DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Outside the Department of Social Services offices in Downtown Brooklyn there's no shortage of people who say the day-to-day in New York City is a struggle.
"It's true. Everybody, we're struggling," said Joe Martinez. "The rents are too high, or they're displacing you because the rents are too high and you got to move somewhere else because you can't afford to pay the rent."
Martinez has been homeless for two years since getting out of prison. But he says it's so hard trying to get his life on the right track that sometimes he thinks it would be easier just to go back.
"I'm trying my best to stay out here. And this is what I've had to deal with to stay out here: be homeless."
Then there's Micah Glenn. He says he didn't realize how expensive the city would be when he moved from Georgia to pursue a career in acting and music.
"That's what I want to do and if it takes going through the shelter system and coming from the bottom, that's what I'm going to do," said Glenn.
Glenn works two jobs including one at Madame Tussauds, but says so many landlords won't accept his New York City housing vouchers and he doesn't make enough to qualify for low income housing.
"That's so cray. Every place that I've seen so far is very expensive," said Glenn. "They require you to make a certain amount of income to get into apartments they are considering low income. So it's like a struggle still."
But these stories aren't unique.
In a recent survey the New York Times and Siena College found that 51-percent of New Yorkers said they were either just getting by or not at all. In four out of five boroughs more than 33-percent of New Yorkers said that the availability of goods and services that meets their needs is only fair or poor.
"It's all about what you consider struggling to get by," said Caron Halsey who lives in Queens. "Some people live on wages and expect to live on better wages. Some people don't know how to make do with the wages they are making."
Some say it's the perfect illustration of the tale of two cities platform Mayor de Blasio ran on before he was elected, but many say they've seen little improvement.
"I'm still in the same situation that I was two years ago so nah, nah, nothing," said Martinez
However, in a surprising result, the boroughs that seemed to be struggling the most, were also the most optimistic.
In the Bronx 36% of people surveyed said their borough was getting better as a place to live.
In Brooklyn that number was 41%.
"I do think things will get better because I'm a proactive person," said Glenn. "So no matter if the government's not doing their part, I'm still doing my part, so I do see a light at the end of the tunnel."
So is the struggle worth it? Well it seems like people think so. Of those survey 65-percent said New York is still the greatest city in the world.