“Goodbye to All That”: Why Is Everybody Talking About Leaving New York?

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 9.15.02 PM

Just when the rest of the world seems to be falling in love with New York Brooklyn, the unthinkable has begun to happen—New Yorkers are all talking about leaving New York. At first I thought it was just something happening with the people I know, too anecdotal and specific to my group of friends for me to turn it into any kind of larger generalization. But then suddenly, it seemed like everyone started talking about leaving New York. There was an article in Salon by Cari Luna, “Priced Out of New York,” wherein Luna even recalls that, before she moved to Portland, she “became envious of every friend who’d managed to escape.” There was a piece by Ann Friedman in New York, “Why I’m Glad I Quit New York at Age 24,”where she dismisses New York as being “the prom king,” and the guy who”knows he’s great, and he’s gonna make it really, really hard on you if you decide you want to love him.” And then there was an essay in BuzzFeed by Ruth Curry about how she left New York to live in New Zealand, putting all her belongings in storage and following her boyfriend to the other side of the world (although she did return here, later on, after a stint in San Fransisco). Curry’s essay is a part of a new book edited by Sari Botton titled Goodbye to All That, which is a collection of essays by writers who all loved New York, sure, but then left it. Left it! There was a time not so long ago that the idea of people willingly leaving New York would have been unfathomable, but now, when more and more people I know don’t just talk about leaving, but actually leave for LA or Berkeley or Portland or St. Louis, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that liking New York has become about as cool as saying the Yankees are your favorite baseball team. Which, fuck. That’s not cool at all.

And so, a note on that. The Yankees are my favorite baseball team. This is something I’ve needed to defend since I was a kid in the 80s and everyone I knew loved the Mets, whereas I would go to Shea and yell at Ron Darling because, man, did that guy ever piss me off. Which, I was only eight-years-old at the peak of my Darling-hate, and eight-year-olds are irrational and terrible, but still. He was the worst. But then came ’95, when the Yankees won the wild card, and ’96, when the team won the Series and then suddenly everyone loved the Yankees, and it was great but kind of annoying because they had been my team and I couldn’t stop loving something just because everyone else liked it, that’s not how love works. So it was kind of a relief when, around 2003, everyone hated the Yankees again because they were too good and spent too much money and it just wasn’t fair. But now liking the Yankees isn’t uncool the way it was in the 80s or early 90s, when they were a shitty team who, yes, had the awesome Don Mattingly, but also had the bloated boor (and criminal and friend to Richard Nixon, my Mets-loving father always pointed out) George Steinbrenner as an owner. Back then, liking the Yankees still gave you a certain kind of cred. Now? No. Now liking the Yankees is uncool in an entirely different, much worse way. Now, liking the Yankees is for people in Manhattan; it’s for bankers and lawyers and more bankers and for a certain kind of politician and for people who have no soul but lots of money. It’s for people who can afford to live in New York.

It’s been hard to escape the sense of nostalgia that has permeated the media lately. A lot of it has to do with Bloomberg leaving office, I think, and the natural inclination people have had (and will continue to have over the next few months) to look back on the New York of the last twelve years and try to figure out what has gotten better and worse, and what that means in terms of their ability to stay. Because staying in New York, even if it sometimes feels like a necessity, is always only a choice. There are always other places to go. Or, at least, that’s been what everyone I know who leaves or who wants to leave says. They say that New York is fine, New York is even sometimes great, but it’s also dirty and it’s expensive and even though sometimes the air smells like maple syrup most of the time it just smells like garbage or like those semen-trees in the spring. They say that living in New York distorts your view on everything else, that it’s impossible to lead a good life here because living here makes you forget what living even really is. Life here, they say, is life under the bell jar—it distorts you vision, and it’s suffocating, and you forget that you can lift up the glass, so you get trapped, breathing your own breath until you die. This is really what people say!

And so no wonder they want to leave. No wonder all those people who thought that New York would be different, who thought that New York would give so much to them, who thought that New York maybe owed them something, because they are creative people or because they are young and prepared to suffer (only suffer in a very particular kind of way, not the way they actually suffer here), all those people are preparing to leave. And while all their feelings for leaving New York are valid, I always can’t help but wonder a little bit how much they loved this city to begin with, how much living in New York really mattered to them, versus living in “New York.”


    • Unfortunately, it seems like the other comments might be casualties in the switch over to our new site design. Hopefully, they’ll come back up soon.

  1. If people like Lou Reed start leaving New York, then you can write an article. But no one is surprised that a bunch of out-of-towners are leaving. Yes, they were New Yorkers for a while, they even loved the city, but you have to love it A LOT (I mean, love it more than your boyfriend moving to New Zealand) to be worth all the expense and aggravation and sacrifice. Most out-of-towners do eventually leave, and anyone who’s lived here a long time is well-accustomed to that. That is exactly what the article states, only it takes a lot more words to get to that point.

    • “Out OF Towners” you have got it confused! The one ones that are leaving are true born and bred New Yorkers! The Out of Towners are the ones that are happy in New York. Everytime I ask people “where You From ?” I get out of state anwsers! They are happy because they are making 6 figures and own a condo on 3rd avenue. The truth is the real New Yorkers are dying to leave because this City stopped caring about its residents and turned all its focus to tourism and revenue for the city. True New Yorkers are moving to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts etc. but some are making the even more drastic moves to California, Texas, Nevada etc. How is it that rent, milk, cigarettes gas keeps going up but our wages don’t. This is pushing generations of New Yorkers out; thus, pushing out the true culture out of New York City! Pretty soon there will only be Caucasian, Indian and Asian people in New York City from Out of Town or From Out of the country. Either way I have lived in NYC for 30 years and my parents and grandparents 60 years before me but we will be leaving to Philadelphia very soon because this City is no longer for us. For those who are True New Yorkers I know you understand every word. For those that have been living in NYC for only a few Years you wouldn’t understand For you people are not True New Yorkers! You just live here. To my fellow New Yorkers stay strong and I hope that you will make the best choice for you and your family!

    • “Out OF Towners” you have got it confused! The one ones that are leaving are true born and bred New Yorkers! The Out of Towners are the ones that are happy in New York. Everytime I ask people “where You From ?” I get out of state anwsers! They are happy because they are making 6 figures and own a condo on 3rd avenue. The truth is the real New Yorkers are dying to leave because this City stopped caring about its residents and turned all its focus to tourism and revenue for the city. True New Yorkers are moving to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts etc. but some are making the even more drastic moves to California, Texas, Nevada etc. How is it that rent, milk, cigarettes gas keeps going up but our wages don’t. This is pushing generations of New Yorkers out; thus, pushing out the true culture out of New York City! Either way I have lived in NYC for 30 years and my parents and grandparents 60 years before me but we will be leaving to Philadelphia very soon because this City is no longer for us. For those who are True New Yorkers I know you understand every word. For those that have been living in NYC for only a few Years you wouldn’t understand For you people are not True New Yorkers! You just live here. To my fellow New Yorkers stay strong and I hope that you will make the best choice for you and your family!

      • I’ve been here 3 years. Don’t really have anything like what you said. Still enjoying myself, though. I guess since you’re leaving I’m more a “true” New Yorker. But enjoy not being a “true” Philie family.

      • I was born and raised in Brooklyn After 34 years I left. Though I miss it’s vivacity, energy, beauty, sense of aesthetic, and deep understanding between people who have NY blood running through them.
        NYC used to be a place where everyone could express themselves, where you could do anything and nobody gave a shit. It meant something when you said “I’m a New Yorker” Nowadays it’s laughable, with all these sheltered girls coming here to live out their “sex in the city” or “girls” fantasy, and every douche-bro with a trust fund showing up to buy soulless cookie cutter condos that don’t resemble anything new york ever stood for.
        Everyday turn of the century lofts are turned into poorly built condos where you can hear your neighbor’s flatulence through the paper thin walls and facades have no NY character this city loses a part of it’s soul.
        Politicians that stifle creativity and launch campaigns to turn this city into a private country club for the wealthy, police that stopped policing and began generating revenue, poor neighborhood planning where movies, construction, and 2 other random things happen all in the same day without any oversight or consideration for the residents of the neighborhood.
        New Yorkers are leaving because this isn’t NY anymore, They’ve ruined it and not long after the creatives and New Yorkers leave, these people will realize that it was those very same people that made NY great.

  2. “I once tried to explain why I like raising my children in New York by saying that I want them to take the extraordinary for granted.”

    I feel the complete opposite! (I’m 23). When I have kids, I want them to grow up somewhere else with nature at their fingertips, and long walks by woods, and road trips down our coastway and all of the simple things like I had. And then, when they are old enough to feel it, experience the magic of New York again and again. I want it to be new to them, and large, and wonderful, and beautiful, and cinematic like it was to me.

    I want them to have the chance to choose to live in this distorted reality all on their own.

  3. Anyone could have written this article without ever having stepped foot in the city –at least that’s how it seems based on the very general, basic info about the city. Moreover, it is a poorly written article and yet it got published in this magazine you deem so worthy.

    Too bad that well written pieces don’t get published because they never make it past the general submission box.

  4. After 22 years in NY I find the people who want to stay tend to be people who grew up in families near here (so NY life is the norm), who are deeply tied to their jobs, or have been here for less than 15 or so years. Many have had serious love affairs with the city for many, many years then it becomes like a girlfriend you love that doesn’t make you happy anymore. Your heart gets rusted and you only have a thimbleful of patience. You drink to stay. Many are overworked and underpaid. I don’t really agree with the
    idea that people who leave never really loved it, but I do understand the notion that maybe it was never real to them, that they were only visiting (because they are not from the tri-state area), sometimes for a very, very long time.

    But the whole income inequality situation in NY has just gotten obscene and offensive. As Bloomberg
    put it in NY Mag, NYC is now a luxury brand. Bo-ring and very, very troubling considering that even those who work in the city can only afford to live in the outer, outer boroughs. (Nothing against the outer boroughs btw, just saying the economic situation in the city proper is a joke.) Though NY still has many of the creative, diverse and progressive elements that make it special, they are now in those outer boroughs (go De Blasio!). Once you cheat on NY with other (cheaper) cities, countries for extended periods where quality of life is more of a priority and how much money you make and what you do and your ego less of one you realize NYC is not the “center of the universe.” The world is a very, very big place. You don’t realize this until you go somewhere else you like. As has been said many times before, NY is a drug/addiction that is hard to quit which is why so many find it hard to leave. And addiction, after many years, is not very fun and generally doesn’t make for happy campers.

  5. From what I’ve noticed the people that are moving out are people that came to NY expecting it to bend to their wishes and mimic the hometowns they came from. City kids like me (I grew up in urban Chicago) love NYC because it is like home. Too many people moved here bringing small town, suburban, entitled, mentalities with them.

    Maybe if they leave rents will go down and the creative class won’t be a slave class because all the mediocre, lazy, design school graduates will go back to where they came from and design websites for one crappy startup after the next. Instead of cluttering the job market-getting hired on the length of their beard, uniqueness of their eyewear or color of their plaid shirt. They should be judged on the merit of their portfolio and not how great their Instagram life is. Go artisanal up some other city.

    The city has been watered down by these city kid wannabes and it’s time for the people that love NYC take back the energetic culture this city once fostered.

    And of course I’m bitter-I live in NYC don’t I?

  6. Because people are tired. NYC is a wonderful town, but if you’re not pulling in some serious cash the quality of life is terrible. Your career goals need to be focused around making money if you want to survive here, and that’s not for everyone. When you’re young it’s fine to struggle, and lots of people are ok with the romance of it, but then you get older and start realizing how much it sucks that you’re in your mid-thirties and still living with roommates because you don’t want to (or can’t afford) to drop $1500-2k a month for a a closet-sized apt of your own. It’s all about priorities.

  7. I grew up in queens. …my parents grew up in bk and the bx…..my mothers family has lived in nyc for over 150 years and my fathers family has been living in nyc for over 100 years….so if anyone knows nyc, its me! And believe me when I tell you that living in nyc sucks! I cant wait to move again from this city! It is over crowded and there are way too many foreigners and illegals here! It is dirty and over rated! Its nice for a visit, but living here is a different story! This is one of the only cities in the country where you can make 60000/year and still not be able to afford a house or a nice 2 bedroom apt! If I was an out-of-towner, I would stay away from living here! Come here for a visit, but dont live here, you will regret it!

    • I completely doubt you are a New yorker as You claim. To many Foreigners? what ? NY had always been full of Forefingers and actually the amount of new foreigners coming to the city is in a historical low. Foreigners is what makes NYC great, every true new yorker know that. To many Illegals? How do you know that? did you check their papers? Your complaints about NYC sound more like the typical argument from people from the south or Middle America.

      • I was born and raised in Brookly and have the accent to prove it. My ancestors began arriving here from Italy and Ireland in 1907. And I completely agree with Susan. The huge influx of foreigners/illegals since the mid-90s ruined what was a community-minded area of southern Brooklyn. In the 80s, it was a great place for families. But now I would never raise my children here. Next month I close on a home in Dutchess County. I wish NYC well with their new tax base of illegals, hasidim, hipsters, and Cantonese.

        • I used to live in Flushing but had to leave to Astoria because no one speaks English. I became a foreigner in my own home. This city has tipped the scale in favor of the immigrant, both leal and illegal at the expense of those of us who across the racial and ethnic spectrum were born and raised here for generations. This is not a racist thing. I am half Asian, half white. I was born and raised speaking ENGLISH. This is a pan-racial native born citizen who understands English is the unifying language among hundreds of languages in this town….vs. Immigrant who refuses to assimilate, but rather COLONIZE., so, if I have to shove someone on the 7 train to let me off the train first, it is almost always some god damned immigrant who thinks to rush in as soon as the doors open, as if they will not be able to get on….or they think it is okay to crowd the door and not occupy the inner carriage. These people are making the city utterly unusable.

          • I notice this phenomenon every day at Queensboro Plaza where the transfers from the 7 train (i.e. foreigners), barge onto the NQ with no regard for letting anyone get off the train. It is rude.

    • Last I checked manhattan island was purchased on 11/5/1626 for the price of 60 guilders, but yet here are your parents from the great BK and BX tribes, total natives. DAFUQ outta here

    • $60k nowadays does not get you much in most cities. We pondered a move to new Orleans for an $80k salary for my wife and concluded we just couldn’t live decently of I didn’t land a job too.

  8. I love New York City. I was born on Long Island, but have spent the last 10 years in Brooklyn. I would make the rest of my life here if I could. I think your hinting that those who are leaving never really loved it doesn’t really get the experience of lower/middle income people who don’t have savings or inheritances or trust funds to fall back onto–it is writing from a position of privilege. It is a documented fact that the non-wealthy are being pushed out and marginalized. How can $500K be a ‘good deal’ for a 1 bdrm in Brooklyn? Most people do not have these resources and will go where they can survive. Survival will typically win out over love.

  9. This is terrific Erin and just in time! We’re going to visit our dethguar and son-in-law the weekend of the 13th. They live in the West Village and we will be out and about and looking for places to eat! Thanks so much!

  10. I’m ready to leave. I have lived in NYC since I was 9 (Queens to be exact, but it’s still the city) and I’m just tired of the “go, go, go.” In NYC, everything is always on and that means that employers expect you to be on ALL THE TIME. I’ve worked in the city since I was 14 and even though I’m only 25, I feel like I’m in my late 30s because the city ages you. It makes you tired, commuting is frustrating, and no matter how much work I do or how much time I spend working, the city makes you feel like you should be doing more. Even the speed at which we walk is faster than anyone else. I went to school in Upstate NY and the difference between going there and coming back home was huge. It’s also really frustrating to see the huge disparity between rich and poor here. In the same building are people struggling with food insecurity and stay at home moms with nannies who spend their days doing yoga and drinking “health” smoothies. I don’t think that this makes me any less of a NYer, I grew up here and I was able to enjoy the culture, the museums, the bustle of the city, but I also missed out of space (as in physical space to think and live), money for extracurriculars or even just the privilege of not worrying about bills (Kids grow up very quickly here, especially in poorer families), and community ( I have only known two nice neighbors in my whole life). So there, from a NYer, I think that this city that has taken too much from me and good for everyone who wants to stay, but don’t write off those of us who want to leave as not hard working enough.

  11. I think about leaving all the time now, I work as a bartender in a fine dining restaurant, making decent money… not enough to afford manhattan or a nice area of Brooklyn… but what is making me want to leave is just the number of entitled, rich people who are mostly in finance. I feel poor, I feel like a loser and I can’t stand half of the population of Manhattan anymore.

  12. because your city sucks:

    overpriced living, stressed out people jammed up together, smelly and dirty streets, and you are an easy target for natural disasters and terrorists. YOUR CITY SUCKS.

  13. This city is being overran with foreigners….that part is true….The jamaicans and the little island people are the worst. They flood flatbush and that place smells like fish. NYC is very high priced. I don’t want to repeat what others have already made mentioned of….

    The new arrivals with the glasses and plad shirts and beards shopping at whole foods or trader joes is a joke….How the hell are you trying to blend into our city when your sense of fashion looks cheap and dirty….NYers don’t dress like that. They take full pride in their attire. Even the people from the poorer sections of NYC (who are from here). Dress. In accordance with the place they live. You young dingy big cheap glasses wearing clowns need to go back to ohio or seattle or even Nebraska. Wherever you from. And why do all the men of this element act gay?????

  14. NYC is now an overpriced metropolis, especially in Manhattan. The boring wall st types can live here and pay premium price for everything, a lot of it which is mediocre at best. There’s no interesting culture and the city is dirty, crusty old with a lot of poor housing stock where people pay top dollar just to live in them.

    I just got back visiting some European cities such as Berlin and Madrid, and was in Toronto and Montreal up in Canada last year. Boy, America has descended into an almost 3rd world like nation when comparing to other first world countries when it comes to beauty, urban design and mannerisms. Seriously, you almost feel ashamed how we became so low due to our sloppiness and low standards.

  15. I’ve lived here 15 years, and I love the city I moved to in 1999. But NYC is quickly becoming like everywhere else. Glass towers, chain restaurants, mall culture. I don’t need to pay through the nose to live in the Dallas or Minneapolis of the northeast. People are probably leaving because they can eat at Applebee’s anywhere. The small, tight-knit villages and independent merchants that made NYC unique to me are disappearing. Beautiful architecture of yesteryear is callously destroyed and in its place is erected ghastly monoliths of glass and steel. So you can say maybe these people never really loved it, but maybe they loved what it was, and not what it’s becoming.

    In addition to that, there is something to be said for trying new things, and there are other great cities out there, especially outside the borders of our declining nation. I salute anyone who takes the blinders off.

    • This is true, but it’s the same all over the US. Maybe Portland and San Francisco (because they’ve made it really hard for mega chains) and a few other cities have more independent shops around in ratio to chains than NYC, but no city can really beat NYC in the number of independent options, even with all the chains. The further you get from Manhattan, the more independent places there are in ratio to chains. I’d prefer there being fewer chains myself, but I know where to avoid that is concentrated with them (pretty much the entire center of Manhattan from SoHo up to Central Park, excluding the Greenwich Village area) and where there are less (closer to the water in Manhattan or any of the boroughs).

    • Well stated. To add to that … I remember the unique neighborhoods of NYC in the late 80s … now, NYC is turning into a Beijing owned and operated strip mall with a hint of Vegas.

  16. Brooklyn has inflated quite a bit, commuting from Bklyn to work in Manhattan is difficult. the F and L trains are packed, The Union Square station was designed for thousands less people, note the platform that connects to the L train, the stairwells and the people packed in waiting for a train meanwhile there is some band on this platform…that kind of thing. I lived in Williamsburg, Carroll gardens and Clinton hill. Williamsburg is expensive…cool but not that cool…lots of buildings under construction…Bedford ave is not much of anything a few places…yet it is highly populated with searchers thinking this is the place so it was good for people watching..I heard Apple was building there, so maybe it will evolve into some kind of hip, rich Mecca. It needs more galleries, a and then it will end up looking like Soho, and we know what that has become…People who have money, have kids eventually so New York and Brooklyn is becoming very child friendly.. Older people were respected when I was 20 living in NY, now mid life is awkward unless you are highly successful or famous.

    It’s not NY it is modern living post 9/11…things changed, traveling changed, even the weather has gotten much more intense. Sandy was terrible, what if it happens again and more severe…the subways are not equipped to handle severe storms, they might be working on this however but the subway system is a bit delicate. The economy is tricky, the job situation is very competitive. If your education or background has given you a fantastic salary and you can afford good space with privacy and light, it can be wonderful. Living well means you need to have lots of money. Things have changed but if they fix it up properly and do not kill off all the small businesses, it could be a cool place to live.

    I moved after 14 years.

  17. People come and go from NYC all the time and it’s been like that since it was New Amsterdam.

    I think what’s changed is the cost of living in relation to pay, where the affordable areas are, the pressure that’s put on people in terms or work and having a career, and socializing.

    Essentially, no matter your background, you need to become an overworked yuppie/yupster in order to live here in any area that has single people in their 20s and 30s unless you have a rich family to help out, which is the case for some of course, but not most. Overworked because it’s a city full of overachievers and there aren’t a lot of strong protections for salaried employees, while the unemployment rate is still nearly 8% in 2014.

    Social life is affected because Brooklyn and Queens were developed around commuting families into and out of Manhattan, not to be places for young people to socialize and live out their best years. It wasn’t a big deal when Williamsburg became a popular area in the early 2000s because it was just one stop away from the East Village, but at this point people talk about Ridgewood being a cool new area, and by that they mean this is how far out you’ll have to live if you’re a young person in an entry level salaried job moving to NYC. Or you can be open minded and find some random affordable place elsewhere, where you may stick out like a sore thumb and be treated differently because you don’t fit in and are a sign of potential gentrification and may see fewer people like yourself to socialize with.

    Manhattan is out of the picture for most of us, unless you’re a high earner or are a young woman or gay male who doesn’t mind sharing a room with a creep on Craig’s List. That of course affects what it feels like socialize in Manhattan, random groups of coworkers after work, tourists, and wealthy young people.

    Anyway, I found this because I’m considering moving myself after being here for a few years. Part of me says to hang in there and wait to move to where the grass is greener once I’m married, but another part of me says to worry about that later and move to where I think the grass is greener now and just hope it all works out. I’m also becoming less convinced more young, single people makes NYC the best place for a single guy when you consider the factors above. Maybe if you’re a high earner it is.

  18. Why does everyone think New York is so expensive? I don’t find it to be that different from where I live now, except rents. My biggest issue with New York is how it ruins careers, if you start working in NYC you have to stay there because nobody wants to hire anyone from NYC. We throw their applications right in the trash. The ones we’ve hired know very little about work because they’ve only done a small part of the job compared to people from other cities. NYC seems to take specialization to the max, to the point where people there learn only a couple tasks and can’t function in the real business world. Even NYC salespeople are stunted, they want to talk about the venture capital raised rather than current clients or knowing what they’re selling. It’s especially sad because they thought if they could make it in ny, they’d make it anywhere, but in reality they can only make it in ny or most likely nowhere. But we shouldn’t be convincing people to leave, we should quarantine that elitist bs in the 5 Burroughs. We should make them stay in their dreamworld and leave reality for us rational people. Nice article, you did kind of capture the crazy.

  19. I was born in Brooklyn. I don’t like New York. New York is a suffocating nanny town that wants to control every aspect of your life, and makes you pay out the wazoo for the privilege. As far as I can tell, it’s great appeal is that snobbish people can thumb their nose at others who can’t afford to live here and say, “Ha! I told you I was better than you!” Im tired of the Communist nanny-state mayor, I’m tired of SEIU and Occupy Wall Street deadbeats blocking streets, raping teenagers and peeing on cars and I’m sick of everything that’s wrong with this country being right on my doorstep. Goodbye to all that and good riddance.

  20. I’ve lived in New York for more than 19 years. So, I consider myself a New Yorker. I’ve seen this city go through countless trends but the changes happening now are scarier because I know better. It’s all a facade. You will always be struggling to make ends meet or struggling to feel sufficient because it has a way of making you feel not good enough. It’s a city of bad habits because everyone needs a vice to forget how hard it is in this city. Everyone wants to escape . I can’t recall how much money I’ve given in taxes and fees to the city and MTA and nothing has gotten better. It’s still a dirty, stinky, overpopulated mecca for the overpriveledged and newly immigrated. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old and if I stay here I will be until I’m 70 and still won’t be able to make ends meet. Nothing is ever good enough for NY. But NY is no longer good enough for me. I’d rather have freedom and comfort than this cutthroat city.

  21. Sounds awesome. Those of you who fight, struggle, and suffer to live in NY. Pride is a hell of a drug.

    I left NY 6 months ago and barely think of it at all. All NY have left is the ability to brag and boast about how they are surviving NY. I’m too relaxed to brag about that nonsense. Plus, I live like a king on a far lower salary now. (I was making 100k plus in NY)

    By all means though, please stay in NY.

  22. I been living in NYC since 1997…came from europe as a 14 year old…been working ever since…have 2 BS (nursing and biology) and MS(biochem)…have over 10 years or research experience…Oh yeas NYC was good when thinking about my career…but it is a rat race nothing else…rents are sky rocking…its hard to make a living, the kind of you can enjoy with family…there is no quality of live…cost of living is high…no time to spend with family because the commute can be as long as 2hr sometimes…and then you exhausted…the museums and cultural places are great but honestly are you using them every day..is it worth it…We have a 4-years old daughter and all I know NYC is not a city to bring a family and enjoy it…we are moving…First we wanted to stay in Tri-state area, but whole tri-state are is a rate race…traffic and everybody trying to make the living and pay high property taxes…why??? Our live is to short ….My family is way more important to me and NYC…Back in 1997 it was a different city,,,yes I had fun and I enjoy it but now it it a rate race…overcrowded and full of traffic…

  23. I am a native New Yorker and for you clowns who come from somewhere else that means I was freak’n born here. New York City is a big tremendous toilet and all of the suburban counties surrounding it are over taxed jerk waters who’s people migrate into the giant toilet. I have never had any opportunities here I have never had any luck here AT ALL in New York City. People who are born here are jerks and jackasses and the people who come here are crooks, criminals, thieves and ambiguous fresh meat from other countries to feed the grinder and throw they’re kids in front of the bus because the kids always see what the parents who are immigrants will never see. And what do I have to say about out of state American’s who come here. They get they’re little B.S. degrees, live in a shoe box with big windows or artsy fartsy warehouses in Brooklyn, Long Island City or The South Bronx act like distracted white, black, brown trash and are clueless to they’re future coming homeless. Combine that with freezing, wet, dark disgusting weather, tons of disgusting ugly architecture and a perpetually expensive police state style local government who do nothing but jail and extort they citizens and you have a gigantic godzilla shit over flowing toilet. Everytime I leave and I come back I get depressed and want to level again. If you’re not well of or super rich this place is absolute hell. The rich can have this little corner of hell. If you have something positive to say about New York City I would like to respond in a New York City fashion by knocking you the hell out on the street.

  24. May I suggest Northern Westchester, specifically the Peekskill area? Beautiful area on the Hudson River, lovely open spaces for children, good schools, restaurants and culture, hour commute by metro north. The taxes are kind of a bitch but it’s not a bad compromise.

  25. New York is fine at first on entry level incomes and roommates, but after years and your income stays flat, it’s time to leave, esp post 30 when you want to start a family. I say this as somebody working in publishing/media industry, most people I know do not have high salaries at all and live extremely frugally. It’s disappointing that most of the jobs happen to be in NYC. It is also a misnomer that jobs pay more in NYC, in fact, cruising job boards for similar jobs I find they actually pay less b/c there is so many people willing to take low pay for the NYC experience. We got out last year, make the same pay, tripled our sq footage, and can actually save money. Writers and artists have been saying ta ta to NYC for a while. now, it’s not worth it, our salaries are NOT going to go up like an accountant or banker. Cities like Philadelphia and Portland becoming cooler are no surprise when NYC and SF have astronomical prices.

  26. 1. I love New York, for it’s chaos, dinginess and often unexpected beatuy. It IS real life.

    But c’mon… Saying:
    “No other city on earth claims ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere…'”


    “…because I think it’s a foundation that isn’t available anywhere else on earth.”

    Just shows one of the most glaringly obvious (and embarrassing) problems with New Yorkers, especially anglophones: this city isn’t the center of the universe. Plenty of cities around the globe capture this kind of magnetism and energy for people… But sadly more often than not Americans can’t bring themselves to “lift the jar” off their isolated, American-media-spun views. Once New Yorkers truly come to terms with this fact, they’ll be much better off.

  27. I am European and I have never lived in NY (or anywhere in the US) but i have visited it several times. The longest time I have spent there is 3months in row. I was always intrigued by the reputation of NY. Even more so after visiting it and realizing that even though it is great for some things (fantastic even if u have a lot of money) it…it is just nothing special.
    It sometimes seems to me that people in NY think that there is nothing outside of NY,no life, no jobs, no concerts, no museums,no fashion,no restaurants,no clubs,no bridges,no coolness, no nothing.
    Having lived in europe my whole life, growing up in the era of interail and low cost flights and having Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, Milano, Berlin, Athens and the rest of the continent at my fingertips the notion of how there is nothing like the life in NY has always seemed funny to me…and sad, a little bit sad. I have visited some seriously fantastic cities (outside of europe too of course) and even though I had a lot of fun in NY and I generally loved it it is not even close th best city i have visited let alone this magical place you simply have to live in.
    It is a city that has a lot going on and it is fun but so are many others. Yes NY…i am sorry to burst your bubble but there are some other cities out there and guess what…they smell less, they are prettier, they have parking and traffic solved, they have better parks, better museums, better sights, beter surroundings, less rats and less piles of garbage…and if the city life is what you want and you decide to live there it does not feel like an abusive relationship.
    This leads us to the point of this article and to the part I always found the hardest to understand when somebody living in NY would complain about it but than try to explain the magical love for the city. Love should not be that hard. There are enough tough things about life. Love, weather it is for a person or for a city, should not be one of them.
    In every single article and comment about NY you read about fight, struggle, making it there…you do realize there are 30 year old people out there having fun, working and pursuing their passions, starting families, buying (yes buying) homes, traveling the world? People with middle class waiges…

  28. Loved the article, and I’m a New Yorker, born and raised in the slums of L.E.S. during the time when crack bottles were found everywhere, and wandering anywhere far away from the building you lived in was a huge mistake. Anyway….however, the same New York, that was possible to raise a family in and seeing all different cultures and communities was possible, now is all but a dream.

    There’s only one type of community now, and that’s of the affluent and wealthy. Culture? DOESN’T EXIST!! when was the last time you walked into a neighborhood and really felt the culture of one ethnicity?

    Don’t say Chinatown, cause chinatown isn’t what it was and never will be. Even the chinese community is being pushed out for yuppies willing to pay higher rents just to live there. Not like they give it two shits about the community.

    Living in NYC and raising a family was possible back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. But now it’s just a city of the affluent, and the city is it’s whore.

    That’s my two cents from a New Yorker 100%.

  29. New York is in constant flux. For better or worse it’s a fast paced city always on the go. While I miss many of the old New York ways and businesses (Florent!) you can’t expect a city like this to stay stagnant. I keep seeing these articles about people leaving. I fail to see how this trend is any different than 20 years ago. People love NYC while young and single. But once you get to an age of settling down most people look elsewhere. More bang for your buck even just outside the city. Almost all my friends that have moved had had kids after leaving. But for a single person looking to go out and enjoy 24/7 lifestyle NYC is still a great place. I’ve tried to move twice and came back after a few months. If you’ve been here long enough it spoils you beyond belief. I also think staying in one place your whole life is crazy. I just have yet to find another city as all encompassing as New York. LA is not for me, red state no way and Suburbia is too boring for a happily single woman. Any suggestions?

  30. This article upsets me a lot. I recently left New York and it wasn’t because I had a choice, really. New York is reality or fantasy, whatever you want, but while living in New York you have to make whatever it is work. Sometimes you can’t afford to live somewhere safe. The amount of run-ins I had per year as an innocent bystander with shootings, FBI investigations, drug deals, and young kids trying to chase down and mug people on the street was astonishing. I would tell friends about my experiences and they would be shocked, stating they had never even come close to some of the experiences I had. Maybe it’s bad luck, but the clues line up nicely to point to a logical answer: low wages, high prices, and how those facets affect location, location, location.

    It’s one thing to be upset about the rising rent prices, grumble and deal with it, paying a hundred dollars more every year and somehow working it out. It’s another situation to be trapped, unable to move out of your current situation because your 70-hour work week still can’t afford anything better even after pulling every string possible and talking to friends to see who knows of an apartment, a job, something, anything. It’s really not a choice when you don’t want to stay for fear of safety, only to find out you can’t stay because the rent is going up and you can’t afford the new price tag. And this is coming from someone who is more financially responsible than most people in New York City. I wish I could have made it work, and I think back constantly analyzing the relationship: What could I have done differently? Could I have worked harder? Did I miss something? And so far I haven’t come up with any viable answers. Sure, life is way easier outside of New York. I landed my dream job and got my dream apartment within my first week. But somehow I couldn’t get to where I am outside of New York while I was living in New York, and I’m sure I’ll still be baffled years from now.

    So maybe there are some other perspectives to look at and stories to listen to outside of your friend circle and in your immediate consumption. Don’t blame people for leaving a place or accuse them of not committing to a city if they have to leave or choose to leave, because sometimes it’s not really a choice. I told people over and over before leaving “oh, you know, just looking for a change of pace” because I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t make it work, that I had essentially put in years and failed, and that I really, truly did not have a choice. Having a choice would have been a wonderful luxury.

  31. Yes NYC is the only place to be…IF your comparing it to everywhere else in America. And most of the people that claim it to be his magical wonderful place are doing just that — most of the US is pretty bland so of course a cultural, built up city like NYC, looks amazing in comparison.

    But really – once you’ve live in the ‘old world’ (aka Europe) you realize NYC isn’t all that special, it’s just special in comparison to its surroundings. (Ps. My I’ve lived in London 5 years and NYC 5 years).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here