Monday, March 9, 2009

Are You a Happy New Yorker?

The New York Times recently published a city survey of 25,000 New Yorkers rating their quality of life. Not surprisingly, if you're wealthy, your quality of life in this city is better and you're a happier New Yorker than if you're poor. Also, the wealthy tend to live in Manhattan so that (again, no shock) is the happiest borough of the five. The Bronx is the poorest, and the least happy.

There was one big surprise in this survey: people generally find city government to be responsive to their concerns and needs. Again, the wealthy feel that the gubment is more responsive than poor people but basically New Yorkers feel positively about City Hall.

Well, that's nice. But since this is a city survey, I think that makes this finding a bit suspect.

So what is a good quality of life in NYC?

Tom Wolfe once said that New Yorkers live here for many reasons but quality of life most certainly isn't one of them.

My opinion? "Quality of life" is a slippery phrase. If your idea of quality of life is being able to afford a big house, own multiple cars, and live in peace and quiet then no, NYC doesn't offer much of that.

And yet ... if you're idea of quality of life is being surrounded by the greatest culture in the world, the most diverse and dynamic population in the world, the best economic opportunities in the world, and a place where all your hopes and dreams can come true ... then there's no better place than NYC. That, for me, is the best quality of life on the face of the planet -- and NYC has it better than anyplace else.

My biggest complaint of quality of life in NYC? Obvious: transportation. There are WAY TOO MANY DAMN CARS IN THIS TOWN! Thanks to you-know-who, public transportation in this city is totally inadequate for its needs. If I had that magic wand, I'd wave it and solve all our city's transportation problems: more subways, better bus routes, and congestion pricing. Ah, Mr NYC can dream can't he?

Dreams, after all, is what this city is all about!

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