This is why the rent is so damn high!

Marist College recently surveyed folks across the five boroughs in New York City and found that a whopping 84% are satisfied or very satisfied with their life in the city. Only 4% said they were not satisfied at all!

There’s a good chance you saw Jimmy McMillan at the NY Governor’s debate complaining that ‘the rent is too damn high’.  Sure, it is high.  But there’s a reason…

Amenities (where else do you have three 24-hour delis on one block), career opportunities (more than most elsewhere, anyway), a decent foreclosure rate (#72  of #366), and interconnected friends and family make it difficult to head out of town–although almost 40 percent of Bronx residents surveyed said they would if they could.

Despite its flaws, most New Yorkers can’t imagine living anywhere else. New Yorkers love to complain about the crowded subways and cancelled train routes but most probably can not imagine living 90 minutes south in Philadelphia where a mini-subway, dilapidated trolley and a regional rail connects the various neighborhoods.

Happiness by Borough

Staten Island: 95% of its residents said they were “happy” or “very happy”– and are the biggest liars or most delusional borough? Well, their ferry is free…

Queens: 93% said they were happy–luckily their happiness does not fluctuate with the success of the Mets.

Manhattan: 91% said they were happy–who wouldn’t be happy when you can get a pastrami sandwich, a massage, a beer, and a new bicycle within 100 feet of each other…at 3am?

Brooklyn: 89% said they were happy–but were the least happy with their parks.  And are the biggest complainers, apparently.

Bronx: 86% said they were happy–are either the most resilient bunch or totally live on the success of the Yankees, and I hope they are bracing, with Cliff Lee due back on the mound soon…

The poll also found what several other national polls have already noted — Between $65,000-$75,000 seems to be the magic number when “happiness” seems to jump.  And while generally happier than previous generations, black and Latino respondents still trail whites in overall happiness.

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10 Responses

  1. Yes, New York is expensive, but the expense is all relative. Take for example, the experience of my brother who, since joining the Army has found himself living in places like scenic Columbus, GA (also known as South Bumblefuck) and, most recently Manhattan “no it’s not the same”, KS. Sure, the rent may be $450/mo for a one bedroom, but when you have to get in your car and drive for miles until you’re near anything even resembling civilization (read: Hooters), you begin to realize why your rent is so damn cheap. I believe– and correct me if I’m wrong Mr. Unqualified–that this is what the economists refer to as an opportunity cost.

    Face it, rest of America: it costs so much to live in New York because IT’S FUCKING AWESOME (my bro actually calls the rent in New York “the awesome tax”). And, although I complain (perhaps because I live in Brooklyn?), I’m going to continue to pay it for the rest of the foreseeable future.

    • Your brother can thank Tom and I for the Awesome Tax. We lobbied hard and long for it. I was nicknamed the We Bring the Party tax in congress

  2. I wouldn’t say Kansas is devoid of all things culturally, but yes the cost and part of the trade off is having to potentially travel further to get to things. The “amenities” of city life are vast–multiple Hooters 🙂

    Here is an alternative theory (sex)…

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/11/why_do_people_l.html

  3. As my sister, Lorraine, put it so succinctly, the rest of America is incredibly lacking. As an Army Officer, I am sworn by oath to defend the Constitution and the people of America, and through that oath, I am forced to be uprooted to parts previously unknown.

    You know how when you have a female friend and she tells you she has the perfect girl for you? When you ask her if she’s good looking she replies, “Well….she’s…..nice.”

    That’s the rest of America. The rest of America is ….nice. Like, OK, I understand, if I didn’t know any better, I’d settle for the “just nice” girl. However, once you know the comparison and have other options, you don’t have to settle for the girl that went to your high school because you live in a small town and the hottest girl is already engaged to the quarterback.

    New Yorkers don’t need to settle for “just nice.” Internet, take it from me, as a displaced New York Army Officer, that there are good places to live outside of NY, but why would you want to? For example, where I lived in Columbus, GA, for a measly $850 a month I had a 2200 sq ft 1 br apt in a gated community that had a pool, a gym, a tanning spa and a tennis court. Oh, and my own parking spot and washer/dryer. The only problem with that? I had to live in Columbus, GA. Nuff said. Now, where I live in Manhattan, KS, I live in a converted house 1800 sq ft 1 br apartment, for only $450 a month (with none of the other niceness, but I still do have a washer and dryer). The nearest Hooters to here is in Topeka, which is an hour drive. While their…wings…are delicious, I’m not driving an hour for them.

    I spent 22 years in Queens before I got my commission and was forced by the America to move, and I can safely say that when I retire from the service, I will retire to a nice spot within the 5 boroughs (well, 4…because fuck Staten Island that’s why). Also, if I ever get married out here, it will be with the expressed understanding that we will be moving back to NY and raising our kids as NYers…and Yankee fans.

    • You have an interesting POV. Aside from traveling far to things, are there any other opportunity costs that you can think of being outside of NYC?

      Also, is it that perhaps you are a city-centric person, would you be happy (forgiving the major sports teams) if you live in Chicago?

      • With all bad comes a sliver of good. Had it not been for the unsubstantiated opinion of the neandethallic person below me, I never would have seen your reply to my initial post. Allow me to respond, albeit a few months late.

        I’ll tell you the opportunity costs of living IN the city first. They are as follows: personal firearms and college towns. I am the proud owner of a handgun now that I reside (but am not a resident of, as my NYS tax returns will gleefully tell you) in Kansas, I can tell you I am more full prepared for the impending zombpocalypse (because let’s be real folks…we’re skating on thin ice here). I am far from an obsessed gun enthusiast, but let’s face facts here: I am an Army Officer and guns ARE bad ass.

        College towns are a wonderful thing found outside the city. New York City has it’s own feel (rightfully so…more on that later), and probably has more colleges per square mile than any other city in the country (don’t quote me on that one), but still, those colleges are enveloped into the culture that is New York. A college town is a town that exists solely for that college (may seem obvious, but the extent and which they go is amazing). If the sports teams win, the town is up, if they lose, the town is down. Everywhere. In Columbus, GA, I was 40 minutes from Auburn University, 3 hours from UGA and now I live on the front stoop of K State. There’s always a party going on, beer is $2 a pint, and new girls rotating in and out every 6 months. I’m a single guy, what can I say? Girls play a heavy part in my analysis (more on that later).

        Now for more opportunity costs. Well, the distance between locations and lack of public transportation (or reliable cab services…I swear if I win the lotto tomorrow I’ll open up a cab service in Manhattan, KS that will actually show up when you call them and make a million dollars) and “small town syndrome” definitely come into play. Also, the lack of stores available in my area depresses me. I’m used to being able to get what I want, when I want it, usually no further than the bodega on my street corner. For example, if I want to go to a Dick’s Sporting Goods, I need to drive an hour. I’m not talking about the hour it takes you to get 15 miles from Queens to Brooklyn, I’m talking about a straight shot, unimpeded, doing 70mph on an open highway one hour travel time. That’s a lot of corn/wheat fields to drive through. Now, as for “small town syndrome” that comes into play with girls. Gentlemen, we’ve all gone out at night, chatted up some girl, gotten her number, only to realize that when you wait the requisite three days to call, she doesn’t pick up her phone. It’s not personal, just preference. I don’t like pepperoni on my pizza, some people do. You just weren’t her kind of slice. (SIDEBAR: There’s a ‘NY Style’ pizzeria in town, and I walked in and asked for a slice and a Sicilian slice. The girl looked at me and she said, ‘what kind of slice?’ Cherry pie! No, Einstein, I’m in a pizzeria, what kind of slice do you think I’m talking about! Anyway….) Now, generally, in NY, you can offset this occurrence by playing the Law of Averages. I’ve found that putting in a good, solid night of work in the City can yield at least 3 numbers per bar. I’ve found the ratio of women who give out their number to who actually want to pick up when you call is about 3:1. Now, when you live in a city that holds 20 million people during the day, and have 8 million that reside inside it’s respective boundaries, this is not a Herculean task. It is in Manhattan….Kansas. You need to pick your target early and put in work all night, and still you risk the 3:1 ratio, this time, you’re the 1, not the 3. The ever changing supply of girls that are tied to each semester helps, but all in all, it’s still a small town with a finite number of bars, each with an established crowd. On the up side, the great part about being an active duty military officer in a college town is that it’s like I’m in college all over again, except this time I have money!

        However, small town syndrome just doesn’t stop at target selection. What happens when you succeed? I was dating this girl when I first got here for about a month. We had a mutual “break up” (we weren’t really dating). Three days later, I walk into a bar-grill to get my bacon cheeseburger on when I see her sitting at the table closest to the bar with her father and boyfriend (we broke up because she told me she had a boyfriend and didn’t want to be a “cheater” anymore…classy). So, it was awkward to say the least. Did I leave? No. I asked her how the fuck she was doing, loudly, then ordered my burger because that shit is delicious. That kind of stuff doesn’t really happen in NY, unless you have a local haunt that you both mutually met at or something, at which point that bar becomes a child in a custody battle.

        As for me being a city-centric person, I would definitely say that’s true. I’ve flown into the Chicago Airport and out of it without de-planing, so that’s my experience with that town, but it’s on my to-do list. That being said I’ve been to Atlanta, GA; St. Louis Misery (spelled correctly, by the way); Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Dublin, Ireland; Rome, Florence, Venice, Italy; and Sydney, Melbourne of Australia. I’ve seen my fair share of cities around the country and world and I can tell you that they don’t compare to NY.

        Now, that may not be fair, but let me explain. Each city has it’s own unique feel. Every city I mentioned is pretty much exactly how you picture it in your mind from TV, books, pictures and art history/architecture classes. Each is unique and each has denizens equally proud of it’s rich history and traditions.

        Of all the cities on that list, no other city boasts having the prides of all of them, as well as a fair shake of the authentic denizens that have emigrated to one of the five boroughs. NYC has a rich tapestry of history, ranging from our 400+ year history. We have old money from the Dutch, a solid working class that grew out of the trades in the Industrial Revolution, waves and waves of immigrant stock ebbing and flowing, and an upper-middle class that are now the money mavens and pioneers of industry. These classes and peoples have ebbed and flowed over the centuries to create a city that is unmatched and unparalleled anywhere in the world.

        No where else in the world can you visit the rest of the world’s cultures on $2.25 and a train ride. No one else understands the grandiosity of our buildings. No one understands the pace in which we speak. And no one, but no one, understands a NY minute.

  4. You New Yorkers need to get over yourself. I’ve been there numerous times. Its a cesspool.

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