NYC vs Bay Area vs Miami, Pros and Cons based on my experience in those three cities

NYC pros:

Massive and diverse, tremendous amounts of smart ambitious people.

It is the most beautiful city in the USA with great architecture and tremendous choice for different lifestyles. Every neighborhood has a personality.

Unbeatable cultural and entertainment offer. Fantastic night life.

Great educational institutions at all levels.

Extremely well located for travel to Europe, more central than Miami or Bay Area.

It is a walkable city.

It has tremendous study and work opportunities.

NYC cons:

Weather is awful, extremely hot, extremely cold for 8 months of the year, only 4 months of California type weather.

People put too much emphasis on themselves and their careers and less on family and friends.

Too many people are aggressive, arrogant, overworked and stressed out. Even the same people behave this way when they are in NYC and become more sensitive and considerate when they leave even to nearby East Hampton.

Taxes are high and services poor.

It’s very hard to get in and out of the city, reach airports, etc.

Extremely expensive city, housing, transportation, dining, entertainment all unaffordable to many.

Too many lawyers and bankers, some are nice but as a group they are not my favorite people in the world to hang out with.

Bay Area positives:

People are brilliant and kind, a rare combination.

Entrepreneurship is everywhere, people are extremely creative and resourceful at building innovative companies.

Weather in the Peninsula is arguably the best in the world, you get seasons but not extremes, great number of sunny days.

Amazing nature, tremendous amount of green areas close to populated areas. Fantastic for outdoor sports.

Great quality of public services.

Fantastic job opportunities.

Best educational institutions in the world. Best public schools in the world, best universities.

Tremendous availability of VC money to start ventures.

The spirit of California is unique and unbeatable, anything is possible is the mantra.

Bay Area negatives:

Limited cultural and entertainment offer.

Nightlife is practically non existent.

SF weather is awful in the summer.

Incredibly isolated from the rest of the world, 6 hours to the East Coast, 12 hours to almost anywhere else in the world, if you live in California you have to love California because everything else is a day or two of travel away. If you run a global business from SF you will spend your life on a plane. Even if you run a US business you will spend much more time flying than people in NYC or Miami.

Mono thematic, if it’s not tech it’s not relevant.

If you are raising kids it is very hard to find help.

Miami Pros:

People have time for family and friends and are overall less stressed out, happy.

Fantastic weather 9 months of the year and the other 3 you can leave because kids not at school.

Unlike NYC or Bay Area everything is close to where you live. Except for a few weeks a year there is no traffic to speak of.

Fantastic night life and restaurants.

Low taxes.

Easy to move around by bicycle or walking.

Fantastic homes and beach life.

Incredibly busy airport 15 minutes away from Miami Beach with flights to almost anywhere in the world.

Well located to travel to anywhere in the USA and Europe, Latin America and Africa. You can run a global business from here.

Affordable compared to the Bay Area and NYC.

If you are raising kids and can afford it, it is very easy to find help.

Great music, if you love music there are tons of music related events and music festivals.

Fantastic water surroundings, sailing, boating, beach life, water sports.

If you have your own professional path, and don’t depend in a city to give it to you like I don’t, living in Miami is great because when you are not working you can truly relax and have fun.

While many of your friends are probably somewhere else they all like to come and visit you.

Miami Cons:

Lack of intellectual stimulation.

Emphasis on “show off” shallow values which are bad for raising children.

People are less reliable vis a vis work.

It´s hard to recruit extremely talented people of the kind you find in NYC or the Bay Area.

Limited work opportunities.

During the summer you better find a way to get out, it’s awful.

Lack of great universities and intense intellectual life.

Lack of success stories which are so inspiring in the Bay Area and NYC.

Universities are mediocre.

Too much emphasis on real estate and tourism as the main two industries of the city.

Hurricanes and rising sea level are an imminent threat, you get a sense that this city will be the first casualty of climate change.

Miami Beach, South Beach where we are now is a mostly liberal open minded community. But in deep Florida you find alligators and their political equivalent.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars