Fleeing New York State of Mind

If you’re not from here, you can’t really understand why we put up with it.

I love New York City and the metro area I’ve called home for the better part of 34 years.  It’s the greatest, most sophisticated place on earth and sometimes the most frustrating and filthy.

I commute each day back and forth between the dystopian fourth-world slum of Penn Station and the towering, sun-drenched Beaux Arts masterpiece that is Grand Central Terminal (not “Grand Central Station“, the trains end here – they don’t go through).  It is hard to understand how both of these opposing kingdoms can exist within 10 blocks and 4 avenues of each other.

We say that there’s a twenty dollar walking-out-the-door-tax for NYC residents; no matter what you do, the minute you walk out of your apartment you’ve somehow spent 20 bucks.

My kids will grow up here, for better and for worse.  They will be shuttled in and out of the city proper for museums, Broadway shows, class trips and family dinners.  They will come back from college and strive for their first NYC apartments and I will freak out leaving them alone in that jungle the day I help them move in.

Also, I will probably die in New York.  I’ve given this a lot of thought.  I love traveling but New York does things to you, it makes it so you can’t quite get along elsewhere.  I no longer have any patience and can’t function in a place where everyone around me and the people behind cashier’s counters aren’t in a rush.  I’m not proud of this, but I’m also not in control of it.


The financial burden of “making it” here and being able to take advantage of everything this area has to offer has become absolutely absurd – almost not worth it.  We like to joke around and say that to raise a family in Manhattan you have to make at least a million dollars a year.  That joke becomes less of a joke with every passing month, it is borderline true.

I’ve watched my crew of friends and acquaintances get engaged, get married, have the first kid and then buy a house in the ‘burbs one by one for the last 5 years.  Then they find out that the suburbs of New York are equally unaffordable, just in different ways.

There is an Exodus from New York State underway.  We all know this has been happening for a while now.  A brand new poll conducted by NY1 and Marist has some pretty eye-popping stats on the severity of it…

From the New York Post:

A recent poll finds that 1 in 3 New Yorkers under age 30 plans to move to another state at some point.

And 1 in 4 adults plans an exodus from the Empire State within five years.

The NY1-YNN-Marist College poll released Thursday night puts numbers to the decades-long exodus from New York, which once led the nation in manufacturing and other high-paying jobs.

The reasons cited for leaving?  Jobs, cost of living and high taxes.

Manufacturing in New York State is dead, publishing is dying and Wall Street can’t wait til the day they can move every employee except the bankers out to Jersey and beyond.  As far as taxes – from property to income to sales tax – the whole thing is absurd.  And cost of living?  Laugh Out Loud.

I have a doctor client in Atlanta who grew up in NY and then left to open his practice down there years ago.  I guarantee he leads a significantly higher quality of life than the physicians in my county on Long Island.  He probably isn’t seeing patients 12 hours a day and is certainly not paying his support staff and landlord what my doctor friends pay here.  He’s fortunate to have a portable profession.  My profession would have been portable prior to my having built a practice made up of 60% New Yorkers.

So I’m here and likely staying, even as a quarter of the state’s adults make ready to flee.  All my friends and a lot of my family are here, too – for now.  I take advantage of my New Yorkership when and where I can.  I make my peace with the stuff I can’t change and get excited about the things that others can.

But not a week goes by where I don’t fantasize about being a bigger fish in a smaller (warmer) pond.  It’s nice to know I’m not alone.


Poll: 1 in 3 young NYers plans to leave state (NYP)



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