Are You All-In On New York City?
There are times in your life that force a decision about moving. Your landlord is selling your apartment. You have completely outgrown your place. You get relocated because of a job. Perhaps you’re going through a divorce. In these cases, people have to come to terms with moving, because there is no other choice.
But there are plenty of moving decisions that are discretionary. That is, you ask yourself whether you want to move, or not.
The last 2-3 years have been a gut check for New Yorkers, and people everywhere. Can you do your job from another city? From another state? From another country? Do you want to be elsewhere? Or do you want to stay here. That is, do you love New York, or not? Are you all-in??
Back in 2020, the media decided that the arc of the COVID story would be this:
- Everyone’s leaving
- They want to go to Florida, upstate or elsewhere
- Eventually, everyone had remorse and would come back
- Then, everyone comes back and New York City is great again
I was surprised that reporters were fishing with bazookas. That is, looking for the stories to fit this narrative. I saw people moving into parents’ homes in Long Island. I saw people borrowing houses from family in Florida. I saw lots of families sharing homes and finding sanity in collaboration. And I saw lots and lots of people hunkering down.
So initially, I was poking holes in the narrative, because of what I saw:
- Not everyone was leaving. In fact, it was mostly renters leaving, and more specifically- young, unmarried professionals
- Many people were MOVING to New York for job opportunities
- Other than Midtown, things weren’t as bad as people thought with streetlife
- And other than the Penn Station area, things everywhere weren’t as bad as people thought
Since then, people did move to Florida, but not always for the reasons reporters though. Think tax shelters. And people did buy upstate, and all around the Northeast in smaller markets. But in a lot of cases, people didn’t sell their homes in New York. They wanted to see whether it “took.”
As much as I pooh-poohed the media arc, the rest of their predictions either came true on their own, or were willed into existence. A lot of people moved out and indeed are coming back.
However, it’s not just Florida people who decided that New York’s better. Some people never left- they just came to grips with their love for the place.
COVID forced a reckoning with people who thought they wanted to move- and they changed their minds.
They considered New Jersey, or Riverdale, but were perhaps a little late in the game. They thought they wanted the space, the better and easier-to-manage public schools, the backyards.
They went to see what the suburbs held for them. And you know what? It wasn’t all green grass and white picket fences for them.
Many people had the gut check- and decided to stay in New York City.
Add In Those People Who Weren’t Sure.
They had never wanted to move, but also couldn’t commit here. The same people who waited until 40 to get married. They just weren’t ready to make a decision. And somehow, COVID was that catalyst for change.
What about the people who KNEW that they didn’t want to move but felt some peer pressure to consider leaving?
What’s Happened to them all?
FOMO started moving towards Manhattan. Events are wild. Restaurants are alive. Venues are hopping. The streetscape is looking better. Adams has more cops on the subway- and everywhere. Regardless of who is shrinking their office footprint, or laying off staff, or getting hauled to jail for fraud, New York City is back.
And if you weren’t all-in on New York before, you are now.
Welcome to the club.