Leaving New York

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

E.J. McMahon, senior fellow for Tax and Budgetary Studies at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, and Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent  for the New York Times, explain the migration of New Yorkers over time, and how the latest report from the Empire Center fits with census data.


E.J. McMahon and Sam Roberts

Comments [47]


Aug. 04 2011 09:46 AM
Eeugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, I came to New York (Manhattan) in 1996. I was full of hope and dreams. I had just finished my novel Different Flags and thought I could get it published in New York. Unfortunatately, I was naive, but full of drive. Different Flags did get published in 2002 and received excellent reviews. It was published by a publisher in VA and Florida. Wwhen I came to New York I used to be a regullar at the Stanhope Hotel. I used to have breakfast there every single day. Rent here was expensive. I did not have to pay rent in San Francisco. I never had any roommates here. It was just me paying $2,200 or more a month. I miss those days at the Stanhope, across the street from the Metropolitan Museum. It was a fairy tale land, buut I didn't know it then. To me, it was normal. It was family. I went to Ga and got (without realizing it) into mortgage fraud, predatory lending. I lost my home and I came back to New York, where, for a while, I lived on the steps of St. Bart's on Park Avenue. I don't know about my future,. I think NYC is the greatest, but I can't find a job. It has been rough to say the least. Eugenia Renskoff

Aug. 03 2011 02:11 PM
Sonne Hernandez from Chinatown

I have been here for 18yrs and am finally leaving. Taxes. taxes. taxes.Rent. It always has been this way but I really find that the last 8 yrs has gotten outta control. Thank god our work/business can actually be taken anywhere in the wake of computers. It's unfortunate, we will miss it but can visit.

Aug. 03 2011 12:50 PM
Hattie McDoogal from crown hts

please forward each of these messages to mr.markowitz and bloomberg and have them see what they've allowed to develop under their 3 term watch.
this city has always had very very wealthy and very very poor people - but the one thing it used to have and is all of extinct - is the middle buffer.
the middle class - what is that again?

i would like to see a wnyc devote a segment to a virtual/fictitious Museum of the Middle Class of New York City. Bring guests on to speak of what life was like, where they lived, how much money they made...bring historians, bring first hand accounts of New York natives (what is that?) and really drill it into the listeners - the middle class is gone.
The Museum of the Middle Class of New York would preside in Brooklyn, of course. No where else in this city has the disappearance of this specimen been more apparent than Brooklyn's old working class and middle class hoods that are now overrun by wall street employees.

Aug. 03 2011 12:04 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@Nick Lento

LOL......"hard right agenda".........which is anything toward the center compared to the moonbeam Trotskyites who sadly comprise much of this listening audience...LOL.

Bravo Manhattan Institute....the only dissenting voice in NY.

Aug. 03 2011 11:22 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

Dear Bryan,

Whenever you use an "expert" from the Manhattan Institute you should read a disclaimer exposing the source as being from a hard right wing think tank with a hard right agenda.

It's POSSIBLE to have an affordable/decent place to live WITHOUT it's becoming a gentrified land of the rich and wealthy.....the NYC metro area didn't HAVE to become a haven for the super rich and for the desperately poor peasants willing to work off the books for slave wages (who live dirt cheap by sharing with many others in cheap apartments, many of which are illegal) then send cash back to their third world countries.

I wish you would go into more depth on these kinds of issues/questions.

PS You reported (as I recall), at the top of the hour, that all of the NJ congressional delegation (except for Garrett) votes yes on the debt ceiling authorization. Holt, Pallone and Payne all voted no, as I recall.

Why they voted no would be a good story to follow up on btw.

Aug. 03 2011 10:54 AM
J from Brooklyn

To live in NY is to live in a really expensive, highly competitive, high stress, falling apart, haves-and-have-nots third world country.

Aug. 03 2011 10:54 AM
Vanessa Isabel from Brooklyn

I think that NYC is a little bit of a 'survival of the fittest" - moving here from San Francisco it was clear that NYC was much more expensive to live, however the pay is generally better. Sure you can live in South Carolina where it's cheaper but so are salaries and a lack of jobs. I think it evens out. Additionally, I have had to push hard and work harder but it's worth it to live in the greatest city in the world.

Aug. 03 2011 10:39 AM

Born and lived in NYC (on and off) since the early 60's. Left for good three years ago. I only know two people who can still afford to live there. Those two I know are living in the rent controlled apartments they grew up in and are your typical low paid, college educated worker. Both of them have never learned how to drive and are ill equipped to live anywhere else.

NYC is now a big expensive dirty suburb with (curiously) provincially minded people. Sad.

Aug. 03 2011 10:36 AM
david from Philadelphia, PA

I left NYC after 25 years for Philadelphia and LOVE it. NYC is too expensive and not nearly as much fun or interesting as it was when I was a kid. I can go back to NYC for $11 on the Bolt Bus every week and it's still MUCH cheaper. My rent was $1950 in Harlem and is $575 now in Bella Vista.

Aug. 03 2011 10:34 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

Want to stay, but feel pushed out. I am paying 5-6x more to rent then I was when I returned, as a native, in 1996. Not fair that I am being pushed out by folks who have not paid their dues. I grew up here in 70s when NYC was at its worst.

Aug. 03 2011 10:34 AM
john from NYC

I had dinner with someone doing a medical device start-up.

I cannot express how ANGRY he is at the regulations and taxes he if facing in New York.

A lot of people are going to suffer because his group are unable to get their thing done.

Aug. 03 2011 10:34 AM
Steph from Hillsborough, North Carolina

I had to leave NYC in 2008 because of the bad economy. I now live in NC and I am miserable to the point of depression.

I consider myself an economic refugee and would return to NYC if I could find a job that paid a wage where I could live. (I don't need to be rich, or wealthy, I just need to make more than 40,000 a year.)

The thing that keeps me in NC is that I have a job with health insurance and am afraid to leave it. Although everyday I miss NYC and I would probably move in a second if I knew I could get ANY job with health insurance.

Interestingly, my cost of living here is almost the same, but minus the arts, entertainment, friends, diversity, and various other kinds of culture.

So, I would be one of those people who would more back to the city in a heartbeat.

Aug. 03 2011 10:34 AM
Steven Syrek from Washington Heights

My apartment is tiny, I share it with cockroaches and mice. My neighborhood is rowdy and filthy. It stinks in the summer, and I have to slog through ponds of icy water in the winter. The subway is disgusting, unreliable, and capricious. There are homeless people everywhere. It's too expensive, and too many neighborhoods have become full of cookie cutter chain stores and banks. And tourists make it a nightmare to go downtown. Still, I can't even imagine wanting to live anywhere else ever.

Aug. 03 2011 10:34 AM
Maude from Park Slope

PS--I have to admit that terrorism and natural disasters are also factors in my desire to move. What I don't understand is how all of us would get off the island or out of bklyn if there was a disaster. After that tornado and the crazy hailstorm last year, and 2012 coming up, I feel like it's only a matter of time before something terrible happens. natural disaster or otherwise,

Aug. 03 2011 10:33 AM

The guest who comments on New York's great support for the elderly is onto a very important point (which he misses): It is _exactly_ those services which Obama and the Republicans plan to cut.

Aug. 03 2011 10:33 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manahattan

Senio citizen caller-
Reverse migration of seniors back to NY, yes, to take advantage of the overly generous economy- draining entitlements in NY state.
How selfish.

Aug. 03 2011 10:33 AM
Jonn K from nyc

Another thing people don't mention is the beaches. NASTY.
The 5 burroughs are basically made up of all islands and the beaches/water are disgusting! I've lived in NY all my life and I will not go in the water at any of our beaches, I go to NJ if I want a clean ocean experience.
Just think if Manhattan existed off the west coast, how beautiful the perimeter of Manhattan would be, everyone could enjoy the shores.

Aug. 03 2011 10:33 AM

I've lived in NYC the last 22 years. I've only wanted to be in NYC.. but unfortunately it's become a city for the wealthy and the lower classes that serve them.

Aug. 03 2011 10:33 AM

The economics is really very simple. New York City is too expensive. Who wants to spend $2000 per month for a one-bedroom all the way out in the most remote parts of Brooklyn (where I looked last time I moved) in return for a 1.5 hour commute on a crowded, less-frequent, less-clean subway that is out-of-service each weekend because of "maintenance"?

Aug. 03 2011 10:32 AM

The outward migration began in the 70s. That's the year that rent control was changed to stabilization. Leading to higher rents and fewer affordable apartments. And it also marked the beginning of the loss of rental apts. to coops. Affordable housing is the elephant in the room here.

Also, in 1970 the city colleges began to charge tuition.

Aug. 03 2011 10:32 AM
M. L.

@Jonn K from nyc: I like to joke that Manhattan will become (if it hasn't already) a gated community.

Aug. 03 2011 10:32 AM

Commercial rents and housing prices have increased way more than the tax rate in NY. The price of groceries are higher than in the suburbs. Blaming taxes is misleading.

Aug. 03 2011 10:32 AM

I was born and raised in New York and at 24 thought I needed to see what the rest of the country was like so I moved to Denver Colorado for Graduate school. I try to come back to New York whenever I'm free and have just spent the summer here working. So long story short I'm moving back the minute I graduate.

Aug. 03 2011 10:31 AM
M. L. from Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Came to New York from Chicago for grad school. Wanted to experience New York City for a few years. Just moved out to Westchester County last summer, after about 6 years in the city, because I could no longer rationalize spending as much as I was on rent in Brooklyn after getting hit with a pay cut due to the sinking economy. I now live with my boyfriend in an apartment in his parents' house. I'm finally able to save money now that my rent is more in line with my income.

Aug. 03 2011 10:31 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

I came to New York from Florida to attend Stony Brook University. After school, I moved to Nassau County, hoping to find work in the city. The economy crashed, and there was reason to move because there were no jobs anywhere, nor did I have the funds to move around -- at least I have friends here. Eventually I moved to Brooklyn with my girlfriend and found a job. We're leaving, overseas, as soon as possible (aiming for India). New York is just too stressful. We constantly feel stressed and increasingly isolated because any social life in this city is expensive.

Aug. 03 2011 10:31 AM
Sara from Brooklyn, NY

My elder parents moved here in 2000, when in the mid-late 70s, and spent their last years in Brooklyn. (They left NYC in 1956.) Brooklyn is a GREAT place to be old!

Aug. 03 2011 10:30 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

Want to stay, but feel pushed out. I am paying 5-6x more to rent then I was when I returned, as a native, in 1996. Not fair that I am being pushed out by folks who have not paid their dues. I grew up here in 70s when NYC was at its worst.

Aug. 03 2011 10:30 AM
Dante from Rego Park

Born in the Bronx but leaving next month. Salary flatlining rent going up.
Don't know what everyone is talking about with the real estate crash.
I'm too old to have 3 room mate in a wreck of a apartment.

Aug. 03 2011 10:29 AM
Sophie from Pougkeepsie, NY

We're looking to leave NY. My husband has been offered a very good job with the choice of living in either Boulder, Co or Durham, NC.

NY is just too damn expensive!

Aug. 03 2011 10:28 AM
John from NYC

See a liberal shading here?

Blame REPUBLICAN governors and mayors.

No, let's look at the POLICIES. Republican's can put into effect policies hostile to vibrant new businesses just as much as Democrats can.

Aug. 03 2011 10:28 AM
No tnx

Park slope along w upper west side same buildinss but all the peoPle replaced by bankers and bank flacks, etc. Same w village

Aug. 03 2011 10:28 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo to the MANHATTAN INSTITUTE for speaking truth to left wing power. BRAVO!!!!

Aug. 03 2011 10:27 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

The problem is: when the economy tanks and you want to get the hell out of NYC, you can't.

So, you're slogging away at crap jobs that don't pay enough for you to escape this city in the first place.

Plus, there seems to be a lot of very talented people vying for lesser jobs than what they'd easily land elsewhere.

I recently had an interview in DC where there are plenty of people with my type of experience and the firm rolled out the red carpet. Here, I constantly jumped through hoops begging for crappy jobs. That's just so wrong.

I arrived in 2000 but after one 9/11 and one fiscal meltdown, I'm so over this place. The income gap is ridiculous. Most people are barely getting by. It really takes a toll on your psyche.

If someone gave me $2,000 to move today, I would in a heartbeat. I'm tempted to start a Kickstarter account to escape this place.

I've started applying to go to Asia and teach English.

It's just too damn much to withstand in one lifetime. It's hell on earth sometimes.

Aug. 03 2011 10:26 AM

New York renters effectively have _no_ protection against landlords. $1500 per month gets you a roach-infested, rat-infested closet last renovated in the 1950s. For the same rent, in MOST of the country, you can rent a HOUSE for that, with a yard, off-street parking, laundry in the house, and so on. Even in New Jersey, you can get an apartment in a complex with swimming pool for that kind of money.

Another anecdote: An ad agency client of mine described a meeting with a major food producer. The end-client, the food company, wanted to negotiate a lower rate. The exec from the ad agency said, "Well, you have to understand. This is New York...."

The end-client's response? "Move."

Aug. 03 2011 10:26 AM
Tracy from NYC

In NYC, the major problem is affordable housing for the middle class, and the fact that most people are renters makes it easy to leave.

Aug. 03 2011 10:26 AM
Catherine from Toronto

I just moved from NY back to Canada. Owing to the bad economy, it's hard to get a job offer - employers don't want to hire foreign workers over Americans right now, even if we're more qualified than other candidates and better-educated. Potential employers don't want to write the letter that would enable a 6-month work visa.

If the government is serious about kick-starting the economy, it needs to ease up on the rules for Canadians coming to the U.S. (we are a major trading partner, after all) -and, as was just mentioned, the mix of policies isn't doing enough to redress the balance. That balance has to include being open to skilled foreign workers who would be a huge economic boon.

I am utterly heartbroken to have left New |York, and I'd love to come back.

Aug. 03 2011 10:26 AM
Matthew from Astoria

We have to be careful here - don't we? - about distinguishing between New York City and New York state.

In conversations like this, it's very easy (especially on 2nd, 3rd, 4th reference) to simply say "New York." But the demographic trends are, obviously, totally different in NYC and the metro area than they are for the state as a whole.

(For that matter, the trends are probably different for Long Island and for the area from the Catskills south than they are for the north country and central and western NY state.)

Aug. 03 2011 10:25 AM
dan k from Chelsea

most people i know who have left are well educated, low-earners, who can no longer afford the life they want to lead, in a city where the income disparity has driven nearly anyone earning less than 100K/yr away

Aug. 03 2011 10:25 AM
Jonn K from nyc

You mean people don't want to pay $3,000+ a month for a mediocre 1-bedroom apartment??
I'm shocked.
Manhattan is dead. It is now a city for the rich.

Aug. 03 2011 10:24 AM

New York is cutting back on infrastructure. Rents continue to soar. Pay is flat or _declining_ for all but the top 5 or 10 percent of workers.

NO city can be sustained when the _average_ renter has to spend over 35% of his or her income on housing. Another 50% on food, utilities and necessities. New Yorkers are left with _no_ disposable income to enjoy the so-called 'unique' benefits of the city. Consider MoMA, which just raised admission to $25.

Aug. 03 2011 10:23 AM
Maude from Park SLope

Doesn't everyone in NY think about leaving at least half of the time? I love it, I hate it. Personally, I've been here 14 years. I had a corporate job and am now freelancing, and I can do my job anywhere. My rent goes up 300$ every year- I could get a house with a POOL in Athens, GA for the same rent. I adore NY and will miss it terribly, I feel most at home here, but I have to work too much just to make rent.

Aug. 03 2011 10:22 AM

Earlier this year, Michael Bloomberg touted an increase of about 50,000 residents in the past year. That's pathetic.... It put New York at about #25 or 26 in the national rankings of growth in urban areas.

Why? New York is too damn expensive. Except for Wall Street, it is possible to move to _far_ less expensive cities and actually make _more_ money in _nominal_ income. Once we take into account _real_ cost of living, New York fares very badly compared to other cities.

An example, my brother moved to _Cleveland_, saw an increase in pay of about 17% and a reduction in rent of 50%.

New York is a losing proposition for any but the millionaires and billionaires.

Aug. 03 2011 10:22 AM
Matthew from Astoria

We have to be careful here - don't we? - about distinguishing between New York City and New York state.

In conversations like this, it's very easy (especially on 2nd, 3rd, 4th reference) to simply say "New York." But the demographic trends are, obviously, totally different in NYC and the metro area than they are for the state as a whole.

(For that matter, the trends are probably different for Long Island and for the area from the Catskills south than they are for the north country and central and western NY state.)

Aug. 03 2011 10:21 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The migration in the 1970s - abortion had just been made legal, and NYC was the center of abortion, and what followed was tremendous crime in NYC and a close collapse of the city's finances.

Aug. 03 2011 10:19 AM
Edward from NJ

I migrated from NY to NJ during the last census cycle, but like many in NJ and CT, I still rely on the NY economy and I still pay NY state taxes.

Aug. 03 2011 10:16 AM

"70 thousand airplane safety inspectors are working without pay until a deal is reached..."

Is it safe to fly??

Aug. 03 2011 10:10 AM

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