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As of 2023, approximately 6 percent of New York City's population was under the age of 5, and approximately 21 percent of the population was between ages 5 and 17. Combined, this means that children and adolescents make up roughly one-quarter of the city's population. If you’re expecting a child or planning to have a child soon, this means you won’t be alone. Despite the fact that most New Yorkers live in much smaller homes than other Americans, it is a great place to raise children and offers incredible advantages. That said, some residential options are more child-friendly than others.

This article outlines ten considerations all expecting parents should think about before they rent or buy an apartment in New York City. We also look at apartments with room for families to grow in buildings with child-friendly services and amenities.

In this article:

Tribeca Green, 210 Warren Street
Tribeca Green, 210 Warren Street Battery Park City
East River Coop, 570 Grand Street
East River Coop, 570 Grand Street Lower East Side
One Carnegie Hill, 215 East 96th Street
One Carnegie Hill, 215 East 96th Street Yorkville
Morningside Gardens, 549 West 123rd Street
Morningside Gardens, 549 West 123rd Street Morningside Heights
Lincoln Towers, 185 West End Avenue
Lincoln Towers, 185 West End Avenue Lincoln Center

Access to an elevator

Even if you're young, fit, and determined to carry your child until they start walking on their own, you'll likely want to live in an elevator building. Carrying a child, stroller, diaper bag, and groceries up five flights of stairs in a walk-up only seems viable to most New Yorkers until they have done it.

Full service

Children love doormen, and why wouldn't they? Who doesn't want to get high-fived on the way home from school or soccer practice? But that's not why expecting parents should consider renting or buying in a doorman building. Having children means you'll be coming and going from your building many times a day, often with a lot of gear and packages. An attended lobby with another set of eyes minding all your packages and family members can make life much easier.


If you don't have children, you may have little need for a community room. If you have a preschooler and are preparing to host ten other preschoolers and their parents in your living room, even the dingiest community room may suddenly take on the aura of a luxury amenity. If you have children, there are going to be playdates, birthday parties, and other special events that require you to open up private space on a fairly regular basis. If you're living in a small New York City apartment, the ability to host guests without cramming everyone into your actual apartment is a huge bonus.
Playroom at Tribeca Green

Noise policies

Different buildings are more family-friendly than others. If you're thinking about having a child or already having one on the way, ensure you move into a building with a relaxed attitude about noise. After all, you don’t want to end up living above a curmudgeon who can't handle the pitter-patter of little footsteps or occasional cry.
Music room at 11 Hoyt


Babies and toddlers may be tiny, but this doesn't mean they don't take up a lot of space. From the "gear" (strollers, car seats, scooters, tricycles, and the list goes on and on) to all those little outfits, shoes, and toys they seem to be constantly needing or wanting and outgrowing, small people tend to have a large footprint on one’s living space. If you're a minimalist at heart and don't want to adopt the aesthetic of a daycare, you'll also want to live in a building with storage.

Room to grow

While an infant might fit nicely into a bassinet in the corner of your bedroom, and a toddler or young child may be happy to live in a dining nook flexed into a second bedroom, that's not a permanent solution: Children will need more space and privacy as they grow up. If you're already expecting or planning to have or adopt one more children in the near future, leave room to grow, even if it's simply buying a larger flat that can be creatively and legally flexed down the line.


Thankfully, most New York City neighborhoods are relatively safe, but once you have children, your sense of what "safe" means may shift. Likewise, once you have children, everything from fire escapes to loose electrical sockets will become a hazard. Take time to carefully assess your neighborhood, building, and unit with an eye to living there with someone too young to know what is and is not a hazard.


Until children reach middle school, trips to the playground tend to be a daily ritual. As a result, access to a safe local park is essential. If you don't already have children, get to know the neighborhood and ask about park access. It may not be on your radar yet, but it will be soon.


New York City public elementary school placements are nearly always based on your school zone, which is determined by your home address. Middle schools and even high school placements also are generally based on your school district. If you are opting for the public system and care about the reputation and quality of your child's school, it is important to consider the quality of local schools before renting or buying. In fact, even if you don't have a child yet but plan to have one soon, especially if you're buying, you'll want to consider whether the local schools meet your expectations.

Neighborhood services and walk score

From social events to after-school activities to medical appointments, it is easy for parents of young children to spend several hours a day bringing their children to birthday parties, sports practices, music and art lessons, and doctor and dentist appointments. Living in a service-rich neighborhood where nearly everything is within walking distance can have a huge impact on one's time and one's sanity.
Morningside Gardens playground Not a scene from a public park, but the lush grounds of Lincoln Towers on the Upper West Side (Douglas Elliman)

90 La Salle Street, #MC (Corcoran Group)

Morningside Gardens, #3G (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

East River Coop, #M906 (Corcoran Group)
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Seward Park (1-2), #M605 (LoHo Realty Inc)

One Carnegie Hill, #25H (Corcoran Group)

185 Prospect Park Southwest, #304 (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

East River Coop, #J1903 (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

Yorkville Tower 1, #27F (Hauseit LLC)

The Horizon, #34C (ADIN YORAM)

Carnegie Park Condominium, #414 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

11 Hoyt, #28H (Corcoran Group)

547 West 47th Street, #401 (Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group)

575 Fourth Avenue, #PHC (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

Tribeca Green, #16A (Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group)

The Corinthian, #23E (City Connections Realty Inc)

Oosten, #912 (Compass)

One Manhattan Square, #9L (Extell Marketing Group LLC)

One Brooklyn Bridge Park, #713 (Compass)

Lincoln Towers, #28AB (The Agency Brokerage)
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Just complete the info below.
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Or call us at (212) 755-5544
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.