New York, I wish I could quit you!
Could you kiss New York goodbye? Hear from writers who say yes—and a very vehement no—and find out if New York is your one true love, or just a fling.
Thu Feb 13 2014
Have you ever thought about walking away from NYC for good? (It's okay—we won't tell.) Despite the endless things to do in New York, and the energy that draws millions here each year, there comes a time for many Gothamites when the urge to pack up and move elsewhere becomes too strong. Read on for stories of loving (and, in some cases, leaving) New York, and why ditching the city could be the hardest break-up of all; plus, we've devised a quiz so you can determine whether you're a New York lifer—or if it's time to move on.
Hell, it's complicated
Amy Plitt, 31, lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, and has lived in NYC for 14 years.
Despite living here for more than a dozen years, I still don’t consider myself a New Yorker. Though I’ve hit all the milestones that should guarantee access to that exclusive club (lived here for more than a decade, perfected the art of walking quickly through tourist-clogged areas, cried on the subway on more than one occasion), I’ve been reluctant to proclaim myself a member. Just this month, the act of getting a New York driver’s license—as official a confirmation of my lifer status as any—made me panic.
Why? I’m not quite sure. Becoming a New Yorker was my goal from an early age, so I went to college here, and have built a life and career in the decade since graduation. But as the years have passed, it’s become increasingly clear that my personality isn’t necessarily simpatico with New York’s. My idea of an awesome Friday night almost never involves being out until the wee hours; if anything, I’ll pop into the dive bar around the corner from my apartment and head home before 11pm. (Should I be admitting this as an editor at a magazine about going out in New York? Oops.) I’ve become increasingly irritated with my daily commute, carrying groceries up four flights of stairs is a pain (literally), and dammit, New York, you’re too fucking loud sometimes.
Even though I can’t imagine living anywhere else, I can’t say that it’s because I consider myself a die-hard New Yorker; it’s more because, well, I’ve never lived anywhere else. Whenever I visit friends and family back in Maryland, I find myself feeling envious of their quieter suburban lives, possibly because I’ve never had that experience. And as I consider where my life might go in the next five or ten years—so, you know, kids—I don’t know if I see that life necessarily working in New York. Not that NYC would be a bad place to raise a child; on the contrary, I’d be happy to have a kid who grew up with Prospect Park as their de facto backyard, or who can navigate Manhattan’s grid before they can read. But will I have the money to make that happen? Or the patience to share a two-bedroom apartment with a screaming baby? (Probably not, on both counts.)
But then I think of all the things I love about New York—its quirky, fascinating history; its myriad cultural institutions; the fact that, even after 14 years, there’s still so much that I have yet to experience—and I know I’m not quite ready to say goodbye. I’ve got a few more years to figure out the big life stuff, so I’ll continue seeking out the corners of New York that I love, and putting up with the things that annoy me. (For now, anyway.)
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Tired of swamped tourist traps, huh? Check out these alternative things to do in New York.