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Editorial: NYC's big challenge is to hold costs down

BAYONNE, NJ - OCTOBER 10: With the Statue

BAYONNE, NJ - OCTOBER 10: With the Statue of Liberty in the foreground, the New York City skyline is seen October 10, 2001 from Bayonne, New Jersey. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty/Justin Sullivan

If you live in New York, you are probably shelling out insane amounts of money for the bare basics of life, Forbes magazine proclaims.

Right. We know.

Food, gas, utilities, transportation, medical expenses -- their costs converge in a big ugly lump in our accounts payable every month and put us in an unfortunate tie with Honolulu for America's "Most Overpriced City" of 2014.

The upside for Honolulu? At least it was 80 degrees there Wednesday. The upside for New York City? At least we're not Singapore -- which The Economist newspaper of London calls the most expensive place in the world.

New York and Honolulu weren't the only ones singled out. While Long Island does better than the five boroughs on the Forbes list, its ranking as the sixth most-overpriced place in the nation isn't much to brag about. Forbes puts Long Island between San Jose, Calif. (fifth place), and San Francisco and Essex County, Mass. (tied for seventh).

True, salaries are higher in the New York region than in most other cities. And yes, prices are higher in New York, in part because -- for almost as many reasons as there are people here -- the city is seen as a desirable place to live.

Still, our exorbitant cost of living is a challenge.

Finding the money for a decent life after food, shelter and utilities are paid can be a rugged scramble.

For example: The city's median household income is more than $52,000 a year. And the average rent in the city is upward of $3,000 a month -- or $36,000-plus a year.

Which means?

Mayor Bill de Blasio must keep pushing forward with his plans to add 200,000 units of affordable housing across the city in the next decade.

The City University of New York must hold the line against heavy tuition increases while continuing to raise the bar in the system's 24 institutions.

And the struggling city public school system must find a surefire way to produce more college-ready grads.

There's no other choice. It's a tough world out there -- and the rent really is too damn high.


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