NYC ranking No. 96? I really don’t think so

Did you ever wish you lived in Albany instead of New York City?

Me neither.

But according to U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Places to Live in the USA” list, Albany is a much better place to reside than here.

Based on a number of factors, including a high quality of life, the magazine’s inaugural 100 best big cities list places New York in the bottom five (96th), while Albany ranks 36th, 60 points ahead of us.

Have you ever been to Albany? Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch said living in Albany was a “fate worse than death.”

I wouldn’t go that far, but I once spent four crushingly boring days there, and kissed the ground in front of Carmine’s in Manhattan when I returned.

Fayetteville, Arkansas, is ranked at No. 3, trailing only Denver (No. 1) and Austin, Texas (No. 2). Rated highly because of its close proximity to Walmart headquarters, Fayetteville resonates with the Walmart cheer. (“Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L!”)

Give me a break. OK, NYC is less affordable, but does Fayetteville really better fit the magazine’s other criteria, such as transit options, crime and overall quality of life?


We have the nation’s only 24/7 subway system, and one of the lowest crime rates of any big city in the nation. Not to mention the best music, theater, museums and, yes, affordable restaurants — if you know where to go.

Meanwhile, clocking in at No. 40 is Palm Bay-Melbourne, Florida. I recently spent time in the area. Leading off the 11 o’clock news was a story about a guy who threw a live, 3 1⁄2-foot alligator through a Wendy’s drive-through window. The alligator-hurler’s mom said he was just a “prankster.” This kind of thing happens so often down there that they’ve coined a generic name for such imbeciles: “Florida man.”

Call me provincial, but compared with that, I’ll take our rats, squirrels and the guy who walks around Central Park with a profanity-spewing parrot on his head.

Why do reports like this often undervalue and diminish New York City? I have a hunch. Give me an E! Give me an N! Give me a V! Give me a Y!

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.