I can speak from direct experience b/c I grew up in NYC and have only moved to the 'burbs of CNJ just a few yrs ago. NYC is expensive but culturally, nothing in the world can compare. And despite it's expense, there are so many cheap and free things to do there too. There is something to be said about living in a place that allows you to have the "world" at your fingertips. Your children will grow up learning about social, religious, racial and cultural acceptances in a way that is only possible in NYC. There are so many things to do- museums, libraries, street fairs on the weekends, Yankee Stadium, Central Park, restuarants to suit your every craving, public transportation, awesome tap water, Broadway, bagels, pizza, hotdog stands, stores big and small, the Bronx Zoo, well the lists goes on and on. It would take at least a lifetime to experience all the things NYC has to offer! One of the best things about NYC is the fact that kids grow up with the kind of "street smarts", common sense, and independence that will carry them throughout thier lives. There's a reason why despite the expenses, overcrowding, and overall craziness that is New York why so many people around the world still want to come and live there. NY forces a kind cool, tough (not mean), go get them, don't let anything/one stop me kind of spirit that's smart and resilient. NYC can also foster a genorous and hardworking spirit that will make any parent proud. You can see the worst things, and yet, still find some of the nicest people everyday. As you can see, I have strong NYC pride, and even though I grew up in a working poor home, my life was full of adventure and at the end of the day, I lacked for nothing. My husband and I wouldn't trade our upbringing for anything. Like the song goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere... Now that I live in Suburbia, I realize that once I have my own children, I will have to make a real effort to provide them with the types of opportunities for enrichment and social skills that I always took for granted growing up. Surburbia is nice too, don't get me wrong, space and quiet is always welcomed, but no matter where my life takes me, there will always be a part of my heart that will wish my kids grew up in NYC. My advice, if you can, try it out for a year or two, and if it doesn't work out, you can always move to the outer bouroughs of Manhattan and very easily into Westchester County where access to the city is very easy. I don't know your budget, but I grew up, went to school, and worked all over Manhattan, but my favorite part is still the UES. Inwood and Riverside is nice and Spanish Harlem is becoming a new hotspot as well... Central NJ is lovely, especially Princeton, Hopewell, and Plainsborough- lots of green and space but within easy acess to the city too. Good luck on your move!