City Mouse, Country Mouse

Once upon a time, having a child in New York City was synonymous with making plans to leave. It was unthinkable to raise a child in this dirty, crime-ridden town. But that sentiment changed over the last generation or so as the city itself did — as crime and dirt decreased dramatically and the public school system improved significantly,  through gifted and talented programs, charter schools and other options that offered a better quality of life.

Still — for many here as for numerous families elsewhere,  there remains the same pull: house, yard, and commuter train vs. little space but convenient access to work and activities.  This weekend, a New York Times article pointed out (I suspect to most readers’ surprise) that while buying a home in the nearby suburbs costs less, actually living in the suburbs is more expensive than living in New York City — 18% more costly, to be specific, once one calculates the dollars involved in maintaining a home vs. an apartment, and commuting, or the expense of buying a car and paying the insurance. This comparison excluded major but unpredictable suburban vs. city costs such as replacing roofs and furnaces.

Personally, I’m one of the diehards — a city girl born and bred, who never seriously considered moving out when my son was born, even though my husband’s job was in the suburbs and everyone we knew expected us to pull up stakes and find a place there.  Instead, we went to one sports game after another in city parks, took our son to art classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, introduced him to sushi at 4 (he hates McDonald’s) and spent time together at the theater, among other pursuits. For our family, city life was the right choice.

So I wonder, how many moms out there had to make a choice between city and suburbia/country when your kids were born? Why did you make the choice that you did? And how do you feel about it now?

For the complete New York Times article, click here.