I love New York. I think it is one of the greatest cities in the world. I know it's a bit strange to go off to an island somewhere to study acting. New York is in many ways the center of the theatre world. Theatre is great too, and I love it.
However, if you look down the list of the actors who make a living acting, you will find that most of them are film or TV actors. To make a living (and especially to become a star) you have to learn some other stuff. Good acting is good acting, but there are different techniques for every specific outlet---stage, movies, TV, which breaks down into even more specific areas and techniques, like sitcoms, soap operas, crime and medical series, even so-called reality TV. You don't have to be in a theatre capital to see TV and film.
Let me say right off the bat that I think a young person should go to college if possible. You gain knowledge and, more importantly, you acquire some maturity. But a college degree, even if you majored in theatre and had all the lead roles, is not enough. It's not enough with which to go to New York or LA and make it. You don't want to try either until you have a very sound, reliable foundation.
It has made me so sad over the years to see spectacular looking young people who had the lead in every play since they were in high school come to New York and find out that nobody cared about their experience. Their resume gets no respect in New York or LA. Even those schools with good acting training, and there are some, do not get the proper respect.
Then the worst thing is when young actors do come to New York and study at a professional school only to find out, after their money is gone, that the school they chose is:
1. a rip off, a place with no interest in anything but making money, or
2. a school that is living in the past, trying to
capitalize on a past glory
without the great teachers they once had and without the slightest idea
of what is happening in today's enormously varied world of acting.
Even those students who do get into the one or two good schools gain nothing from the fact that the school is in New York. They have to be at their first class at 9am. They have to be there until 6pm. I'm talking about a school that, beyond acting, gives you the speech, movement, etc skills you must have. And then there is rehearsal time, for class scenes and for showcases.
Then these young actors have to work to meet the enormous expense of the school and of living in New York. So they get to their job waiting tables or bartending at 7pm and get off at midnite or 1am. Assuming they are dedicated and do not engage in any social life at all, (actors?) they get home at 2am, to sleep at 3am, up at 8am in order to make it to the 9 o'clock class---without breakfast.
These poor things do not get to go to Broadway plays every night. And even if they did, the state of theatre in New York these days is sad. Broadway sucks the big one. One revival after another, often minimal productions done by actors who are movie and TV stars who can draw a crowd but know nothing about acting on the stage. (Of course, the opposite is also true: there are stage actors who find out the hard way that they are totally ineffective on the screen.) Then the ticket prices are from $60 to $120. And Off-Broadway isn't much better.