Staying in the city or moving to the greener pastures of the burbs is a never-ending debate for many New York City parents. Real estate in the city is undoubtedly expensive, leaving most parents with limited options in terms of providing a lot of living space for their kids. Furthermore, school options can be more limited in the city and at times cost prohibitive, whereas in the outskirts schools often come at no cost. However, being out of New York could mean a commute for one or both parents, plus other disadvantages. Here are some factors to consider to help you decide which option is right for your family:
This is one of the main reasons people make the leap from cities to the suburbs. The farther away one typically gets from a metropolis, the more feasible real estate typically gets. What this means is that for the price of a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, you’re likely to end up with a house that has multiple bedrooms and large living areas in the suburbs. This means more room for you and your family. And don’t forget the outside space: Single family dwellings in the suburbs often come with generous-sized yards that can be used as a space to play in for the kids, a place to do gardening, and lounging or to add amenities like a pool. There’s really no contest on this one; for most people, suburbs offer larger living and outdoor spaces.
Upkeep in the Suburbs
Single-family dwellings come with more upkeep than apartments and townhouses. If you are thinking of a standalone house, it’s wise to consider the extra work and cost associated with maintaining it. In the city, a monthly maintenance fee likely takes care of keeping the common areas—such as hallways, garbage room, roof decks, and garages—clean and in good shape. In a house, however, your responsibilities go beyond the inside of your walls. You’ll need to keep up the lawn, plow snow, clear gutters, and maintain all else on your own. Whether you hire people to take care of the upkeep or do it yourself, you’ll need to reflect on the cost and time involved.
If your job is in the city, you’ll need to consider the extra time and expense you’ll expend for your commute. From neighboring states, there are trains, busses, and ferries that carry commuters to and from New York City every day. Look up the cost, parking options, and distance and see if the commute is something you can handle.
Many folks opt to live outside the city because of the quality and expenses associated with a school system. Consider where your children would go to school in the city and what the acceptance requirements are. Compare that with potential towns that you’re considering in the suburbs. Look at the both the education offered, costs, and see which one makes more sense for you and your kids.
In the city, residents sometimes opt to rent extra space. This can include studio for artists, office space for those who work from the home, or storage space just to house items that don’t necessarily fit in a city apartment. Tally up these miscellaneous costs and see how it compares to a house in the suburbs that might have extra room to take care of all these needs and see which one works better for you.
Restaurants, Cafes, and Activities
Cities often outdo suburbs when it comes to attractions and events. There’s no Broadway in New Jersey or Connecticut and it’s unlikely to have your choice of so many restaurants and cafes in the burbs. If a culturally rich landscape is important to you and you want access to it all the time, you might want to stay in the city. If, however, your more of a homebody or don’t mind making your way into New York every once in a while to hear a talk or see a performance, living outside the city might be a better fit for you.
It’s important to think about childcare in both city and burb living situations. Are you looking for daycare or to hire a nanny? Consider your options and see which one makes more sense for you. For example, if you’re thinking of having an au pair, you’ll need space to house an extra person—something that might be impractical in the city.