New York City has one of the country’s largest single populations in the country, but if they want a social life, they have their own brand of Los Angeles-style traffic woes.
Los Angeles has the palm trees, the sunshine and the surf. We also have the freeways, that dizzying network of connectivity that seems to consume so much of our time and energy. For most of us who dwell in the City of Angels, being single and dating — or doing just about anything — means hopping in the car, hurrying up and waiting in traffic, and spending at least 45 minutes to get just about anywhere.
Well, what if you’re single and live in the Big Apple? When you live in the city that never sleeps, there’s a vast array of places to go and people to meet. Your next date can be just around the corner. But as property prices soar, New Yorkers are sacrificing the convenience and élan of Manhattan to move to the suburbs — many transit stops and even hours away from the convenience of living in NYC proper. As fans of Sex in the City might know, Manhattan is — or was — the “only” New York. When show character Miranda wanted to move to Brooklyn, just across the bridge, Charlotte, Samantha and Carrie were horrified.
However, these days, many singles and young professionals are not only moving to other boroughs, they are creating new havens of culture and activity in what was once the place for working class families. Previously “un-cool” areas like Astoria, Clinton Hill, Washington Heights, Bushwick or East Williamsburg are booming since gentrified areas like the East Village have become unaffordable for anyone making less than six figures.
But with the advantage of affordability comes the drawback of some serious commuting time, not only for work, but for a social life as well. With most New Yorkers still preferring public transportation to the hassle of car ownership, a date can involve several hours of travel time.
For singles, dating people in other boroughs or far-reaching areas of the city can be problematic. “Geographically undesirable” is a term we have often heard in Los Angeles, and in New York it’s commonly used for anyone who lives two or more transfers away on public transportation.
Marc Higby, who lives in Morningside Heights says, “I’ve been in relationships where I might have stuck with them longer if they had lived closer. But the fact that it took me two trains and a bus to get home, well, didn’t seem worth pursuing.”
Angela Warton, who lives in Astoria, Queens says, “I usually take a bag of clothes with me to work as I know if I am going to go out in the evening, there is no way I can stop back home to change.”
Dates often take on the challenge to meet in the city. But if things go beyond a date or two, the logistics become complicated should the parties involved want to make dinner together — or more. It things get serious, it often makes more sense to move to closer neighborhoods, as Ava Masser and boyfriend Brian Tran did when she moved from Astoria to Park Slope, around the corner from Jeff.
Thankfully when there is a will, there is a way and many singles are finding ways to keep their dating life alive despite the inconveniences of commuting, in their new communities. They also find other delightful fringe benefits, such as larger accommodations for less money, friendly neighborhoods, more relaxed environment ― and less crime. An attractive deal, all around.
A Few Facts About Being Singular in NYC
There are 3.8 million single people in New York City (more than the entire population of Chicago).
52.7 percent of people over age 18 in New York City are single and 37.3 percent have never been married. This compares to 40 percent of the people in the U.S. being single and 25 percent never married.
Manhattan still has the highest share of singles: 61.4 percent. And 45.9 percent of those over 18 have also never been married.
The Bronx follows Manhattan in number of singles: 57.6 percent and 41.6 percent never married. Next is Brooklyn with 52.4 percent single and 37 percent never married.
More than 555,000 single people in New York City, age 20 to 44, live with their parents (305,000 of those are men).
Outlying districts, such as Park Slope, have high percentages of singles — 59 percent or 58,000 individuals.
The Upper West Side and Upper East Side have the lowest concentration of singles — 60 percent and 53 percent respectively – but still high compared with other cities in the United States.
The largest numbers of single people in Manhattan are found in Washington Heights and
Inwood — almost 110,000 individuals.