As MTA mulls $125 MetroCard, what else is rising in costs for New York City?
On Monday, the MTA may likely announce that the price of a monthly unlimited Metrocard could jump to as high as $125, a stomach-churning amount for many New Yorkers.
And that’s just the latest thing in this city that’s become outrageously expensive. The price of cocktails, cigarettes and even just a simple cup of coffee have all skyrocketed.
“New York just keeps getting more and more expensive,” said Jonathan Bowles, director of Manhattan’s Center for an Urban Future.
Bowles said even as people lost jobs during the recession, costs kept steadily marching onwards.
“It’s not like rents haven’t kept rising,” he said. “Transportation costs, Metrocards, gas prices, have continued to go up.”
A Siena poll released Friday revealed that New Yorkers are pretty bleak about their finances, with 40 percent saying their monthly income was not keeping up with their monthly expenses compared to 2008. Just 26 percent said their cash flow was better.
And 47 percent of New Yorkers said they are not better off now than they were four years ago. About 35 percent said they are better off now.
Cigarettes can now cost up to $13 a pack, compared to 2009, when they topped $9 after the city tacked on a 62-cent tax.
Don’t try to drown your sorrows. Booze is more expensive than ever, with places like Butter in the East Village boasting a fleet of $15 drinks. Other cocktails can easily top $20 elsewhere in the city.
Even a Manhattan bartender said she’s sometimes surprised by drink tabs. Michelle Milton bartends at Neely’s Barbecue Parlor on the Upper East Side, where she said prices have remained low.
But in other spots, she said, she’s noticed prices inch up a dollar. Or, she added, “I’ve been to places where you pay $12, 13 for a Grey Goose, and you get like an ounce and a half. That’s a lot of money for what you’re getting.”
Meanwhile, rent checks keep skyrocketing. An average apartment in Manhattan shot up 27 percent from July 2002 to July 2012 – average rents of $2,544 to $3,461 — according to City Habitats.
But one thing not increasing? The average medium income.
According to a survey last month from Comptroller John Liu’s office, incomes have stagnated, with the average income stalled at just over $50,000 from 2000 to 2010.
If the Metrocard hikes $21, from $104 to $125, it may force New Yorkers to cut back, Bowles said.
“It’s never been a cheap place to live, but as incomes have been stagnant, and as many people have lost work in recent years, there’s been less and less room for error,” he said. “New York is such an unforgiving place.”
Earlier this year, Starbucks raised the prices of their tall regular coffee in Manhattan from $1.91 to $2.01, the totals after New York City taxes.
A study done by Business Insider found that coffee is more expensive in New York City than any other city, and that someone who drinks a tall cup of coffee daily for one year in Los Angeles would spend $131.40 less than one living, and drinking coffee, in Manhattan.
Here’s what all gone up in the urban Northeast area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
$13.55 Wine increased from about $10.30 per liter in April 2009 to $13.55 per liter in April 2012, according to the BLS.
$2.01 is the price of a tall cup of coffee at Starbucks
$3.80 for a gallon for gas. The average price of gas in urban cities in the Northeast edged up since August 2009, when it was $2.72 per gallon, to $3.80 per gallon in August 2012.
$3,461 Average rent in New York City
$3.57 for milk Even milk is up – in the Northeast, milk prices increased from $3.07 a gallon in October 2009 to $3.57 in October 2011, the most recent BLS data available.