On a surface level, New York City is known for its glittering skyline, towering buildings, and cinematic streets. However, the postcard version of the Big Apple isn’t all there is to it. Dig a little deeper and you’ll unearth the city’s creative side in all its raw, unfiltered glory.
For years, New York has been hailed as the epicenter for artistic norm-shakers and radical thinkers. Its esteemed array of residents include no less than the likes of Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, J.D. Salinger, and Stanley Kubrick. To this day, it continues to be a magnet for the ambitious and inspired. In fact, analysis by the Center for an Urban Future reveals that there are more artists living in the city today than ever before – approximately 55,000 to be exact.
Impressively, the creative economy flourishes despite the threats of gentrification and escalating housing prices. Yoreevo notes that the current average price of a New York home is over $1.12 million, which makes the Big Apple one of the most expensive cities to live in the world. However, that doesn’t seem to stop the starving artists and other aspiring creators.
1. The opportunities are here
We probably have Mad Men to thank for painting a picture of New York’s enigmatic advertising agency culture. Since the industry’s heyday in the ‘60s, the city catapulted to the top of every creative company’s office wish list.
Today, there’s no shortage of agencies big and small. An article on Awwwards outlines some of the best ones — from multinational players and boutique groups, to creative co-ops and independent studios. In the media world, you’ve got world-renowned publications like Buzzfeed, Vice, and Condé Nast. Even tech startups have started branching out of their Silicon Valley quarters to be here, adding more color to New York’s entrepreneurial landscape. And in the world of architecture, New York is home to some of the greats, such as SLCE Architects, Perkins Eastman, and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, as well as up-and-coming firms like MADE.
Whatever your field of expertise is or skill you want to hone, New York has the opportunities for you.
2. You meet the most interesting people
Immigrants are the bedrock of New York. People from all walks of life come here for a shot at their dreams. The exciting and sometimes chaotic energy is what makes the city, and everyone in it has an interesting backstory — just ask your cab driver who moved from South America or the barista who speaks five languages.
It isn’t easy to sustain a life in this city, so the creatives who live here are nourished by their relentless drive. The best part is that everyone understands and shares their slice of the challenge. New York creatives know the importance of networks, connections, and lifting each other up. That way, you’re never truly alone.
3. It’s a melting pot of culture
In New York, you’re always just one subway away from culture. Whether you’re looking to get your gallery fix at the Guggenheim or satisfy your jazz thirst at Blue Note, there’s always something happening. There are over 100 museums, more than 3,000 coffee shops, and 10,000 bars in the city. It’s hard to imagine you could even visit every place in one lifetime. But again, that’s what New York is for — imagination and dreaming.
4. You won’t run out of cool working spaces
It’s no secret that NYC is littered with cafés on every street, but if that’s not your cup of tea (or coffee), there are also a lot of co-working spaces around. Venture Fizz lists some of the most popular ones in the city, where caffeine runs on tap and the internet is aplenty. Perfect for digital nomads, freelancers, or anyone who operates better when immersed in that start-up passion.
5. There’s inspiration everywhere
Of course, there are other cities in the world that aren’t New York. While LA offers a slower pace and sunsets by the beach and Paris might give you elegance and an undeniable je ne sais quoi, New York is full of traffic jams, jackhammers on the street, and people shouting from apartment to apartment. But its residents wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s because on the other side of the coin, you’ve got ambition shooting through the sidewalks and a surplus of dreams. Every day is a shove outside your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what artists need to get them out of bed better than a shot of espresso can.
So if you’re a creative who feels stagnant, then let the city chew you up and spit you out a whole new person.