Hi, everyone. I am from New York City. The CUNY's here range from very poor quality to medium-good range. Hunter and Baruch being the top 2.
I know for out of state students living in big apple means a lot. But let me assure NYC is not at all good for living. Its for tourists. You come here visit places then pack your bags and go. I am saying this out of experience. It can be fun if you have A LOT of money and you live in Manhattan. (You can't dorm mostly as all the already scarce lodgings are taken by New Yorkers) And trust me when i say it. IT IS EXPENSIVE. A one room CRAPPY studio in Manhattan is at least 1500-2000 dollars a month(the price goes up and down depending on the neighborhood). And that's just the rent. The rest of the living commodities also cost 2-3X more than the national average. (Groceries, bills, insurance, transportation etc)
These are the realities that you have to face. So, if money is not a problem for you, then I would suggest that you try to get in either Hunter or Baruch. And live in Manhattan. Remember that the system is designed to limit out of state students and make everything easy for residents(Of course, we pay for it right
P.S If you can get into the Macaulay honors program of CUNY then disregard all of the above because they pay tuition, travel, dorm(Only Hunter) and transportation within the city, a grant of 2-3k Dollars, and a macbook. Look into it it is VERY competetive.