This post will piss off the pro-NYC people on WSO, of which there are many. Let me preface by saying that NYC is a great city in many ways. The opportunities, diversity, culture, etc., are awesome. And it's a truly unique city in many ways. Having said that, unless you're wealthy, you have to stare at reality in the face. This is especially true for those of us who will be leaving b-school with massive debt and will most likely have to live in NYC due to work. At what point do you say "enough is enough! NYC is great in many ways, but economically it's not rational to live here."
The city rips us off in many ways:
1. 4% city tax on top of like a 8% state tax. Yes, California and Illinois have high state taxes, but they don't have a city tax. Even if you're making only $100K in NYC, you will be paying aroud an additional $350 per month just in city tax.
2. Rent: the rent in NYC is absolutely ludicrous. Much of the higher prices is due to the fact that there's more money in the city, but a lot of it is due to stupid liberal housing policies such as 80/20 and price stabilization. Not being able to get a decent 1-bedroom in a highrise building in Manhattan for under $3K is mind boggling.
3. Food and drinks are considerably more expensive across all spectrum, not just the upper end. For instance, chipotle in NYC Is 30% more expensive in NYC than other major cities.
4. Public transportation is very extensive in NYC, but using subway and buses are a terribly unpleasant experience, especially during the summer. Try waiting for a subway in an underground station during the summer and you will get a feel for what hell on earth is like. Buses are insanely slow moving, and it can take 30 minutes to just go like 5 blocks.
5. Post-MBA jobs pay the same in NYC as in other cities. Companies do not offer a higher base salary for the NYC office despite the higher cost of living and taxes.
When you combine all of this, I cannot help but think that NYC is a ripoff and not worth it unless you're EXTREMELY well off. And by this I mean consistently making $500K+/year.