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NYC or Cape Town?

NYC or Cape Town?

Old Aug 22nd 2014, 6:24 am
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Default NYC or Cape Town?

Hi,

My husband has been offered the opportunity to go to New York or Cape Town with his work. While they are both exciting prospects, they are also quite daunting as we have a week to make a decision and we have a 2 year old daughter. Could I please ask for some help on where would be good family communities to live in in either city? In NYC we d need to be in commuting distance of JFK airport. In Cape Town I don't think it's such an issue. My husband has been to both places but only for work so doesn't really know the areas well and I have never been to either. My priority is maintaining a good family lifestyle for our small daughter so places where activities and family things are available would suit us best. I hope this makes sense. We are ever so slightly overwhelmed by all this. Many thanks.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 11:34 am
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Your lifestyle choices and budget may swing one over the other. Do you prefer outdoor activities (beaches, hiking, etc.), or do you prefer cultural experiences (museums, theatre, art galleries)?

NYC has a much higher cost of living than CT. Would you plan on living in NYC or out in the suburbs? Depending on your budget, you could live really, really well in CT but may struggle in NYC.

I am originally from South Africa and am currently living in NYC (Manhattan). (Via a few other continents and countries).

Your longer term goals may also come into play here: do you want to live in the US in the future? It's notoriously difficult to get into and a few years in NYC may be your way in.

If you provide additional information, we'll be able to provide a bit more in the way of helpful responses.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 11:46 am
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

NYC is very, very expensive so you'd want to be sure of getting a good salary to be comfortable: there have been a couple of recent threads that should give you some idea of what sort of numbers to ask for.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

IIRC, Cape Town has the highest murder rate in the world, so if you're raising a family, that could certainly be a factor (not that NYC is 'safe'!).

The USA is notoriously difficult to get into, so if I had the opportunity offered to you, that's where I'd head for personally - especially, as others have said, the remuneration is there.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

While both are going to be a culture shock, I suspect that most people from the UK would settle more easily in the New York area than in Cape Town. Sure New York has some very iffy parts of town, but out in the 'burbs of Long Island is quite pleasant. Conversely I get the impression that not only does Cape Town have much larger "don't go there" areas, but that the political situation in the country is steadily declining.

Coincidentally I met a SA lawyer the other day, a middle aged guy, who has just relocated his family from SA because things are getting worse in SA. He is now working in an off licence while he does courses and exams to qualify as a lawyer in the US.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 12:44 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
IIRC, Cape Town has the highest murder rate in the world, so if you're raising a family, that could certainly be a factor (not that NYC is 'safe'!).
It's not the highest in the world, but it's certainly up there (at least in the top 10 IIRC). As with all statistics, you need to look at it in context. Most of the population in South Africa live in poverty and crime is rife.

However, most expats in South Africa tend to live in the wealthier, more secure areas and have a somewhat sheltered existence. They seldom come into contact with any type of violent crime. (I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, but violent crime is significantly less in CT when compared to other places in South Africa - I.e. Johannesburg).

An expat posting in South Africa can be quite luxurious and typically involves a private, gated residence (usually within a larger, secured community), typically with domestic help (pool cleaner/gardener and nanny/house-cleaning staff). You'd be hard-pressed to find a similar lifestyle in NYC.

I guess it all comes down to your budget and your long-term goals.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 12:48 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Another thought to the OP. You say you need to be withing commuting distance of JFK Airport. Do you mean for frequent international flights, domestic flights for work maybe, or both? Because there are other major and minor airports in the metro area. Newark, NJ, for international and domestic, and La Guardia being major ones. As for minor, there's White Plains and probably several others.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
Another thought to the OP. You say you need to be withing commuting distance of JFK Airport. Do you mean for frequent international flights, domestic flights for work maybe, or both? Because there are other major and minor airports in the metro area. Newark, NJ, for international and domestic, and La Guardia being major ones. As for minor, there's White Plains and probably several others.
When I lived near there, I think White Plains was entirely private aviation. Teeterboro in NJ is a major airport for executive aircraft serving NYC.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

We were offered a posting in South Africa that came with a driver and a body guard as part of the package. This was J-burg and not Cape Town. We then got offered a posting in Kenya, only to see one of our colleagues just miss the mall terrorist attack by a few minutes.

We opted to stay put for now.

As for the OPs question, the point about getting in now to the USA is a valid one. You might not get another chance, whereas moving to South Africa might be easier down the road should you want to experience life there.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
When I lived near there, I think White Plains was entirely private aviation. Teeterboro in NJ is a major airport for executive aircraft serving NYC.
HPN has some JetBlue and other low-cost carrier flights now. If you tried to compare NYC's airports to London's I'd say it's roughly equivalent to Southend Airport.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
When I lived near there, I think White Plains was entirely private aviation.
I've known many business travellers who have used HPN as an LGA/JFK alternative since the nineties on regularly scheduled flights. Most of the usual airlines, like American, United, Delta, US, fly out of there. Of course, that is purely domestic.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
IIRC, Cape Town has the highest murder rate in the world, so if you're raising a family, that could certainly be a factor (not that NYC is 'safe'!).
Actually NYC is the second safest of the 10 largest cities in the US only behind San Jose.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 6:34 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Hi, thank you everyone. All of that is really helpful. Regarding JFK, it's because his office is based near there rather than in Central NY. I have been looking at the long beach/ Long Island area today online so if anyone has any suggestions of nice places to live there that would be great.
I think budget isn't such an issue, we'd be fine in either place, but it's really useful to know the absolute difference in lifestyle. I want to be able to go out and about with my little girl rather than feeling stuck inside so in that respect I am guessing that NYC is the better option. However, I wouldn't want to dismiss SA based upon assumptions that we wouldn't be able to do this. So if anyone can shed light on how easy that would be in Cape Town than that would be really helpful too.
Thanks again.
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 6:59 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

Going out in either city is relatively easy. The main difference would be transportation method. In CT, you would drive everywhere (to a mall, stores, attractions, etc.). In NYC, it's likely that you would take public transport. If you lived in Long Island, you would take an overland (commuter) train to one of the main stations in NYC (Penn Station) and transfer to a subway or walk from there.

I'll point out now that parts of NYC closely resemble (or are worse than) most 3rd world countries. It's especially bad in the summer when the trash starts to cook in the 90+ degree heat (leading to the famous 'gutter slime').

I do not imagine that you would feel 'stuck inside' in either city. Based on what you've said, it's quite likely that you would end up living in the suburbs in either location, so you would have to plan days out to see attractions, etc. (I.e. you wouldn't be living in Manhattan with everything - and everyone on your doorstep. Nor would you live in the city centre in CT)
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Old Aug 22nd 2014, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Cape Town?

There area lot of nice areas around NYC including many towns in New Jersey, Winchester, NY, and for a long commute, Greenwich Connecticut. All should have good rail connections to NYC.
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