Monday, October 4, 2010

Why I Want to Leave New York

I've lived in New York City my entire life, almost 31 years, however (I'm sorry to report) I'm tired of it. The other day, I was getting ready to leave my house and as I opened the front door, there was a homeless man sitting on the steps of my building drinking a beer. Needless to say, it was an awkward situation. I was standing there with Ari in the stroller knowing that I needed to bypass this man to exit my building, but not knowing exactly how to proceed.

To make matters worse, he started talking to me.
"You don't mind if I sit here, do you?" He asked.

Not wanting to get into a confrontation at 9am, I told him I didn't mind, but I could really use some help getting my stroller into the car. I mean, if he was sitting there anyway he might as well assist me, right?

It wasn't an ideal situation, but I made the best of it. However, I'd like to live in a place where this scenario would not occur. I'd rather not have to wonder if strangers will be sitting outside my door as I leave for the day.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to move to the suburbs. That seems too inane. If I end up leaving New York, I'd like to move somewhere in the mountains. California, maybe Vermont?
I don't know. Somewhere remote.

There are the advantages of living in New York:
  • Access to museums and cultural institutions
  • 24 hour bodegas
  • 24 hour pharmacies
  • 24 hour diners
  • Anything that is 24 hours
  • Not having to drive everywhere
  • Ari and Baby Girl being exposed to and raised in an urban environment with all of the above advantages
There are also disadvantages to living in New York:
  • The crazy people on the street who accost you no matter what you do
  • The dirtiness and pollution
  • It is an inherently intense and stressful place to live
  • The abundance of mean people -- not everyone but there are a bunch of them
  • The lack of natural surroundings-- I'm not discounting the parks, but there's an effort involved to get to them
Of course, Wil feels the opposite of how I feel. He spent the majority of his life in the smallest town that ever existed in Texas, so he loves New York and never wants to leave.

I think I've had enough. But, like many New Yorkers, I'm afraid of what will happen if I do leave. What will I miss? What new stores, movie theaters, cultural institutions will arise once I've made my exodus somewhere else. What old stores, movie theaters and cultural institutions will close down once I've gone?

So, what about all of you? Have you had enough of New York or do you love it so much you'll never leave? For those of you that don't live here, are you dying to get out of your small town, or happy where you are? Do tell!


  1. I'm tired of living in Arizona. The summers are long and hot!! I really want to visit Portland, Oregon. I know it rains alot, but I'm looking for lakes, Museums, just stuff to do on the weekends. Arizona is just so boring to me. I've lived here all my life - 36 longs years. I want a change but can't leave my father and family. I feel you on this! It's hard to change....

  2. I know! Part of the reason I'm reluctant to leave New York is because my parents are here. It's so hard. I've always been interested in Arizona. But I hear that it's hot. SUPER HOT. My friend Amanda lives in Portland and I'm dying to visit!

  3. hi sarah, thank you for all your encouragement on my blog! you are too sweet and i am glad you are enjoying my pregnancy story. yes, all the drama is real as crazy as some of the events were.

    i grew up in davis, which is 11 miles west of scaramento. so not quite santa cruz, but norcal nonetheless.

    as i was fighting LA traffic this morning, i thought about the pros and cons to living in a large and bustling city. you're right, people are meaner, have more attitude, and care less about you. however, i have access to resources i wouldn't in a smaller town so right now, the city life is worth it to me.

    have a great evening!

  4. Sarah! I've been bouncing around different states for the past 2 years. I wasn't a huge fan of Denver. It was clean and nice but if you are looking for cultural things for your kiddos you won't find it there. I love FL but it doesn't offer the big city vibe you are looking for. I see that you mentioned Portland. YOU NEED TO GO! You will love it! It has just about everything you mentioned in your post. And lots of crunchy granola things to do like hiking. My husband is from Oregon so I'm a big fan of the Pacific Northwest. I would move there in a minute.

  5. I live in the biggest "city" in South Dakota. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport employs just as many people as my town houses. I don't particularly like living here. The weather is harsh and there isn't enough entertainment to suit my taste. However, it is a pretty amazing place to raise a family. As far as nature goes, you would be hard pressed to find a better place. The eastern half of the state (my side) is quite flat and boring, but once you cross the river it is picture perfect. The black hills host a variety of attractions. Tons of caves and hiking trails, as well as the major attractions such as Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments are found in the hills.
    I would kill to live in NYC. I have been there once and only for 11 hours but I fell in love the second I hopped off the train. I guess I didn't have enough time there to notice any of the downfalls you described.
    It kind of sounds like you would really like northern California. I have visited San Fran, Sacramento, Napa, and Santa Cruz. The landscaping is second to none, the atmosphere can't be beat, and the food is amazing! If I could live anywhere it would be hard for me to decide between NYC and Cali!

  6. LazyDazy, I'm actually from Arizona and live in Portland, Oregon! LOVE IT! I don't understand New Yorkers, if I may be so frank about it. They all hate it and want to leave yet can't. It's like a really bad meth addiction or something LOL! I think a lot of native New Yorkers are afraid to leave, perhaps thinking the "outside world" to be full of po-dunk towns and corn fields. I swear it isn't so! There are many bustling cities that are not as crowded, rude, and expensive as NYC.

    Nowhere is perfect, but there is a "perfect" place for every personality. Portland suits us very well, even though there are some things that annoy me about it (lots and LOTS of cloudy days, people who drive so nicely that it's annoying, the expense of some things like driver's licenses because we don't pay sales tax, etc.)

    The best thing about where I live is I can drive 20 minutes in any direction and experience nature. I can drive an hour in one direction and get to the beach, to the mountains, to a river, a lake, and a little further and I'm in the desert (yep, Oregon has deserts). It's amazing.

    We have lived in 3 states in the past 4 years. I think it's great to move around and find a place you like, instead of settling for less. It's hard in a relationship though because you have to compromise.

  7. Amanda - That's it. I'm moving to Portland!

  8. Ehh I'd like to move too, half the time, mostly when I think about the fact that we BOUGHT an apartment a few months ago and I feel trapped. I want Sion to be able to run around in a backyard big enough to get lost in. I'm thinking a country house and beach house is my ideal. ;-)

    weird, this is Becky, not Jon, but it's signing me in as him!

  9. I was born and raised in Louisville, Ky, but moved to Ohio when I turned 18. I've been wanting to go back ever since (18 yrs later). We live outside of Cincinnati (a filthy city) so we're close enough to Museums and the like. The town we're in is a dying town, everything is shutting down and there aren't any jobs. However, we're on the edge of another town that's rural and the schools are great (to a point) and 90% of the families are involved in everything their kids do, which is important to me. I would, though, love to venture out to Portland myself too.

  10. Becky - I would love the same for Ari! It's so important for kids to have access to nature! But I guess frequent trips to natural surroundings are good too!

  11. You should move to Ottawa. I was born and bred here, so i might have a bias but it is super good for families. We have a lot of national musuems (science and technology, nature, childrens, national art gallery, agriculture farm musuem, etc) that are really affordable. I live in central suburbs in a neighbourhood built in the 50s, so in theory, a 8 min drive downtown, outside of rush hour, 20m in rush hour). You can live lakeside in cottage country here and commute downtown in less than an hour. Ottawa is on the quebec border, that is important for poutine and for their 18 year old drinking age, which was fab in high school.....

    seriously, i never knew ottawa was so good. you should move here. and the piece de resistance: our mayor is a dead ringer for lex luther...can you beat that?

  12. I've always toyed with the idea of becoming an expatriate. And, if I ever did, it would be to go to Canada. Ottawa sounds awesome. Also Vancouver? It's on the other end of the country, but I liked it when I visited!

  13. I too was born and raised in New York. I have family spread out and the majority of them live in North Carolina. It's green, it's beautiful, it's quiet, it's boring! I don't know if I could survive outside of NY. I love 24 hour anything, the sound of traffic, and the overall fabulousness. However, I also like the country. So this is the only solution I can come up with: Get rich, stay in NY, and buy a house in the country to get away minus anxiety because I know I can come back!

  14. Man, this is hard. The first time we went to New York we fell in love with it and wanted to move there right away! So I am probably not the best person to ask. :-)

    We live very downtown but Ottawa isn't as big a city as New York. So while we have panhandlers on the street at the corner they aren't on our front steps.

  15. Jenn, I hear you, and of course I fully agree with you on the love of all things 24 hours. I used to believe I couldn't survive outside of NY, but I am starting to believe I could live elsewhere!

    Capital Mom- It would be nice to live in a place where homeless people were not directly outside my door.

  16. Sarah as you know i lived in New York my whole life up till 28 years. Now that I'm out, I feel like a completely different person and don't think that I could ever go back to live. I've imagined living in many places in my future-- something about living in New york makes people think it's the only place worth living, and now that I've left I appreciate all the subtler more nuanced charms of each city. of course my whole childhood I imagined living in small towns, so I don't think New York and I ever fit. of course I still miss it though, and next time I'm in New York we should really meet up for coffee! I'd love to meet your adorable kids that i feel I already know from your blog :)

  17. Daniella- You got it! It's a date!


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