Bright Lights, Big City—Retirees Head To New York City In Droves

Growing numbers of folks over 55’s are flocking to the Big Apple instead of seeking out warmer climates.

By Annette Barlow January 12, 2017
Credit: mikecphoto /

Back in 2014, the New York Times ran a piece titled “Elderly New Yorkers, Here For The Duration.” Apparently, large numbers of retirees are opting to stay in the Big Apple rather than see their later years out in warmer climes.

Well, it seems the trend is not only continuing, but burgeoning. The Midtown real estate agents TripleMint have begun tracking the growth of an “over 55’s” group that chooses to retire in the city.

In spite of the soaring cost of living, NYC is, in fact, a pretty great place to retire. For those who don’t drive or have trouble walking, buses, taxis, and subsidized local van transportation makes the city accessible. Cultural events run throughout the year, libraries and concert halls abound. And unlike homes in more rural areas, city living doesn’t make the same maintenance demands of homeowners.

Related: Spanish Cities Are Taking Extreme Measures To Capitalize On The Current Real Estate Boom

Speaking to CBS, one such retiree, Robyn Eckhaus, has detailed her motivations for leaving upstate to the Upper West Side. “To me, the most important connections in my life are my two daughters—Samantha and Alexa, 27 and 25—and they both live in Manhattan.”

Recently divorced, Eckhaus feels like the move is the start of a new journey, and offers her a unique opportunity to explore. “There’s so much entertainment here, there’s so much culture. It’s limitless.”

And Eckhaus isn’t alone in taking this point of view. According to NYC’s Department for the Aging, the population of people over 60 in the city increased by more than 12 percent between 2000 and 2010. It is projected to further grow to a huge 1.84 million people by 2030.

Related: Rampant Gentrification Was The Main Real Estate Trend For NYC In 2016

Now, of course this population isn’t made up solely of retirees from far-flung places. And much of this segment of society’s surge can be attributed to longevity. But a large portion of this advancing number is down to newcoming retirees.

But for all the city’s perks, upping sticks and relocating to NYC does involve some risks. Tax, crime rates, accessibility to health care, travel, and the cost of living are all deciding factors for potential residents, especially given retirees lack of job security.

TripleMint’s Director of Sales Joan Kagan offers some sage advice for those thinking of making the move. “Retirees should rent instead of buying, because once they sell their homes, they have a lot of liquidity, which is good in retirement.” A lot of retirees move to cities like NYC in order to be closer to their adult children. That means settling in hip, fast-growing markets, where prices are soaring. This liquidity not only allows for any financial hurdles that an unpredictable life in the city might throw at you, but also allows for a welcome degree of flexibility.


Annette Barlow



Annette is freelance editor, sub-editor, journalist and proofreader with a fierce love of all things feminist, food and music. She is a regular fixture on the arts, culture and feature desks at The Guardian, and her words have appeared on NME, Great British Chefs, The Fly, The Line of Best Fit and Australian Times.

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