They say New York City is a great place to raise a family. (That wasn’t always the case, you know!) Indeed, NYC feels more and more kid- and parent-friendly by the day. Here are just a few of the reasons to be thankful you’re bringing up baby in NYC.

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Prospect Park photo: via Yusuf C on Flickr

1. We have a huge back yards and never have to mow or rake them.

2. In many neighborhoods, you’re more likely to get kicked out of an establishment for not breastfeeding your child.

3. Governors Island, home to giant slides, an anything-goes playground, art festivals,  events  all summer long, and more.

4. You need a tri-lingual au pair who drives stick and cooks gourmet vegan meals? Yeah, we’ve got that.

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photo: via Kevin Hale on Flickr

5. Dinosaurs! Sleeping with Dinosaurs! (Or in a cathedral, on an aircraft carrier, at the zoo, etc.)

6. Sometimes the best part of an outing is taking the subway, and that’s OK. (It’s great, in fact.)

7. The playgrounds are always full.

8. There’s always another parent acting more crazy than you are (no matter how crazy that is).

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Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Yellow)” photo: Mimi O’Connor

9. Our museums make art fun. And we have Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Calder’s circus, Degas’ dancers, Thiebaud’s pies and cakes and a whole crop of Vermeers to help pass on some art appreciation.

10. We also have smaller museums nobody else does.

11. It’s easy (well, easier) to lose the baby weight when you walk everywhere with your newborn, whether it’s via stroller or carrier.

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Bagel photo via Nate Steiner on Flickr

12. Bagels!

13. There’s a zoo in every borough.

14. Our parent networks produce a robust and never-ending supply of deeply-discounted Bumbos, Boppys, jumpers and more. (Never pay full price!) Plus: lots of great advice on how to navigate NYC as a parent.

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Winnie the Pooh photo: via tormol on Flickr

15. Winnie the Pooh lives here. Eloise is at The Plaza. Elmo, Big Bird, Ernie & Bert…  (Shhh!: Santa is also a part-time resident.)

16. Our celebrity parents are super cool. (Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Maggie and Peter — we’re looking at you.)

17. Living without space makes you an excellent editor (“This neglected castle has got to go!”), and living with less stuff has made you keenly aware of what’s really important.

 

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon photo: via Kristine Paulus on Flickr

18. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is cool. Seeing the balloons blown up the night before is cooler.

19.There’s an expert in town regarding every parenting challenge — and they might even be the best in the nation.

20. Type-A creative professionals make some of the best Halloween and holiday decorations.

21. The Staten Island Ferry. Commuter vessel or nautical outing perfect for a  lovely spring day? (That’s also free.)

22. Your kid rides his Razor scooter to school.

23. Universal Pre-K.

24. Public art. Everywhere. All the time.

25. Cheering on runners from around the world at the New York City Marathon teaches discipline, heart, spirit, determination, fitness and international relations (on the sly).

26. Your kid can take a Theramin class.

27. Cherry blossoms festivals!

28. A walk around the neighborhood can feel like a walk around the quad.

29. Free activities for kids, everywhere, all the time.

photo: NJPAC

30. We have the Nutcracker, as well as the hip-hop Nutcracker, a 70s Nutcracker, a NYC-themed Nutcracker, etc., etc., etc.

31. You’re already stressed about middle school and so is everybody else you know. (And parents who’ve been through the process are happy to share their stories.)

32. Lessons of tolerance and diversity are woven into the fabric of our city.

33. You made them here; they’ll make it anywhere.

Why are you thankful you’re a New York City parent? Share in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor