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NYC: The High, the Lows, and Why it’s Worth It

Why NYC it is a city that cannot be stopped.

Say what you will about New York City but there is one undeniable truth: it is a city that cannot be stopped. Is it the best city in the world or simply one of the top 10 cities in the world? Well, recently NYC was ranked the 3rd best city in the world for 2024.

Wherever it ranks, why New York City always comes out on top, despite some very vocal naysayers, is an interesting story. Understanding why it is home to world class entertainment, museums, restaurants, and global businesses, which epitomize its reputation, is quite simple. The heart and soul of this great city distilled to its essence, is simply the never-ending triumph of creativity, hope and hard work over adversity.

Recent world events gave the city a pandemic, which rendered the streets empty, and businesses shuttered. Less than 20 years earlier a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers shattered the notion that we as New Yorkers are safe in our hometown from a foreign attack. Yet in each instance New Yorkers do what they always do, they paused, came together to take care of their communities, and bravely moved forward creating an even better and more vibrant city.

The confluence of opportunity and creativity with a side of urgency fuels our nation’s greatest city. It is the place where people from all over the world come to make their dreams come true by becoming the very highest and best versions of themselves. It is all there for the taking for those who are willing to be tested again and again and persevere anyway.

NYC is a tough task master for all its inhabitants. Everyone is challenged to see how much of themselves they will give to achieve their loftiest goals. From the streets of the Bronx where Hip Hop was born, to the titans of Wall Street dominating global finance and the real estate developers who built Billionaires Row, these disparate dreamers have shown us that the sky is truly the limit.

The palpable energy of New York City’s streets is a chaotic blend of soaring spirits, unbridled creativity, and the very tragic reality of the human condition. It is all there, all the time — the highs, and the lows, completely unfiltered.

One of the most developed cities in the world, it can be overwhelming to the newest transplants. Moving to NYC? The top NYC real estate agents are adept at helping newcomers’ transition when it comes to finding housing. Whether you are transitioning from a dorm room or downsizing from a large rambling house, navigating the search to find a home is daunting. There are inherent challenges to vertical living and the competition for the most desirable apartments always yields a higher price.

Let us start with the choices: upper west side condos for sale, Carnegie hill condos, Murray Hill condos for sale or even condos in Harlem. They are all condos in New York City so they must all be the same, right? Yes and no.

Here is why. Apart from being in different neighborhoods offering different choices for nearby shopping, transportation, restaurants and parks, the types of available buildings are quite different in each neighborhood. The biggest developers are always creating a better building than the last one they built to include the latest technologies and trends in living styles to elevate our daily lives.

For example, the upper west side has seen a huge amount of new development condos built in the past 20 years, offering not only a wide range of price options but also living styles, from the shining, glass towers of the Time Warner residences at 25 Columbus Circle with views of the park to a stylish conversion of a Rosario Candela prewar building at 360 Central Park West.

In Murray Hill many of the large towers with the services and amenities that can compete with the newer buildings offer more value options. Partly this is due to the number of apartments which require renovations. This is even true at The Corinthian, a grand building well known for its proximity to the United Nations and Grand Central Terminal. There they recently undertook a multimillion-dollar renovation of their amenity floor which includes sweeping views of the city, a gym, indoor pool, a business center along with an outdoor running track.

Harlem offers a different and no less interesting development story. Many of the condos in Harlem were built between 2004 and 2018. During this 16-year stretch developers took advantage of the 421a tax abatement which not only helped their spreadsheets but also gave the new condo owners a tax break anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five years. Lower land prices and lower taxes yielded new condos for sale at attractive prices. The developers wisely incorporated one more element of affordability by building more efficient floor plans to keep the total purchase price down.

For example, you may find a 1,200 – 1,400 square foot two-bedroom floor plan in a Carnegie Hill or upper west side condo but in Harlem they rarely exceed 1,000 square feet. I remember one buyer who came from the Upper East side to Harlem who had a panic attack when she did her final walkthrough. Having purchased from a floor plan while the building was under construction, she did not anticipate how much smaller the rooms would be.

Yet ten years later she still lives in her apartment and is incredibly happy. The proliferation of new condo buildings in Harlem allowed many New Yorkers who may have otherwise been forced to leave the city to stay at a more approachable price than their downtown neighbors without sacrificing comfort.

So is NYC the best city in the world, the third best city in the world or simply one of the top ten cities in the world? I will leave that to you to decide for yourself because it is not for everyone. I can tell you those of us who love New York and keep making our dreams come true here every day would not trade it for anywhere else in the world!