20 Reasons To Be Glad You’re Raising A Kid In NYC

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



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.


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

cherry blossoms

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.


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.


Maria Guido

Everyone does it.

7. The Temple of Dendur



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.


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.


Maria Guido

Look at this kid.

13. Events for kids are always wildly attended.


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.


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


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.


Maria Guido

It really, really is.

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  • Paul White

    Too many people. I get tense here in Amarillo cause it’s got so many people. Oklahoma City is enough that I need a day or three to recover from it.

  • Angela

    Some of those look amazing, but it could never be for me. I know this makes me so uncool but I love our quiet suburban life. I love that my kids have a yard with a swing set and sand box. I love it that we’re not fighting crowds wherever we go and most of all I love that we can afford to live here without all being crammed into a 1 bedroom.

    • Guest

      I have to agree. I LOVED visiting New York and can’t wait to go back but it just feels so cramped. I need space to have a yard and a large enough home… I just can’t do apartments. Also, when I was there my asthma was horrendous and I had a constant sore throat literally until I got home which sucked. I do think it would be super fun as a college kid or something to spend a year or two here though.

    • Williwaw

      Me too. It looks like a fun place to visit (my sister loved it when she lived there awhile) but I like being able to drive a couple minutes and get into total wilderness, getting bears in my backyard, being close to both mountains and ocean. I am definitely a west coaster.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I totally see your point, but the beauty of NYC being so huge is that there are parts of the city where this isn’t the case. I live on the butt-end of Queens, and sometimes it’s a pain to get to “the city” (which is what we tend to call Manhattan), but I still get all the perks of NYC living without paying a billion bucks for a closet. My rent is comparable to Long Island (cheaper than many towns out there) and it’s huge by NYC standards.

  • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

    So Collapsing Buildings ain’t one of them?

    Also, when do we get your “20 Reasons To Be Glad You’re NOT Raising A Kid In Florida”?

  • Brittany Anne

    Thank you thank you thank you for this. I live in Texas right now, but my husband is starting law school in the fall, and it’s looking very likely that we’ll be in New York for the next three years. I’m trying to look at it as an adventure (rather than freaking the eff out, which was my first response), and this helps a little.

  • Bethany Ramos

    I have such a hard-on? for NY. I visited once and had the greatest time and it was just like tv made it out to be and I’m also watching Real Housewives of NY right now. That is all. :)

  • Lee

    This all looks awesome and your pictures are great! Lately, I keep thinking how amazing it would be to raise my boy in the city. We are only a short walk and a 40 minute train ride away from Chicago but it just isn’t the same. We keep talking about picking up and moving to San Fransisco but it just doesn’t seem practical to move somewhere just because we love it at this stage in life. Sigh.

  • RayneofCastamere

    Awwwwww! From the back, your son looks like my little baby cousin!

  • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

    I miss New York so much! I lived there for about 7 years. If I were rich, I’d live there forever. I’m in a perfect idyllic little German Epcot village right now, and I kind of hate it because it’s not New York. (Or Tokyo, or London, or Paris.) Cities are just where it’s at.

  • Megan Zander

    This post makes me feel like I’m stalking Maria a little bit, because we are going into the city this weekend and flying to Florida on Monday. I haven’t been to New York since before the boys were born, and this post just got me super excited to go!!

  • Lackadaisical

    It looks a fun place to live and grow up, and the photos of your son enjoying New York are lovely. I have always wanted to visit it and it is definitely top of my list of places to see if and when I get to visit America. Very different to the tiny city of York (the old one) I currently live in, which I could easily come up with 20 good reasons for but is so very different. Some of the things you listed remind me of my own early childhood in London and how much I missed the vibrancy and bustle when my family moved out.

  • AE Vorro

    Hells to the yeah!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Aw. Other than the completely nyc-only things (that carousel, etc), a lot of this stuff is true for my city, Toronto – good food, free concerts, cool stuff for kids). I love raising my kid in a big city! Thankfully apartments are bigger here than Manhattan though. I had a friend tell me he and his wife ‘had to move to the burns because it’s just wrong to raise a child downtown’ even though he knew full well that I was planning on doing just that. Ugh. Say it’s not for you, say you would find it hard, whatever, but there’s no need to shit on me about it. I grew up in the burns and the thought of living there myself makes me shudder, but I get why it works for some people.

    • Natasha B

      We live outside Minneapolis/St Paul (10/15min ride in,depending on traffic) and even though it’s not NYC, it’s amaaaazing. Good food, free concerts, museums and art institutes, diversity…I love whenever we’re out we usually hear 5/6 different languages. We don’t live downtown, but I love raising my kids close enough that the big city is minutes away.

  • Asia Woodley

    My husband is from Brooklyn and I am from Jersey so a New Yorker by default lol. Nearly lived there on weekends during my early drinking years.We now reside in Jersey (much cheaper and still 20 min away from both our old stomping grounds so we are there every chance we get. And ALWAYS have the kids in tow, so that they learn to navigate the big city socially and technically and get to experience all of mommy and daddy’s favorite haunts. He eventually wants to settle in Park Slope Brooklyn, I’m waiting on this big money job that he thinks is going to support this dream.

  • AP

    These kids are so lucky! When I was growing up in Queens, my first two city lessons were “that’s peepee not water” and “if a man is following mommy we go in a store even if we don’t need to buy stuff.” My mom navigated the subway as a teen, and got mugged, groped, flashed, and offered drugs accordingly.

  • K.

    Sigh. I love NYC. I miss it. I sadly can’t afford it.

  • candyvines

    Nice photos, lady!

  • JD

    I am raising three kids in Brooklyn. This winter was tough with all the snow and a young infant and my husband and I found an amazing house for sale in NJ a block from my parents. But then last Saturday the weather was gorgeous and our neighborhood was so alive! We sat on the stoop drinking beer and watching all the kids on our block on their scooters and said, “What were we thinking?!?! We can never leave!”

    I absolutely love it here and feel like it is such a beautiful place to raise kids for all the reasons Maria stated. It helps that my husband’s family made smart real estate decisions long before this part of Brooklyn was rivaling Manhattan prices. So even though we have to live pretty frugally, paying less than market rent helps us make it work.

  • MikaelaWechsler

    The Kids are raising a happiness moment with Parents in the NYC.

  • Alex Lee


    He’s giving SOMEONE a hard (yet adorable) side-eye.

    I can’t comment on New York. My inner-Bostonian forbids it.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    These things are all awesome, I plan on taking my son to Jane’s Carousel this year and Prospect Park is great for their zoo, farmer’s market (lots of sweets too), outdoor space and playgrounds.
    I’ve tried bringing my almost 3 year old along to brunch at “cool” spots and it never works. He’s too active and noisy, we always wind up at Applebees or Buffalo Wild Wings anyway.

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    YES YES YES! I’m also a New Yorker (15 years and counting!) and I love raising my kids here. We moved away for a year and it wasn’t the same. I was so happy when our circumstances changed and we could come back.

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