Here’s what comprises the typical American dream: Getting married, having 2.5 kids, and buying the house with the white picket fence, two-car garage, and well-manicured lawn. Here’s what it usually doesn’t include: hauling groceries up a fourth-floor walkup; dodging taxis, harried pedestrians and street vendors during the morning commute; and paying a premium for an apartment considered a walk-in closet anywhere else.
For many New Yorkers, however, those inconveniences are a part of daily life”“and are only amplified when they decide to start rearing little urbanites. Then their biggest issues run from minor logistics such as hauling a stroller up two flights of subway stairs, to major headaches like a preschool application process that rivals those of Ivy League schools. Despite these challenges, Christian parents in New York say that raising a family here provides as many opportunities as it does obstacles: They get to participate in the unique ways in which God works in an urban environment, a setting where community ministry plays a particularly important role.
“You do think, ‘Why not move to Long Island?’ It’s one hour from the city. [But] having grown up in the suburbs, we made an intentional decision to stay here,” says Maria Liu Wong, assistant director at City Seminary of New York, who lives in Manhattan’s Lower East Side with her husband Tony and son Joshua, 3. Diversity and the desire to get involved with their community convicted them to stay in the area. “Being at City Seminary, I’ve thought a lot about choosing ways to invest in your neighborhood,” Liu Wong says. “I want my child to have diverse friendships, and there’s a greater opportunity for my kid to do that [in the city].”
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