I Stay in San Francisco for the Men


new york or san francisco

New York is a better city than San Francisco.

Hands. Down.

This truth can quickly divide a crowd into fists full of pumps or tomatoes.

But, really, it’s hard to argue.

New York has better transportation.

Sure, not as many nostalgic varieties as SF, but the NY subway actually connects you to where you need to go.

In New York, you don’t have to wait, for anything.

There’s the convenience one would expect from an urban area. Things are open, they stay open, and you can walk there without your inhaler.

For every New York minute, there is a San Francisco hour.

If a NY restaurant ever said your food would take more than fifteen minutes to arrive at your door, it would have to be April 1st. When you order food in SF, you may as well go have dinner while you wait for it. Is Tartine really that popular, or perhaps the line would miraculously shorten if someone just explained to the turtles behind the counter that it does not take that long to put the morning bun into the bag.

NY has better fashion.

Though it can’t compete with SF’s movie star homeless.

And NY has the kind of real economic diversity that lets you live the high life and live on a dime.

My eyebrow wax in NY was six dollars. In SF, I’ve never seen it for less than $20. In NY, you can quite easily drop 1k (as you can here) for dinner, but you can also live through an entire day on less than ten dollars ($1 corner coffee + $3.50 bacon, egg, and cheese + $2.50 slice of pizza and your feet to carry you where you need to go) and you will still be well fed.

Everything I ever needed/wanted/had-to-have in NY was a block away…

Because every block has every thing: a pizza place, a dry cleaner, a bank, nail salon, a market, a perfect restaurant/bar filled with people who make it look like life’s happening inside just as you pass and every freshly earned dollar in your pocket should be spent right there right now.


Sure I miss parts of NY. Sometimes so much it makes me want to belly up at a dimly lit bar, sip a Manhattan, and sulk. But alas, it’s 9:30 PM here in SF and nothing is open… and I am wedged between the tiny loves of my life, singing just one more song.

Here’s what I don’t miss.

As a new mom living in New York, when I (or my husband) took our new baby out to do new baby things, there was one thing abundant in my picture perfect city that had suddenly vanished from the frame.


Everywhere I went during the day – classes, parks, museums, play spaces – there were women – (mostly) nannies, (sometimes) moms, but never a dad, not a single one, even in my predominantly gay neighborhood.

Living in San Francisco, I see dads everywhere, all the time.

At my daughter Sara’s dance class, 3:00 PM on Tuesdays, there are just as many dads who sit and watch their ballerinas plié for an hour as there are moms. At 9:00 AM every Friday, my husband joins a room full of other moms and dads cooing over their baby swimmers. At the SF parks, there are always plenty of men chasing after their little ones in the middle of the day, being parents before the sun sets, losing their minds before dinner.

I want my kids to grow up seeing men parent. It’s not about seeing all dads, or even your kid’s dad if he can’t be around in the daylight hours. To each their own in every home, we always say. It is about growing up and seeing that in life there is not just one way.

Maybe the mom in your house works long hours, maybe the dad does, maybe both… What matters is that in San Francisco it does not appear to be based on some assumption that was never discussed, or set roles from generations past that should be dead and buried.

Parenting in SF seems to be decisions that are made by each family for what works best for the family making them.

I believe choosing to live in SF will make a difference in the people my kids grow up to be, in the parents they one day chose to become.

When people ask me why I live in San Francisco, “More dads,” is the first thing I say.

New York is a better city.

San Francisco is a better life.


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Amy is a technologist by trade and a writer by nature. Wife to a dashing web designer, mother to a beautiful, thoughtful daughter, adorable, slightly less civilized son, and a Yorkshire Terrier who came first and is still waiting for the non- furry babies to leave. As a work-from-home mom, she believes work/life balance is not a concept but a daily (sometimes exhausting) goal. She is always in search of a community that fosters her belief that sameness is boring, money is only a means to see the world and there are no rules we should impose on one another in this life other than Be Kind. She loves her family, lives to travel, and firmly believes that a homemade meal, a handmade cocktail and an episode of the Bachelor (a day late because she doesn’t own a tv) can cure almost anything.


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