don’t have to be flown to any of them.

There are those who say it’s expensive to live here. 

Not necessarily.  In fact, it's possible to live here very inexpensively. 

A quick search of Streeteasy shows more than 1,000 one bedroom apartments for sale at prices of $500,000 or less and monthlies no higher than $750.  There’s no extra bedroom for guests, but some of us will be grateful for that.
Monthlies of $750 are affordable on an income of $30,000 a year.   It doesn't get less expensive than that. 

(Yes, I know, for $500,000 in Cleveland you could have a seventeen room mansion with a swimming pool, two tennis courts and a stable for the polo ponies.  But you'd be in Cleveland!)

It may be more comfortable to stay in your present home.   Here's a link to an article in today's New York Times about NORCs, or naturally occurring retirement communities:

But housing is not the only thing that is or can be inexpensive.  For a little over $100 a month you can have unlimited rides on subways or buses.  If you're over 65 you can  go from Battery Park City to the Cloisters for $1.25. 

The west side, and beyond it, out of town.
Most of the museums either let you pay what you want or have hours when admission is free. 

Art galleries are free, and when a new exhibit opens they give you peanuts and Chardonnay. 

There’s the public library, where they let you take books home without paying a cent.  And then you can take them back again.  They even pay for storage.
And it's safe.  According to Crain's, Honolulu, at a fraction of New York's size, is the only city that's safer.  No kidding!  Check the source:

I could go on about its diversity, its cosmopolitan nature, its friendliness (it's a lot friendlier than Los Angeles where you're always in your car with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning on), the good manners of the natives (often, every single person getting off a bus thanks the driver and holds the door open for the next person).
But the very best part about growing old in New York is, if you become slightly eccentric (or crazy as a loon), nobody will even notice.

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