City living

Tim Waltman
33 W 71st Street   photo: Tim Waltman

The debate between city living or living in the suburbs is an on-going one: ultimately its all about match-making. Some people living in the suburbs would never live in the city in a million years, and visa versa. Then there are those in-between. Most people I speak to love both. Here are the attributes of city-living that will keep cities growing and thriving:

  • JOBS: Cities attract and concentrate commerce. City economies are often larger than an entire state or country’s economy. A large thriving economy creates a wide variety of jobs. Cities create more higher paying jobs. Career opportunity is a great attractor.
  • CONVENIENCE: Need some Haagen Dazs at 2am? A 3 minute walk to a local bodega is often the answer. A cab? Raise your hand! UBER? 2 minutes away….
  • WALKABILITY: Whenever I go Upstate to our country house, I drive almost everywhere for everything. I monitor my daily city walking and I average around 3 miles daily…..when driving, this drops radically. Walking is wonderful: it allows you to see, experience, think….and it burns calories  and keeps us fit!
  • CULTURE: Culture gravitates towards cities as it attracts both locals and tourists. The variety and volume of cultural institutions and activities in art, music and otherwise cannot be beaten. Its a massive draw.
  • SIMPLIFICATION: Yes, you mostly get less space for your money in a city….but we have entered an era where ‘experience’ trumps ‘excess stuff’. A simplified life can be a very healthy one.
  • MASS TRANSPORTATION: Sharing a ride is not only great for the environment, it also allows you to avoid traffic. A subway ride is often significantly faster than a car ride….and you can glue your eyes to your phone without blinking! Mass transportation is mostly cheaper than driving yourself. I love the concept of sharing cars… we really need cars sitting idling in front of buildings or left unused 80% of the time? Zip cars are a great alternative.
  • PEOPLE: Cities draw a wide variety of people from many parts of the state, country and planet…..the larger the variety the more interesting the mix is. Multiple cultures fuel one another and provide stimulation and interest. Cities attract tourists from far off places: their stories are new and stimulating. Diversity breeds innovation. Lots of people allows for incredible networking opportunities to build great friendships and business relationships…..and find love!
  • ECO-AWARENESS:  Those who live in the suburbs account for 50% of the US’s household carbon footprint, even though they are home to less than half of the U.S. population. Suburbanites drive more, consume more goods and use more electricity, gas and water.
  • SHARING CULTURE:  In the city I share a gym, pool, doorman, etc with 200+ other people in my building.
  • ENERGY: Walking down a city street, the pulse and energy of the surroundings fuel me with energy, excitement and raise my awareness of many lifestyles and people and places. All of this fuels more energy.
  • SHOPPING:  Yes, suburban malls have superb shopping options, but nothing can beat a big city for variety and competitiveness that also drives value and more interesting, specialized and unusual offerings.
  • TIME IS THE LAST LUXURY: Anything that saves a human being time to allow you to do the things you really want to do, that you never have time for, is the ultimate luxury. City concentrations are capable of saving lots of time.
  • DELIVERY: Yes, you can have lots of stuff delivered in the suburbs…..but nothing compares to a city’s delivery speed and variety. Now a host of services are available for delivery at great speed including dog-walking services, massages, you name it!
  • ENTERTAINMENT: From a bowling alley to a cabaret, to a musical, symphony, indoor rock climbing, a golf driving range, eclectic movies, live rock bands, and every imaginable creative outlet, cities are entertaining.
  • HEALTH CARE: Cities often have the best medical services anywhere, with high levels of specialization concentrated and easily accessible.
The debate between the Suburbs or the city will rage on forever….I have found the perfect solution: why not both? Every time I am in the city I yearn for the countryside, and once up in the peace and quiet of the countryside I long for the hustle and bustle of the city. Some suburbs are becoming interesting weekend home destinations. An apartment in the city with a weekend home in the Hampton’s, Upstate New York, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Virginia Beach, Napa Valley, Aspen, etc?…..too much of a good thing is WONDERFUL!