Life really does cost more in New York. To be precise, the cost of living in Manhattan was 138.6 percent of the U.S. average in 2018, making it the most expensive city in the country, according to a Kiplinger survey. Brooklyn, treated separately in the study, came in fourth-most expensive at 82 percent above the average cost.
Renting an apartment
It costs about $20,000 a month for a family-size apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. If that is a bit out of your price range, then you can rent a tiny apartment in Queens for about $2,000, assuming it’s not in one of the borough’s new luxury buildings. Obviously, there are many options in between. But, finding a place in New York City is a grueling task. The vacancy rate was less than 4 percent in 2018.
Grocery items cost at least 10 percent more in New York City than in, say, Chicago. There are exceptions, of course. Skinless and boneless chicken breasts are only 3.6 percent more and tomatoes in season are about the same price. Beer and bottled water may cost a bit less.
It should be noted that such comparative statistics are subject to huge variations. You can find specials on anything in New York, and grocery shopping options range from farmer’s markets to supermarket chains and convenience stores.
You can definitely find a cheap meal in New York City’s endless options for street food and cheap eateries. There are also family-owned restaurants of every ethnicity and description. But, at the high end, the prices can be jaw-dropping.
The statistics say that a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will set you back $75 in NYC and only $55 in Chicago, a 36.36 percent higher cost in New York.
Single ticket fare for a New York subway or bus ride is $3, though regulars buy a monthly pass for $116.50.
Taxis start at $3.24 in Chicago versus only $2.50 in New York City. Nevertheless, taxis tend to be an expensive option, at least during the weekdays when traffic is nearly always heavy.
One plus for New York City over many cities: You don’t need to own a car. In fact, you probably don’t want one. A garage spot costs an average $430 per month. Street parking is scarce. Public transportation or your own two feet are, in any case, better ways to get from one place to another within New York.
Basic utilities for an 85-square-meter apartment (including electricity, heating, water, and garbage) in Chicago cost an average $126.54 a month. In New York, it’s $142.52, a difference of more than 12 percent.
Adding access to the Internet will set you back another $42.71 in Chicago and $52.19 in New York.
New York City is, as you can see, a very expensive place to live. However, if you can hack it, the perks can be amazing. The nightlife, the diversity and the great food are just a few of said perks. Plus, for an urban landscape, we have some pretty nice parks, too. Ever been to Prospect or Central? But, yeah, the prices are quite ridiculous. So, consider this a warning.
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