We all know that New York is painfully expensive. A “starter” home starts at over a million dollars, half the households that live here simply can’t afford to, and it’s impossible to walk out the door without $40 (or $60 or $80) vanishing. If you’re a young person who wants to stay in the city, your mind likely fluctuates between two states: (1) willful ignorance on how much your ideal adult life is actually going to cost, and (2) desperate curiosity about it, too. In our new issue, we asked a range of young New Yorkers to play the game of M.A.S.H. and describe their aspirational adult lives, and then we found older New Yorkers who currently have aspects of those lives and asked them how much they spent on literally everything. We drove ourselves into the ground pricing out not only the big stuff (mortgages, home repairs, the whopping child-care bill) but also the small, random costs of adulthood that somehow pile up (Amazon orders, spontaneous snacks and Ubers home, berries and obligatory cat litter). By the end, we all needed lobotomies, but our hope is that these numbers can provide clarity and concreteness — which, although perhaps horrifying, is (maybe) better than the vague dread of not knowing.
—Katy Schneider, Choire Sicha, Joy Shan, and Alexis Swerdloff, editors, New York
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