Retiring to New York is not for everyone. If you don’t like art, world-famous restaurants, charming seaside towns, hiking in the mountains, fantastic shopping, and endless wineries and breweries, then you won’t want to retire to New York.
The Empire State is so much more than the Big Apple, though New York City with its five distinct boroughs is pretty amazing, New York is also filled with small mountain towns, seaside homes, and main streets filled with boutique stores and antique shops. Plus, New York has the most venues for art, culture, music, and theater. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of good places to retire in New York.
Even so, New York does have a few drawbacks, most of which fall into the financial category, such as falling into fifth place for being the most expensive state to live in the US. New York has higher property taxes, sales tax, and higher living costs than the national average.
Although the state sales tax is on the higher side, a few critical categories are exempt such as groceries, medications, both prescription and over the counter, and clothing under $110.
However, New York does not tax social security or public pensions. Additionally, they allow a $20,000 deductible on all other retirement income. And they have special property tax exemptions for those 65+ years old.
The other drawback, and it all depends on how you look at it, are the four seasons. Summers are hot, and winters are cold, but fall time is full of vibrant colors and cooler weather. And for those who enjoy winter activities such as downhill skiing, New York is home to world-class skiing on White Face Mountain.
For those unsure about retiring to New York, it’s important to consider the individual communities and not look at the state as a whole. For example, the state’s crime rate is relatively low, and even in New York City, crime has dropped significantly over the years and in several areas are lower than the national average.
Yes, it is expensive to live in New York City, but some of the outlying areas have more reasonable property prices, and many of the smaller towns in the country are quite affordable.
So if you are considering retiring to New York, remember there are a lot more pros than cons to this state. New York is definitely a state that has something for every retiree.
Where to Retire in New York
- New York City
- Staten Island Borough
- Saratoga Springs
- Great Neck
- Saranac Lake
New York City
- Percent of Senior Population: 14.5%
- Overall Population: 8,336,817
New York City and the surrounding area make up almost half of New York’s total population, meaning close to 10 million people live in the greater metropolitan area. So if you aren’t a people person who likes the hustle and bustle of a big city, you will want to check out the towns below.
The Big Apple is full of some of the most impressive art and culture venues found in the world, like:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- New York Philharmonic
- The Museum of Modern Art
- David Geffen Hall
- The Met Fifth Avenue
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
And you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy many of the museums. NYC features more than 20 different museums and cultural centers free to the public, such as The Harbor Defense Museum, Queens Botanical Garden, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and American Folk Art Museum.
Plus, if you enjoy the theater, you will want to look into the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. The foundation has partnered with TDF to offer discounted tickets to various performing arts events, including Broadway and Off-Broadway, dance performances, and music concerts.
In addition to the arts, NYC has some of the best restaurants in the country. They have everything from high-end restaurants with month-long waiting lists to small yet famous pizzerias. Because NYC has a diverse culture with deep ethnic roots, finding global cuisine couldn’t be easier.
NYC makes it a cinch to get around for retirees looking to ditch their personal vehicles and travel by foot or public transportation. There are many benefits to living in a big city like NYC, and convenient access to amenities like shopping and entertainment is one of them.
And of course, NYC has several medical centers throughout the city, including some of the country’s top hospitals.
Staten Island Borough
- Percent of Senior Population: 16.7%
- Overall Population: 476,143
Although Staten Island is just shy of half a million residents, it somehow maintains a small-town feel. Staten Island has easy access to Manhattan and New Jersey, but you never have to leave the island to find good food and entertainment.
Retirees looking to live near the city but in a more suburban area will enjoy Staten Island’s lowkey pace. The island has a lot to offer its residents and tourists. Some of the biggest attractions on Staten Island include its many historical and landmark sites, the wild zoo, and the theater.
And active retirees will love living on Staten Island. Those who enjoy biking can easily get around this city or take their bike off-road at one of the many parks to enjoy more challenging terrain. With more than 170 parks available, those who enjoy hiking will also find endless adventures.
Being on an island gives anglers many opportunities to go fishing. There are multiple piers to cast a line from; one of the most famous piers is Breeze Fishing Pier that extends over 800 feet into the water. Fishing isn’t the only water sport available either. Kayaking, boating, and paddleboarding are also favorite outdoor activities for the island’s residents.
There are three golf courses available, including one with a historic golf clubhouse. And the many greens cover hundreds of acres, with beautiful hills and spectacular views (golf lovers may also enjoy Sioux Falls in South Dakota).
Staten Island has several museums, galleries, and theaters. For those looking for some fun indoor activities, there are plenty of choices like:
- Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
- Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum
- Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art
- Art on the Terrace
- Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
The nightlife on Staten Island is also full of things to do too. There is an abundance of restaurants, bars with live music, and dancing enough to keep any retiree busy. Plus, there are live stage performances throughout the year at one of the many theaters like the St. George Theatre.
The crime rate on the island is about the same as the national average. However, the island is home to two excellent hospitals, Staten Island University Hospital and Sisters of Charity.
- Percent of Senior Population: 19.9%
- Overall Population: 28,212
Saratoga Springs has been a long time resort community but is best known for the Saratoga Race Course. The Saratoga Race Course, opened in 1863, is the oldest continuously run sports venue in the country. The horse track attracts people from all over the world throughout the summer.
The mineral springs, for which the city was named, have attracted plenty of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and more. The summers here in Saratoga Springs bring in the tourists, causing a bit of traffic congestion.
In addition to being a resort town, Saratoga is also a college town, home to SUNY Empire State College and Skidmore College. Both schools add to the local economy and the art scene.
Saratoga Springs is also known as the cultural center of the state. The city offers several art venues, including performing arts and music. Some of the top venues include:
- New York City Ballet
- Philadelphia Orchestra
- Arthur Zankel Music Center
- Natural Museum of Dance
- SPAC – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
- Tang Modern Art Museum
And the art district is located on Beekman Street, which features galleries, pottery shops, and several jewelry stores.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the many parks like the Saratoga Spa State Park and Saratoga Lake. Plus, just north of the city are the Adirondack Mountains.
Though housing in the area is a bit on the spendy side, the city boasts a low crime rate, just a third of the national average. Plus, the Saratoga Hospital is within city limits with an additional hospital in nearby Glen Falls.
- Percent of Senior Population: 18.3%
- Overall Population: 10,209
According to Smart Asset, Great Neck, located on Long Island, is one of the top places in New York to retire. Great Neck is a bit on the expensive side for homes; however, the waterfront views, access to the bay, and the low crime rate make it well worth it to many retirees.
If you are new to the area or just looking to stay active and connect with the community, the Great Neck Social Center offers classes, social get-togethers, and more for the local seniors. Some of the classes residents can take through the center include Tai Chi, Broadway at Home, and Yogarobics.
Great Neck is also an excellent place to retire for those who enjoy the outdoors. The Great Neck Country Club has beautifully manicured greens, a restaurant, and a pro shop. Plus, the local parks are perfect for walking and biking, and there is even a dog park so Fido can play with friends.
Though it is a smaller city, it still boasts an impressive restaurant and social scene. Dining in Great Neck is nothing short of fabulous. There are five-star restaurants, cafes, and several global cuisine options.
Plus, Great Neck is home to several different medical centers. There are 28 per capita, including NYU Langone Health. Best of all, Great Neck has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
- Percent of Senior Population: 17.3%
- Overall Population: 5,200
Saranac Lake is a resort tourist town located in northern New York near the Canadian and Vermont border.
Many of the Saranac Lake residents have summer homes where they can enjoy the Saranac River and Lake Flower. Plus, Saranac Lake is located on the north side of the Adirondack Mountains, making this town the perfect town for outdoor enthusiasts.
The summers here are ideal for canoeing, golfing, hiking, and more. There are plenty of parks like Riverside Park and Saranac Lake State Park, excellent for exploring. Plus, for retirees wanting to stay active in town, the Saranac Lake Riverwalk provides a nice 1-mile loop.
And if you are staying year-round, there are plenty of winter activities like ice skating, downhill and cross country skiing, and ice fishing to keep you entertained. Additionally, if you enjoy winter hiking, camping, or snowshoeing, there are plenty of local parks open in the winter to explore.
The biggest drawback for residents here is the remote location. It is over 5 hours from New York City. However, retirees looking to stay out of the hustle and bustle will love Saranac Lake. And the more isolated nature of this town helps keep the crime rate low.
Although Saranac Lake is off the beaten path and is a small city, it still hosts Adirondack Medical Center, a surgery center, a primary care group, dental care, and several specialty groups.