Angry New Yorker

Sunday, May 23, 2004
Less Angry? More perspective?

We've been taking stock of the city's mood and climate over the week, and a number of issues have struck us, which we'll be detailing in future posts.

However, two items stand out in our admittedly unscientific, but representative discussions -- first, that most native New Yorkers over 30 have considered, or are considering leaving New York City, and, second, that despite the polls apparently finding to the contrary, as well as, the general population influx, there is little confidence New York City and New York State will fiscally prosper in the coming decade. Indeed, while NYC has always been very stratified, the stratification is apparently increasing. Generalizations are always dangerous, but as many aging middle-class residents retire to other parts of the country, New York City is once again transformed -- as it has throughout its history. Today, however, it's my belief that those who move into New York City are either freshly minted college graduates, foreign immigrants or the rich, who can easily maintain residences in different locales. For a middle-class professional from, say, the midwest, to move to New York City is fairly unusual.

On a personal note I can relate that of my many childhood friends only one still lives in New York City. The dozen or so others I've kept in contact with have all either moved outside the city limits (i.e., Westchester or Long Island), to other states in the area (primarily New Jersey or Connecticut), or to other parts of the country.

My high school alumni newsletter frequently prints updates of happenings for each class year, and it's striking how many of the blurbs detail alumni no longer in New York City. Now this in itself is far from dispositive, as perhaps only those who move away feel the need to send back news, but it does reveal that the pull of New York City on those born here has waned. As additional evidence, of my spouse's friends a much larger percentage still resides in New York City proper, but the overall trend for native born New Yorkers is clearly out from the five boros.
Given the insane cost of housing, the pathetic state of the public school system, the daily hassle of life in NYC (i.e. long commutes), the ever onerous NY state and city taxes, coupled with the increased spread of amenities (i.e. food, media, Internet, E-bay, etc.) to the hinterlands, once available only in major urban centers, and many New Yorkers realistically analyzing the bottom-line cost/benefit of living in New York City have found the city wanting.

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