Everything is Relative | Transportation and Housing

Real Estate Agent with Compass

There is an old expression in NYC:  "That and a token will get you on the subway.'' 

In fact, all it took was a token to get on the subway for more than a century. Implication being that whatever "that" referred to was worthless. 


West 23rd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan, NYCThe MetroCard replaced the token in 2003 but a New Report shows how a MetroCard in NYC may be more valuable than a college degree.


Transportation and housing plays a vital role in the earning power of New Yorkers.

NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management studied 177 different zip codes, and found that neighborhoods with the best access to transit, usually in Manhattan, (Chelsea is number one) also have the highest median household income, and the lowest unemployment
. In those neighborhoods, 79% commute by walking or public transit, and only 10.9% by car. 

West 23rd Street Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC


Neighborhoods with the worst access to transit had lower median incomes but more than 50% commuted by car. The neighborhoods with limited access to public transit, were the worst: their unemployment rate is nearly 12%, and their median household income is significantly lower.


The more jobs you can reasonably commute to within an hour, the more job opportunities you'll have, and the higher your wage will be. In New York, mass transit is the path to economic mobility.

Location Affordability is a concept developed by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD) which includes the cost of transportation as well as housing usually the two largest items in a household's budget to determine affordability.

New York City has the sixth highest housing costs of the 21 major cities surveyed by HUD but since NYC has the lowest transportation costs in the nation it was deemed the third most affordable housing location according to HUD. 


"Everything is Relative" Albert Einstein













NYC | City of Motion

Transportation + real estate development = economic mobility.




The Hudson Yards Neighborhood

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Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Thought provoking post.  An unusual phenomenon...got me to thinking.   Even in our small town public transit is central to the downtown area and downtown prices are higher.  So it begs the question is public transit a result of a busy downtown or does community transit stay downtown and spread as does the population which makes housing costs rise?  Great post with fun numbers.  Thank you.  Make it a great weekend.  Mark

Jan 16, 2015 11:39 PM #1
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I've been known to use that expression myself, although I have to keep upping the amount, as in "that and 2.50 will get you on the subway."

Jan 17, 2015 08:34 AM #2
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mitchell, I did not appreciate the New York subway system until I moved to DC.  By comparison, our system is pathetic.  It's newer and pretty clean, but the stops are very far apart, it has no express trains, and the chances of having both point of origin and destination anywhere near a station, well, you get the drift.  I do miss New York so much!

Jan 17, 2015 09:03 AM #3
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

No more tokens?  Boy, have I been gone too long, Mitchell.  I think I still have some in an old box, are they collectors items yet?

Jan 17, 2015 08:24 PM #4
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Love the conclusion of how NYC becomes so "affordable" because of transportation, as an ex-NYC person, who grew up in the city! I have a couple of the old tokens saved for memory in my jewelry box.

Jan 17, 2015 10:22 PM #5
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

And oh yes... I remember when it was a dime to ride the NYC subway or bus!

Jan 17, 2015 10:23 PM #6
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Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
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