After almost 11 years, I finally left New York City. I’ve been contemplating leaving for years but something always stopped me from following through. Each year I would say this will be my last year but I always chickened out and re-signed my lease.
Side note: The decision to leave was made before the pandemic, not because of it.
Why I Left New York City
I know that NYC is a different place right now due to Covid-19 but I also know that it will one day re-open allowing people to enjoy it’s magic again.
There are many aspects of New York that I love. Things like being able to walk everywhere, the restaurants and cafes, the best shopping, museums, jazz bars, comedy shows, the energy of this city — the list can go on forever. I’ve made some incredible friends over the years, worked at great companies, and literally had the time of my life.
But then I got older and stopped going out as much and experiencing the city like I once had. As more friends relocated to new places or got married – it became harder to see people regularly.
I longed for nature instead of cocktails. Whenever the weather was decent, I found myself leaving the city so I could have fresh air and space. I wanted to live in a place that supported a healthier lifestyle. Frankly, I was sick of the constant noise, never-ending construction, and trash.
Living in NY is incredibly expensive. I wanted a bigger place but couldn’t swallow the price tag of upgrading to a two-bedroom apartment. For that same price, I could have a large home anywhere else in the country.
I’ve always wanted to own something eventually but wasn’t sure if I preferred the city or the burbs. I figured I should try out someplace else before committing to something long-term.
Hello, New Jersey
We decided on New Jersey to be closer to family but didn’t know which town. After a few months of searching, we luckily found an apartment in Red Bank that we really loved.
The town has a small city feel with the ability to walk to restaurants and cafes. I especially liked the access to nature including a park on a river and a 15-minute drive to the beach.
It felt like the right decision.
Why Leaving New York Is Hard
There’s a prestige that comes from saying you live in New York. As Frank Sinatra says, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” This is why I believe it’s so hard to leave.
It’s like once you leave, you’ve failed. But that’s not true. I think change can be good. Life is about different experiences and I was ready to try something new. I had to rip the bandaid off.
Leaving New York was hard. It was especially difficult to leave in the middle of a pandemic without being able to properly say good-bye. With that being said, I feel lucky to be safe and have more space during this crazy time.
A Book On Leaving New York
If you find yourself contemplating whether or not to leave New York, I really enjoyed this book: Good-bye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. It’s a compilation of writers’ stories on their experiences inspired by Joan Didion’s essay.
At the end of the day, New York isn’t going anywhere and I’m not going very far. It will always have a place in my heart and maybe someday I will be back. For now, I’m taking a break and exploring something new.