They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and damn if it isn’t true. I was ready to leave New York when we did. With a toddler and a baby on the way, city life was just getting harder and harder. The reasons for leaving haven’t changed – so being there still wouldn’t make sense for us. But I really hope to return eventually. There are so many reasons New York is a great place to raise kids.

If you are living in New York City with small children and find yourself occasionally overwhelmed – here is a list of reasons why it’s great. Look it over, take a deep breath, and realize you are in an amazing place.

1. Jane’s Carousel

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A glass-encased carousel with a view of the Manhattan skyline. You’ve never seen a cooler one.

2. People usually get up for you on the subway when you have kids in tow.

Usually.

3. The blooming of the cherry blossoms in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

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Flickr/ vishpool

Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it – and the perfect place for a photo shoot if you can steal away from the crowd.

4. The coolest free concerts.

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Maria Guido

My son’s first concert was George Clinton. His second was Fishbone. Both free and both in a park. Here he is at Fishbone.

5. Your child is exposed to pretty much every culture there is.

This is probably my favorite part of life in the city.

6. No one looks at you weird if you take your baby to a bar in the daytime.

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Maria Guido

Everyone does it.

7. The Temple of Dendur

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Hanging out an Egyptian temple in a glass encased room in front of a reflecting pool in the Metropolitan Museum of art. Not a bad way to spend a day.

8. The Natural History Museum

Suggested entry fee. You could go here every week if you wanted – for free…

9. Speaking of museums, many entrance fees are “suggested,” so you can still go when you are broke.

I never felt guilty about this as I was paying crazy NYC taxes and there were plenty of paying tourists to make up for my lack of funds.

10. Most parks have fun sprinklers.

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Maria Guido

Summer in New York is a sticky mess, but these are the best.

11. You raise a foodie by default.

Kind of hard not to when your neighborhood coffee spot carries Balthazar croissants.

12. The amazing New York street style somehow transfers to your toddler – as does the attitude.

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Maria Guido

Look at this kid.

13. Events for kids are always wildly attended.

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Maria Guido

This is the stroller parking for the weekly kids’ concert that went on at my neighborhood park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

14. There are mom groups everywhere.

Just use Google mom (insert your neighborhood here). You’ll be amazed.

15. There’s always good coffee to keep you going on your walk.

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Maria Guido

Mmm. Coffee.

16. Having the NYC subway system figured out by the time you’re a tween is an amazing life-skill.

It truly is.

17. The lighting of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.

It’s magical.

18. Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Maria Guido

You get to soak up this view while your kid plays.

19. The Bronx Zoo

Your kid can be face-to-face with a tiger! (Behind glass obviously, but it’s the coolest exhibit.)

20. Brooklyn is just indescribably cool.

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Maria Guido

It really, really is.