The Five Worst Reasons For Leaving NYC

Categories: Advice

It seems like about half my friends have split town in the last decade or so, and I totally sort of understand, though I deeply resent the following excuses that I've heard from some of the defectors:

(5) I had to leave after 9-11.

Huh? Did you think that kind of thing was going to happen every day? And were you convinced that no bad thing would ever happen anywhere else? Besides, after 9-11, wasn't that the time to love NYC more than ever, especially since the hometown response was warming, lifting, and generally incomparable? What a wuss. You're right--you don't belong here.

(4) It's just gotten too gentrified. The edge is gone.

Oh, really? So you decided to move to Springfield, Missouri? How's the edge doing over there? Enjoying the bohemian life much?

(3) I now have a terrace and a garden. It's so nice! I always wanted a terrace and a garden.

But it's in Idaho, you dumb so-and-so!

(2) My life was going nowhere. I was completely unhappy. Nothing was working out. And I wanted to be far away from my exes.

But no matter where you go, you're going to run into yourself, huns. Might as well have stayed here, Miss Golightly.

(1) I just couldn't afford NYC anymore. I was dying to stay, but it's now out of my price range.

And the reason I hate that reason most of all is because it rings so true! It's an honest excuse! And it's what the people saying the other four things really mean!

But they still should have stayed and tried to make do. There's no excuse not to.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

NYC ain't the center of the's just the center of NYC....turned into a glorified shopping mall with BofA on EVERY corner

prince 2 Like

Musto, I love you, but I always chuckle a bit at over-eager "new" new yorkers and small-minded native new yorkers.


I lived through 9/11, more GYPSY revivals than I care to count, and end of most of my fav parties.  Why did I leave nyc?


Rio has better weather and hotter guys.  Paris has lovelier architecture and art.  Montreal has more spectacular weathers.  Chicago has more rough edges. London has a better music and theatre scene.   Tokyo is more visceral.  Berlin is open later and is waaaaaay more slutty.  Toronto is cleaner.  China will be the dominant world superpower any time now. Working in Africa is more satisfying than being a cog in a city-sized machine.


Sad that you and so many others think the only alternatives are idaho or springfield. Get out of the city, really travel and see the world, and your perspective on nyc will change :)

Timmee 1 Like

I went to live in Minneapolis for 6 months after 9/11. My ex was working there. I thought I was glad to have left NYC after the trauma. Boy was I wrong.


Reasons 5, 4, and especially 3 ('cause fuck your garden) are terrible reasons.


Reason number 2 is more valid than it's getting credit for- because it's not NYC specific. People leave in order to start anew, reinvent themselves or shake up their lives ALL THE TIME. In fact, it's one of the main motivators for people moving TO New York in the first place. If it's valid to leave Chicago to chase the brass ring in New York, it's just as valid to leave New York in order to pursue greener pastures elsewhere.


1 is, as Michael cops, totally valid. But dismissing it with "But they still should have stayed and tried to make do. There's no excuse not to." is super, super weak. There are TONS of excuses not to, chiefly among them the fact that not everybody is cut out to be poor in their middle age. It can be a fun adventure for some, trying to scrape along the city making less than $50K per year- but that starts to get ugly once your 20's and early 30's fade into the distance. One has to ask themselves: "what am I doing this for again?" Boutique cupcake shops and off-broadway plays? "The energy"? When you could be living a decent, comfortable life in almost any other city in America? Look, I love NYC. I have chosen to live here and love it. But it ain't for everyone. I'm sorry Michael's friends moved away. That's a bummer. But one of the ugliest shared characteristics of New Yorkers is our seething insistence that everybody "stick it out" and be as miserable as the rest of us. It's something to be reigned in.


Also, reason 1B (and the "B" is with a bullet): KIDS. "New York is expensive and I just had a KID". If you don't have the bankroll for private schools and aren't lucky enough to live in the handful of districts that funnel into the few decent public schools in Manhattan,  what are you gonna do? Let your kid receive a shitty, substandard education so you can continue your little bohemian fantasia? Again- that's a way to go. But don't think less of people for NOT choosing that route.


"I just couldn't afford NYC anymore"


Actually, I understand, lay-offs and all, but I can't really forgive that the old days, we lived were our coins let us and figured it out from there...way back when.  We gays took to the undervalued, "gritty" nabes and made them our own in a fashion. 


Back in the '80's Amsterdam Ave, from 74th St and above was the "gritty/grimy" area...we flocked.


What this excuse really means..."I want to live in the fab nabe, NOW!


Hunny, you gotta pay yr dues first, if you ain't a trust fund baby.


You're so right about the 9-11 wusses. They DIDN'T belong here.

bethesda topcommenter

I hate the "NY lost its edge" thing. Then move to Brooklyn, not Texas!