Living in a Tourist City


Britney Hoobraj, Staff Writer

New York City. The Big Apple. The City of Dreams.

People know New York City as Time Square, 9/11, the fashionable 5th Ave, and other places. Many think New York City is just Manhattan; however, there are five boroughs that make up what New York City is.

As a New Yorker, I currently live in Queens where I see tourist coming into New York from JFK airport. Just by observing them, they usually seem unsure of where to go and which side they should get on the trains. The tourists seem unsure of how to use a Metro Card or even how to put money onto it. At times I wonder what goes through their minds when traveling to a very crowded city.

Manhattan is a place that many people that are from different boroughs, even countries work in, drive through and the streets are filled with fast pace New York people that are trying to get from Point A to Point B with time to spare. (Well, that is what I do.) Usually with my spare time from getting from one place to another, I use it to get coffee and/or breakfast. Like the rest of the people, we all probably likely think the same. I and others can spend the entire extra time waiting on line just to try order. (This is me apologizing to those I’ve probably have pushed by accident. Sorry!)

Taking the subway is the best way to go to any place in Manhattan or from the other boroughs. Yes, many people hate taking public transportation because they find it to be disgusting. So do I but it is reliable. I rather be on the train than being stuck in New York traffic and/or a yellow cab. Some times if traffic is so bad, it could take you over 10 minutes trying to get through one avenue or street while driving. (Who the hell wants to deal with New York taxi drivers?!)

Where I live, there is not much to see in Queens; however, living in Queens means not living with Manhattan traffic. The streets are not crowded. It does not stink of hot garbage. To me, Queens allows me to breathe and let go of whatever commotion is going on in the city. Yes, living in Queens means that I live further out of Manhattan and have to travel into the city via the train and bus. But it is totally worth it. Have you seen the prices to live in Manhattan?! To me, it makes no sense to pay so much money to live in Manhattan. Yes, one can say that it’s easy access to whatever shopping that needs to be done. But is it really worth it?

In the New York Times article entitled, What Is Middle Class in Manhattan written by Amy O’Leary says, “The average Manhattan apartment, at $3,973 a month, costs almost $2,800 more than the average rental nationwide. The average sale price of a home in Manhattan last year was $1.46 million, according to a recent Douglas Elliman report, while the average sale price for a new home in the United States was just under $230,000. The middle class makes up a smaller proportion of the population in New York than elsewhere in the nation. New Yorkers also live in a notably unequal place. Household incomes in Manhattan are about as evenly distributed as they are in Bolivia or Sierra Leone — the wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites make 40 times more than the lowest fifth, according to 2010 census data.”

Amy O’Leary continues to say that, “Manhattan’s middle class exists somewhere between $45,000 and $134,000. But if you are defining middle class by lifestyle, to accommodate the cost of living in Manhattan, that salary would have to fall between $80,000 and $235,000. This means someone making $70,000 a year in other parts of the country would need to make $166,000 in Manhattan to enjoy the same purchasing power. Using the rule of thumb that buyers should expect to spend two and a half times their annual salary on a home purchase, the properties in Manhattan that could be said to be middle class would run between $200,000 and $588,000. On the low end, the pickings are slim. The least expensive properties are mostly uptown, in neighborhoods like Yorkville, Washington Heights and Inwood. The most pleasing options in this range, however, are one-bedroom apartments not designed for children or families. It is not surprising, then, that a family of four with an annual income of $68,700 or less qualifies to apply for the New York City Housing Authority’s public housing.”

Being from New York City, everything is fast paced. Tourists seem to not understand that at times. There have been times when a tourist has walked in front of me trying to point out the different buildings that they have probably have seen in their guidebooks. To myself, “I’ve seen this building over hundred times. MOVE ASIDE!” There have been times when I probably seem rude to them since some of them do not speak English or know how to use Google Maps to get to their destination.

So would you give up your life to live in Manhattan or live in another borough?