Just last week, Virginia Smith relayed information about where to move if, you know, you love New York but it’s bringing you down. And then it turns out that there is real evidence speaking to the fact that you really ought to just get the hell out of this city because it’s not just miserable in your mind, it’s actually really terrible here. Like, empirically so. That’s right. Forbes released its list of the 20 most miserable cities in the US and New York is on that list at number 10, right in the middle of all the miserable cities. That’s us—moderately miserable. That sounds about right.
So what is it exactly about New York that makes us so miserable? Why do we all lead such tortured lives? Well, even though New York “offer[s] a myriad of opportunities and positives as the home of financial centers, world-class culture, leading universities, sports teams galore and high-end restaurants” it also has one of the highest tax rates for any urban center and boasts the longest average commute time (36 minutes) of any of the other cities. So, basically, New York is expensive and we all spend a lot of time getting around. To which I say, ok. Sure. That’s right! But is that really so terrible?
I mean, I don’t like paying high taxes, but I do think it’s part of living as a member of a functioning society. And as far as the long commute goes, well, I’d rather spend an extra ten minutes commuting by subway, where I get to read and ignore people, than have to drive in a car, where I’d have to pay attention to people and all the stuff going on around me. Getting to take public transportation is basically a huge privilege, I think. Anyway, the most telling figure in this pathos-plagued list of miserable cities is the one noting how many people are moving out of New York. Although New York doesn’t have as many foreclosures or people fleeing as Detroit does, the city’s population is expected to decrease in the next few years by well over 100,000 residents as more people move out than move in. And now that the Times has helpfully informed us that all of the really cool and important members of the creative class are creating their own “hipsturbias” up in Westchester, we know that the end is imminent. New York as we know it is kind of over. But! Before we all flee to twee little towns at various points up the Hudson, let’s stop a minute and think about what makes New York not such a miserable place. Really, it’s not so bad at all.