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Ten Reasons Why New York is a Great Place to Live if You're a Divorced Parent
By Jeannie O'Conor

Sure, it's the most expensive city in the world, but there are advantages to living here that you can't get in the 'burbs. Your kids will learn not to take shit from anyone, and they will grow up worldly and sophisticated and won't be pussies. But that's not all! Here are ten more reasons you should sell your Volvo station wagon, donate your Lilly Pulitzer crap to the Goodwill, pawn your engagement ring and get your ass to New York City, Honey!

10. Great thrift shops: In the fancy neighborhoods, like the Upper East Side, posh ladies take their stuff and donate it to church thrift shops. So you can outfit yourself with a cashmere twinset of the finest quality for $20. Housing Works, the AIDS charity store, has great furniture and kitchenware- along with great men's teeshirts for your son- you can use for the apartment that you used up your decorating budget for by paying the real estate agent's fee.

9. Dollar-a-slice pizza: Feed your whole family for under $5 if you make them drink tap water (which you should, so they won't be spoiled by the environment-ruining scam of bottled water). Plus New York has the best pizza anywhere- even the dollar slices.

8. Other single mothers who are less likely to be stupid and/or boring: Ever been stuck in a horrible, boring playgroup with mothers who made you want to poke out your eyes with a stick? All of those mothers live in New Jersey or Connecticut. The mothers at my school are all fascinating, interesting, intelligent creatures whose company I actively seek out.

7. No driving: Not only do you not have to shlep anybody through heavy traffic to 12 different lessons/games/practices, but your 16-year old won't drive (drunk) and neither will her friends. They will, however, be that kid in your dorm who didn't drive because he grew up in New York. This will not matter to you because your kid will be safe from the #1 cause of death among teenagers.

6. Cheap, accessible eyebrow threading: My friend lives in Florida and has to drive 30 minutes to pay $18 for eyebrow threading; this is unacceptable. Eyebrow threading- performed exclusively by polite Indian women- will become important to you in your 40s, when your skin loses elasticity and you don't want your lids to get pulled every which way by hot wax. You will not be able to pluck effectively because of age-related macular degeneration. You will need the cheap threading that I have access to on every block - for $5 - in New York.

5. Central Park: Designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, this is my favorite place on earth. It has woods, meadows, the Swedish House, a Merry Go Round, tennis courts that will cost your kid $10 a season, a zoo, an ice rink and a swimming pool. And you can creep your out-of-town guests out by showing them the tree where the Preppie Murder happened.

4. Excellent, efficient public transportation: Part of the reason you don't have to drive them is that there's an excellent subway and bus system that is not subject to the rules of traffic. Oh, you say the President's in town and Fifth Avenue is shut down and there are no taxis to be found? No problem- the 4 train will get you downtown in 10 minutes. Also, your kid can start using it in 6th Grade [this is the generally accepted age, though many daring parents do it earlier]. My kid went to school in the West Village and we lived on the Upper East Side. I used to have to take two trains with her in the morning and again in the afternoon until I realized that I could put her on the Fifth Avenue Limited bus with a bunch of maids and French people and civilized businessmen. She got dropped off a block from her school, and from then on the worst commute-related problem I had was explaining to her what "Boy Butter" was after she saw it in store windows on Sixth Avenue.

3. Museums: Holden Caulfield spoke of the comforting immutability of the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History; now your children too can see what gorillas look like in their natural habitat, and you won't have to feel as guilty that they don't spend as much time in the country as you'd like. Also, you can snicker together sophomorically at the bare-breasted tribeswomen with grass skirts.

2. Qi gong massage on every block: I don't need the fancy cucumber water or waffle-weave bathrobes. The miniature Chinese lady at the Qi Gong place across the street from my apartment calls her husband when she sees me coming because she knows I need his man-strength to knead out the knots I get in my shoulders from hunching over my computer screen like I am now. Plus they have ridiculous prices- 32 minutes for $28, and sometimes they put those hot stones on your back. And it's CLEAN.

1. Cultural, ethnic, and culinary diversity: Your children will have friends of every possible shade, creed, and orientation. My daughter has two gay boyfriends and one who is trans, and my son's best friends are French, Jamaican, and Armenian. We moved from a place where there was ONE African-American kid, partially because I didn't want my kids growing up to be jerks.

Other articles by: Jeannie O'Conor...
 
On the highway of life, there's nothing like a little relationship road kill to get you to slow down and pay attention. What can we learn from others? Sometimes the best break-up authority isn't an authority at all. Let's check out these lessons from people who've been in your shoes, and who have lived to tell.