What is Dating in New York City Like? Should I Move To New York From San Francisco? What Are The Male To Female Gender Ratios? Is Dating In New York Hard?
When I get asked about what dating is like in New York both offline and offline, it’s with the context of guys in San Francisco and San Jose looking to take advantage of gender ratios in the East Coast. Make no mistake, areas in the Peninsula and South Bay are brutal for guys. Some areas and demographics (at least for dating apps) can be a 2.5 to 3.0 to 1 ratio guys to girls. That’s enough for some guys to give up dating altogether especially when women can outnumber men 1.2 to 1 in NYC in some age brackets.
With the rise in WFH options in the Bay Area, this topic has become a hot topic once again for clients I have worked with. As workers are no longer tethered to deserted island that is Man Jose, options are wide open. Most guys I have talked to choose that life for the pay and the chance to work for Apple, Google, Facebooks of the world. Now that these geographic restrictions are being loosened at other companies, men are re-evaluating life decisions and dating is the topic at the front and center of these conversations.
Before making these life-changing decisions hastily, it’s important to know what dating in New York is like beyond the gender ratios. There are plenty of items to weigh as it’s not simply just a numbers game – there are many factors that go unnoticed particularly by people in places like San Francisco that are data driven and fail to recognize and be able to process ambiguity, gray zones and real-time data overload. Dating in New York can be exciting and fun with so many options at your fingertips but it can be brutal if you don’t know what to expect.
Glitz, Glamour and Energy Of New York
New York City is a fantastic city. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. Having lived there, SF and Los Angeles as well as traveled across North America, Europe and Japan, it is one of the few places I would prioritize visiting again vs. going to new places on my bucket list.
As someone who considers himself as in introvert with extrovert tendencies, I feed off the energy, opportunity and vibe of people and places wherever I go whether its traveling, dining, working from cafes, exploring places to take photos or just taking in things in for their scenic appeal, nostalgic connection to history or culture of the people that make it wherever I am great.
There is so much to take in that one loses track and oftentimes focus of what they want, where they are going and what will fill their soul. There are constant swaths of people leaving the city as there are people moving in. That ever-changing flow of new faces coupled with endless offerings in terms of bars, restaurants, cafes, shows, views, concerts, rooftops and street art feels like an adrenaline shot.
The city thrives on its diversity and regardless of where you come from, there will be sensory overload – and this includes dating and meeting singles. Subways rides, mid-rises, waitlists, bar seating, rooftops and summer picnics are filled with an abundance of single people. People of shades of colors, heights, shapes, hairstyles, wardrobes and accents will offer something for everyone.
Diversity of New York City
New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world – it’s beautiful. One can hear at least 3-4 different languages being spoken at any given restaurant, bar or cafe on any given day. Unlike San Francisco that is notorious for boring, clone type personalities i.e. tech employees, engineers, introverts, t-shirt and jeans, messy facial hair and over-reliance on apps to live their lives, New York City has no one single majority stereotype – it’s a hodgepodge of Wall Street bros, acting professionals, musicians, painters, grad students, performing artists, tech employees, entrepreneurs, celebrities and endless characters. With that said, one notable type that lives on and still has a strong presence is the Wall Street guy, aka finance bro aka Midtown Uniform clone.
Given the diversity of jobs that drive the city – media, finance, performing arts, hospitality, tech, education, retail and fashion, there are a wide variety of people from all over the world who are drawn to the city. This means different outfits and usually people who dress with a purpose. This doesn’t mean suits and ties and dresses as much as it means attitude. With so many people, it’s tough to stick out and get ahead unless one is really on top of their game. New York is competitive and that drive is addictive.
Endless Eye Candy
One will see more dapper men in suits and women in heels in one day than they will all year in San Francisco – I miss dressing up. I miss people who care about how they look when they leave their home. The sense of fashion embedded into the culture of the city is to turn heads on every corner. The amount of attractive people is staggering.
With such diversity comes eye-candy. There are people from all over the world that descend into the city every day whether on vacation, traveling for work, commuting from other boroughs or cities on the Eastern seaboard or people moving into the city every day. If you have a type, you will find it here.
Aside from the style people display, attitude sets people apart from San Francisco. Ability to make eye contact, strike a random conversation and energy exuded is invigorating when compared to the West Coast. Things move quickly, people are efficient and people know how to read others. This skill is sorely missed among folks who spend their lives behind computer monitors.
Density of Singles in NYC
Meeting single people is super easy. The city is half the size of San Francisco and 4 times the population meaning it’s 8 times as dense as the city by the bay. There are no dead-zones like Noe Valley and Laurel Heights that are known for stroller crowds and lack of single folks. Even places like the Upper West Side which some New Yorkers refer to as a suburb feeling, has more energy, speed, diversity and options than any part of San Francisco. Btw, a strong contingency of New Yorkers refuse to step foot north of 14th street.
People love to chat in New York – almost too much. No one wants to go home early or go home without meeting someone new. Apartments in New York are tiny. People use their ovens for shoe storage. No one owns bakeware. Everyone eats out or reheats leftovers. No one wants to be sober only to arrive home and hear their unruly neighbors fighting, partying or having loud awkward sex. Everyone is eager to try out new bars, restaurants, rooftops, walks on a regular basis. Even homebodies like to establish a routine of spending time outside their place.
New York is so big that it’s possible to never meet your neighbors. Unlike SF where this is due to anti-social tendencies, the reason here is that everyone is in a rush and has something better to do. There is a sense of anonymity because one can get lost in the crowds. Anonymity in San Francisco is due to corporate buses, uber rides, late working hours, early closing hours of places in the city, hills, cold weather, unsafe streets or creatures of habit who quickly retreat into their SOMA high rise never to be heard or seen from again unless on a Zoom call, video game competition, boba bar or waiting in line for brunch.
Restaurant & Bar Scene
Most people meet others at bars and restaurants. The best places in the city are usually a little dim, loud and small for families which is great for folks 25-55 who want a social experience when out and about. Bar seating and communal tables help bring people together in small spaces. You will undoubtedly bump into someone ordering at the bar, picking up your order, turning the corner on your way to the restroom or asking for menu recommendations.
The lack of space and solitude help to filter out folks who are a little more shy or reserved leaving room for only social, chatty folks. It’s not uncommon to talk to a dozen different people while waiting for a seat at a restaurant. Ask some girls in San Francisco, and it can be months since the last time a guy approached them. The only places in San Francisco where guys will hit on girls is at sports bars while drunk.
In New York City, guys seek out new girls in town like vultures. Hear an accent, and they lock in with precision towards the target. Having trouble finding a seat, three will be offered to you unless you arrive with your husband or boyfriend (in that case, one seat will be offered as men are that aggressive). A suit can work wonder for men – they know this and so do the women that are drawn to them. For women, it’s easy to be noticed and approached when wearing skirts, heels, lipstick as opposed to fleece, flats and pants (looking at you San Francisco).
Self-Selection Bias of NYC
Everyone is on their A-game in NYC. No slouches, no slow people, no indecisiveness, no lack of drive – NYC filters these people out naturally. These are usually the traits that weigh guys down in SF. Walk too slow and people will run you over. Unsure about squeezing into that crowded subway car? Someone will take that spot before you decide to give it a shot. Waiting for the walking signal to turn on? You will have people walking around you from both sides. Look at your phone for directions in the middle of the street or stairs to the subway, you might get yelled at.
New York City demands that you speak up, speak clearly and take what is yours. Taxis, food orders, attention at the bar, seats on the subway and crossing the street are the simple things that reinforce and train folks to be aggressive in NYC. It’s this reason alone that’s impossible to meet someone at the street, subway car or cafe. Everyone is in a rush. Everyone is multi-tasking, everyone is in a conference call. In San Francisco, the headphones are filled with music and podcasts – who has time for that?
Dating vs Relationships
When talking about dating in NYC, there needs to be clarification around dating vs relationships. It’s clear that meeting people in New York is easy and but dating and relationships can be hard. Temptation is everywhere. There are beautiful people everywhere – models, actors, celebrities etc. you name it, it’s here. It’s not uncommon to dine run into your celebrity crush in New York. Similarly it’s not uncommon to be approached by a stranger when you least expect it. There are smooth talkers everywhere and the grass will always seem greener on the other side.
In addition to temptation from other people around you, there is also the distraction of the city itself. With so much going on it can be hard for couples to settle down, discuss life plans or focus on core issues to their relationship without gravitating towards the next new restaurant, show, bar, concert, outing with friends, exhibit etc. The city can wear people down easily without them noticing. Subtle problems can be swept under the rug unintentionally as things are moving so quickly that few people slow down to process everything.
The city also has high turnover. Whether it’s people crashing from no longer being able to sustain the energy to keep up the city life, desire to move to the burbs or moving out of the area completely, it seems like everyone is on their own timeline. Trying to sync up with others can be challenging. The first 2 years in NYC is a blur. Years 3 & 4 is when people start to figure out what they want. Years 5 & 6 is when folks decide it’s time to settle down or leave the city.
With everything moving at the speed of light, signals get crossed, people get anxious and once couples remove all the external distractions of the city, it can be eye-opening that they were coasting along without actually building a foundation for their relationship. People can often confuse and misplace the energy and feelings the city provides them with what their partner actually brings to the table. For others, people can get bored easily.
Dating in New York is tough. Everyone is smart, accomplished and interesting in New York. It feels like a secret club. Everyone is an expert when it comes to witty banter. People find it hard to settle down and enter a monogamous relationship. Some people use dating as an excuse to network for work or make friends. This ambition is also what drives people to priortize work first over relationships sometimes. Dating apps make it harder as one will never run out of profiles to swipe on.
In San Francisco, the options are limited, in New York, the options are endless but seem great upon first impressions. Dates in San Francisco are more likely to be boring, while bad dates in New York become stuff of legends. Epic fails, grand lies, misunderstandings and lacking substance beyond looks or pedigree is not all that uncommon. There is no sense of privacy in New York. Your life is on full display for all to see. All your exes live within 5 miles of you and chances are the person you are dating has slept with your best friend or colleague.
Dates are easy to come by and they will feel great if you are coming from SF where you had no dates but you will quickly learn, quality will be hard to come by. The sheer number of smart, intelligent, driven, funny, beautiful women is astounding but most of the guys in NYC are spoiled and lazy in terms of putting in work into relationships. With so much to offer, NYC can seem like a waste if you are tethered down in a relationship making it easy to date and meet others but hard to find quality folks and settle down.
NYC Date Ideas: https://eddie-hernandez.com/best-date-ideas-nyc/
Additional homework: The show Sex & The City is a microcosm for what it’s like to live and date in New York, I highly recommend every guy and girl watch the series beginning to end. Despite it being introduced in 1998, it’s relevant today as it was then. Also, watch the show Girls as well for a similar, slightly more modern (millenial take).
Dating In NYC Podcast: One of my favorite podcasts was from The Cut – Sex Lives. It’s off the air but worth listening to.
For the best dating apps in New York, contact me today.
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
Dating Profile Critique
For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.
For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/
Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/
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