Living in NYC with a Family

If you’re planning on living in NYC with a family, there are several things you should think about before you call the moving trucks. Living in the city with kids demands special considerations people in other areas rarely have to concern themselves with.

If you’re planning on living in NYC with a family on board, you may be unfamiliar with the way things are done here. Even if you sowed your wild oats as a young New Yorker back in the day, it is a very different place now that you have a family. The change can be overwhelming for single people, so it’s downright startling for people coming to the city with kids in tow. If you’re moving here with wee ones, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Research Schools Before You Get Here

If you’ve even got an inkling that you’ll be moving to the Big Apple, start researching schools immediately, even if you’re a year out. If you’re looking into private or charter schools, reach out to the schools to find out their specific requirements for entry. If you’re planning on sending your kids to public schools, you’ll want to live in “zones” with good public schools. A zone is a designated area within a neighborhood. NYC has 32 school districts filled with hundreds of zones. Public schools exist within these zones, and kids living in those zones get to go to the public schools located there. Zoning rules are extremely strict, so if you’re going the public school route and you’re interested in a specific public school, you’ll need to be really careful about where you choose to live.

When speaking with a real estate professional about the neighborhoods that you’re interested in, ask about the zoned schools for that neighborhood. The NYC DOE won’t start the application process for your child until that child is officially a NYC resident., a comprehensive guide to the city’s public schools, is a fabulous resource for parents navigating the NYC public school system. If you’re interested in the city’s gifted and talented (G&T) programs, your child won’t be able to apply until he or she is officially a resident of NYC.

Find Family Friendly Neighborhoods

kids acting in a play nyc

Image Source: Flickr/Reni Lane

Certain NYC neighborhoods like Tribeca and the Upper East Side are tailor-made for families, loaded with great activities for kids and adults. Others may seem less kid-friendly. A good real estate professional knows neighborhoods in and out and can help steer you towards areas that work with your family’s emotional aesthetic. If you’ve got very little ones, you’ll want to find a home near great parks and playgrounds so that it’s easy to get the kids outdoors at a moment’s notice when you need them to burn off some energy. Parents may be looking for neighborhoods filled with amenities like great restaurants, gyms, and other places a parent needs to escape to for a little R&R.

Find Neighborhoods with Public Transportation

kids subway nyc parent

Image Source: Flickr/H.L.I.T.

If you don’t plan on having a car while living in NYC, you’re going to want to be as close to public transportation as possible, especially with kids. Keep access to subways and buses in mind when you’re choosing your family’s apartment. High school-aged kids being near the subway means getting to and from school and after-school activities is a cinch. Parents will be able to zip home after work if the commute is straightforward.

Find Out if Fido is Welcome

Many buildings in NYC have no-pet or strict pet policies. Find out a building’s pet policy before making the move with your pet. Some buildings allow dogs below a certain weight, while others only allow cats, so make sure you know the rules before plunking down your deposit.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Eden, Janine and Jim


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