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In the midst of the recession, New Yorkers are cutting back on everything from dining to luxury shopping. Café des Artistes, one of the Big Apple’s most storied restaurants, closed in August, in part because of poor business. Chanterelle followed this month. In July, J.C. Penney opened its first Manhattan location, citing local demand for discount merchandise.

These changes makes sense. New York tops a recent list of America’s most expensive cities, with a measured cost of living surpassing that of Houston, Boston and Washington, D.C. The culprit? High rent: $4,300 a month on average for a two-bedroom, unfurnished luxury apartment. The silver lining: That’s down $200 from when the survey was taken in 2008.

Los Angeles comes in at second place. Its residents, who also endure high housing costs, can partly blame a long, expensive commute. The sprawling city is home to some of the nation’s worst traffic, and unleaded gas at a relatively high 63 cents a liter helps raise transportation costs.

Here Is The Top 10 Cities:

The List

10. Washington, D.C.

9. Houston, Texas

8. Boston, Mass.

7. Chicago, Ill.

6. Miami, Fla.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

4. San Francisco, Calif.

3. White Plains, N.Y.

2. Los Angeles, Calif.

1. New York, N.Y.

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