Streams

Brooklyn Left Me Broke and Tired

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Heidi Reinberg is tired of worrying about money. She’s 53 years old. She’s gotten by as a freelance documentary producer in New York for 30 years. But she told me her coffers have dried up just when her landlord is selling. She’s losing her apartment — one that's just six doors down from Mayor Bill de Blasio's house in Park Slope.

Heidi made her choices, she knows that. But as her own neighbor came to dominate the mayoral race with his tale of two cities — one of the ultra-wealthy vs. those near the poverty line — there's been another group in the middle that is quietly losing ground. Median rents have increased seventy-five percent in New York City since 2000, while incomes have declined by 5 percent. Heidi is one of those people in the middle: a college-educated professional who's finding that the life she's used to now comes with a heftier price tag. 

This is the story of one woman whose optimism couldn't hold up against financial realities.

We're collecting your stories, too: when was money the deciding factor for you in a major life transition? Tell us below, in the comment section. 

Heidi's apartment, in the brick building, is just six doors up from Mayor de Blasio's house in Park Slope

Heidi's apartment, in the brick building, is just six doors up from Mayor de Blasio's house in Park Slope.

 

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Money is hard to talk about:

I think you can talk to your friends about sex. You can talk to them about depression. You can talk about health things — what are the other taboos? You can’t talk about money. Money is the last taboo. And maybe I'm underestimating my friends, but nobody wants to hear that you're having a hard time making ends meet.


She remembers her social life being less expensive when she was young.

Heidi (second from right) remembers her social life being less expensive when she was younger.

 

Defining a decent life:

I don’t want much. I just want a decent place to live and a decent neighborhood with people that I enjoy seeing in the morning, that I can have relationships with. I want home.

Dating when you’re broke:

I met somebody who’s going through pretty much the same thing right now, and things were going pretty good for a while although nobody could afford to fly to meet the other person. I think, for me at least, the stress of being optimistic all the time — there’s just not much to be happy about. I like being positive around everybody else, and I feel like I’m walking around in this constant — I’m gonna burst into tears any minute.

On shame:

There’s definitely a shame factor to it. I mean, I’ll say that. You feel like a failure. There’s just so much shame attached to money and to not making a living. 


Heidi and Anna in Heidi's apartment of 17 years, just weeks before she has to leave.

Heidi and me in her apartment of 18 years, just weeks before she's being forced to leave.

Over on The Brian Lehrer Show, we've been talking about rent. How do you feel about the place you rent, and has your apartment ever really felt like home?

Guests:

Heidi Reinberg

Hosted by:

Anna Sale

Comments [89]

SammyA. from Park Slope, Bklyn

I'm Brooklyn born and raised. In 2009, I moved into a one bedroom in Crown Heights (26yrs old-my 1st apartment). High ceilings, wood floors, crown molding, live-in super - all the stuff Brooklynites were used to for $900/month. I thought Manhattinites, paying thousands of dollars for apartments smaller than my kitchen, were ridiculous. [I guess they agreed.] I grew up in Park Slope, played in Prospect Park, waved my flag on Eastern Parkway on Labor Day, had roti at Gloria's on Nostrand, coconut drops at Conrad's and Allen's Bakery around Utica. My family lived (and still lives) in East Flatbush. Wide avenues, open sky, no pretenses. Brooklyn was home. In 2011-2012, the landlord put in a garden & a new, smaller elevator (nothing wrong with the old one). Thus, the MCI increases. Higher lease renewal rates. My rent went up 3X's in one year. Almost half my income went to rent. Forget trying to save - I had school loans, utilities, debt and I did have to eat! I used to manage very well but it got too hard - I had NO MONEY. At landlord-tenant court, I saw three of my neighbors on the docket. I saw young, urbane people waiting to be called before the judge. I got an emergency loan (I made too much to qualify for a grant)to help me avoid eviction. It wasn't enough. At 35yrs old, I moved back in with my mother. I made $67K/year and have a college degree. I'm on her couch right now. I have to leave Brooklyn. I can't afford it, and I don't want to live in East NY. I'd like to own property and have disposable income. My rent was around $1300/month when I was displaced. Priced out tenants were the talk of the building. I cannot do $1700/month for a studio on Church Ave! I'm sure there are city folks who think that's a great price. Those are the people moving in, with their bars and cafes, while the neighborhood fades. Its sad. People on my old block are moving away, selling out. The money is too good - even for 'Junior's' Restaurant. My question now - where to go?

Aug. 06 2014 12:40 AM
Florida Chick from beach

so the plan here is to bankrupt this credit card debt? isn't that the subtext?
for clothes and lifestyle and...manicures? I didn't hear much about medical debt or even equipment to continue her film career. just - being a New Yorker.
for this - credit card companies will be stuck with those lifestyle items?
hmmm.

Aug. 01 2014 10:55 PM
Suburban flunkie from The burbs!

After college, I never thought I could afford to live in NYC even with a roommate, mainly b/c there would just be so much to pay in rent anyway. So I lived with my parents for many many years. Eventually, I worked my way up the proverbial food chain until I could feel comfortable with paying for a tiny studio but with the caveat that I would be able to cover my rent with unemployment, heaven forbid something like a layoff would happen. And of course it did eventually because that's what happens in life.Today, I live in the suburbs now, married with children in the whole stereotypical house and travel soccer song and dance. Could I have lived more fully and with greater boldness in my 20s and 30s? Probably. But everything in life has a tradeoff and I wasn't willing to take that risk back then. Now I can.

Jun. 23 2014 09:53 PM
Ray from New Jersey

I met my wife in October 1959, (yes there was life then). I was sitting outside of my fraternity enjoying the October weather when she walked by pushing a bicycle. I was in my last semester at Univ of RI and would graduate with a Civil Engineering degree in 4 months. One look and I was totally taken. I got a date that Sat night and proceeded to be at her dorm every day after till I left school. Four months later I entered the Army as an ROTC 2nd Lt. I was stationed in North Caroline and for the next year and a half courted her from NC coming back to URI every 2 weeks since she had a year and a half to go. ..... 52 years later, three children later, Dee died from breast cancer after 51 years of marriage.
I am totally lost!
When we started out we lived in a Queens apt and felt like were were on top of the world; we were. We never had much money; I was a community college engineering teacher taking in little money but I always took a 2nd job to make it work. Our 51 years together were not without problems; she was an artist, watercolor, and a relatively private person. She was the world's best listener. I was an engineer and consider myself 'outgoing'. We always managed to allow each other the freedom to be ourselves. In the past 9 years Dee suffered from her breast cancer and went through endless procedures. Eventually Mr. C caught up with us and she died in Feb, 2014. For a long time I understood she would eventually die but but I somehow pushed it aside. I was able to keep her home under hospice care for 6 months however now, 4 months later I'm totally lost. Our three children all living nearby show concern and constantly call with invitations to dinner etc. At this point I wonder if i will survive this. I hope so! I miss her so much!!

Jun. 18 2014 07:26 PM
sanych

For all you snobbish NY types - before you go to the West Coast, why don't you try the West Bank???

I mean New Jersey...

I know I am going to knock some people off their stools when I say - New Ark.

Yes, Newark. Specifically, North Newark's area called Forrest Hill.

It has nice properties for sale and for chronic renters - the rents are very reasonable. I don' rent, so don't quote me, but I've heard that two bedroom apartment goes for about $800/month or LESS.

This place makes a lot of sense if you don't have children - I understand that the schools are not really that great, although there is a charter school nearby, but it is very difficult to get into it (again, hearsay, I don't have kids of that age).

The neighborhood is very decent, people say 'hello', there are some people who moved from Prospect Park (http://nypost.com/2012/05/10/the-hill-with-it/), there is a very active neighborhood association - http://fhcanewark.org/, etc.

One thing that is not covered in these publications is that the area is a very easy commute to NYC. There is a light rail nearby (I personally use Bloomfield ave station). This takes you to Newark's Penn Station with PATH and NJ Transit. There is also NJ Transit Broad Street station. And then, there are buses on Bloomfield ave that go to all kind of places (including Newark airport, so that you can fly to LA after all).

May. 19 2014 07:07 PM
melissa from Long Island

I want to move back to the city, but I am scared. Can I afford it? When I left, I was living in a 2 bedroom apt in Bed Stuy. The rent wasn't over $1,000. I am in limbo in the 'burbs. My marriage has fallen to pieces. My house is in foreclosure. I would love to stay without my husband,but he would never leave me alone. I am staying in a house that is not mine and I am choosing to give it up, but in the interim I am paying off shared debt. I am getting rid of everything that will not fit in a one bedroom apt. My children can have the bedroom and I can sleep on the sofa. When you have been mentally, physically, emotionally, financially abused, being homeless is just another hurdle. I just do not want to be in an apartment and drowning in debt.

May. 18 2014 06:25 PM
Kelly R from Portland, Oregon

The timing of listening to this show could not have been better for me. At the end of the show you asked about the moment where it was decided that money mattered more than whatever else I had going on. I worked on an ambulance for ten years in Portland, Oregon, putting myself through school, perhaps taking a bit longer than is traditional, and along the way I managed to get married, have a kid and get divorced. I finally finished with the fine arts degree I always wanted, and started pouring my heart and soul into the video production company I started when I was about halfway through my education. I'm an animator and filmmaker. Basically the company was just a way for freelancers to connect and make it look like we were part of a company, which looks better than simply doing freelance work.

After a year of putting everything I had into the company and barely scraping by, I started having problems with one of the other guys with whom I started the company. Without getting into the details the important thing is that he was being really domineering and not collaborative, and started making all the decisions as if was solely his call. I started to feel pushed out.

The moment you asked about came when I decided that it was too much work, too much stress, too little work and far too little money. I did the math and all told I had $96,000 dollars of student loans and credit card debt that was not going anywhere living the way I had been living. I had been freelancing doing graphics for a construction litigation firm for years, and I knew that if I asked for a full time job, there was a very good chance they would hire me. The partner in question moved ahead and got a much larger, much bigger, much more expensive studio space than I was willing or able to afford to chip in on, and that was the final straw. I realized that while the rest of those guys had nothing to lose, I had a kid, another one on the way, and at 34, I just couldn't justify spending any more of my time and energy and money on something that might work out eventually. I quit the company and took the full time office job.

It felt awful. It felt like I stuck a knife in my dreams, and I have to remind myself every day that this is the right choice not just for myself, but for my family, for my daughter. I have to remind myself that this frees up my time so that I can pursue art for the sake of art, and not for the sake of getting paid from a client. That having a day job doesn't make me less of an artist. I tell myself these things every day, and I hope that eventually I will start to listen.

The core of that aha moment for me is that I knew it was time to not be selfish and do what I had to do for other people. I listened to this podcast as I sat in my little office drawing graphics, and it was exactly what I needed to hear to remind me that it was the right choice. Not the fun choice, not the choice I would make for myself, but the right one for the life I chose to have.

May. 17 2014 09:09 AM
Laura from Boston, MA

This resonates strongly with me. I am a freelance writer who was born and raised in Brooklyn throughout the 1980s & 90s. My brother still lives there, in the rent stabilized apt we grew up in. I now live in the Boston area, just outside of Cambridge and even though living here has been remarkable for my writing, it has been a struggle to make ends meet. At the last apt I lived in my rent was raised a $100 when it renewed the second year...and then the landlord told me he was raising it another $150 the following years only a few weeks into the new lease. My salary hasn't gotten any higher, and most people's haven't. Wages aren't keeping up at all with the cost of living. I was lucky enough to get an apt in affordable housing...but even that is THAT cheap $1,000/mo for a 1BR (to offer a comparison, most 1BR apts in my area now average 1,300 to 1,400 BUT only in 2010 when I was looking around, they averaged 1,000--so in just a few years it's gone up several hundred dollars a month...while in the 90s through early 2000s rent prices more or less stayed the same. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released a report in December that found now 1 out of 2 people pay more than a third of their income to rent (which is the threshold at which it is considered a financial burden)...while 1 out of 4 pay more than HALF of their income to rent. This is a record high. I have friends who make triple my income who talk about fleeing this city because they can't afford it anymore and can never buy a home. Many of the professors here in creative writing programs have said that Boston has become a city hostile to writers...For more on that Harvard report, you can read my article about it at http://www.thestreet.com/story/12206108/1/renters-is-a-third--or-half--of-many-peoples-income.html

May. 15 2014 04:09 PM
Erin from Humboldt County CA

Anna, your show topic has excellent timing, and Heidi- well, I hope she gets at least one of the things she sees for herself 6 months down the road.

You end the show with a question about how money has shaped decisions. For me, it has not just shaped decisions but defined them during the past 7 years when I went back to college as a 30-some. Money was part of the reason I chose a state university in rural California. Money is THE reason I am working outside my degree field. Worrying about money has caused stress related illness- which I don't have insurance for and will have to spend more money on, thank you ACA tax fines.

Hopefully you can keep your show up so that people know they aren't alone- even though it feels like it when you can't sleep because you are trying figure how to rob Peter to pay Paul- and keep a roof over your head.

Thanks for providing a voice to this topic.

May. 14 2014 08:07 PM
Andy

I had kind of the opposite problem: I couldn't escape because of money. Just out of college, I got a job at a small Upstate New York newspaper. The pay was just a little above the poverty line, but the town I was living in was a very inexpensive place to live. Every journalism grad knows the drill: After graduation just get a job, get experience and get out. This was 1990, the recession hit and the papers I was looking at weren't hiring - or maybe they just weren't hiring me. Anyway, after a few of years, I was itching to leave (the place was a rough place socially for a single guy in his 20s), but I couldn't escape. I couldn't find a job in a place I wanted to be, and the job I did have just paid the bills and left me with zero savings. I was stuck, and I was miserable. Unexpectedly, I started dating a girl who a student at a nearby college. After graduation, she was planning on going to dental school in a state where the jobless rate was 12%. I knew this girl was the one for me, so job or no job, I was going with her. Long story short, I did get a job (the only place that read my resume), I married the girl and we're doing well on all fronts.

May. 14 2014 03:32 PM
James Edwards from Manhattan

I am a screenwriter, filmmaker and playwright,and have been in NYC a little longer than Heidi. I've managed to survived, mainly because I started my own business, not by relying on the next gig. It has been hard (always working several jobs at once, and I don't have a trust fund), that's for sure, juggling everything (raising a child as a single parent, paying for private schools, not to mention rent, etc.). I am not sure it needs to be this way. You know, a city that is stressful, impossible, and arguably violently indifferent to the needs of certain demographics that help to full out and make it unique.

I've had the pleasure of having many French filmmakers and artists stay with me in my NYC apartment over the years, and they all seem to say the same thing when I explain to them the stress of navigating the survival shoals of this town -- we don't have that stress in France. We don't have those worries. Their reactions range from mildly confused to outrage. They can't seem to understand that an advanced, civilized society would not provide more support for their artists and arts professionals. That it would not fashion a better safety net for everyone (no, I am not pushing for socialism).

I know the reporter mentioned, in a rather resigned way, something to the effect that "Heidi knows she made her choices." But really, was there much choice to begin with? It would have been interesting if this podcast had taken a look at that question. We seem to have this habitual notion in our heads in America, that it is all a matter of individual choice. We create our destinies. When there are so many (many, many) factors that also contributed to Heidi's predicament -- the real forces that control our town, publicly and privately, or just plain old luck, to mention a few.

May. 14 2014 12:12 PM
In the fire from the frying pan

I was born and raised in the Bronx, went to middle school, high school, and college in Manhattan, living in a dorm there for some years in the late 90's. I always figured I would be living in the city at this point in my life.

I make more money now than I ever imagined I would and despite that, I feel I am treading water, living in one of the cheaper Westchester suburbs. If my wife goes back to work then we have to pay for questionable child care. If my mother retires soon, then I can pay her to do it, but she is worried about her healthcare costs and she has a pre-bubble mortgage that is actually reasonable for the house she has, but that she took on way too late in life in her pursuit of the American Dream.

I want to leave this area altogether. I remember as a teenager seeing many ads selling houses in the Poconos. Back then I couldn't imagine why someone would want to leave the city. I get it now, but I am considering a place much further away from here.

New York City is not my home anymore.

May. 14 2014 12:07 PM
Eric Singer from Pittsburgh, PA

Had a great run of 15 years in Brooklyn as an artist. Did and learned amazing things. Left in 2009 for Pittsburgh, and I couldn't be happier here. Better standard of living, free time, more space and the freedom to do projects that I could never have done in NYC (like start a fire arts festival...this would never fly in NY).

My biased advice: move to Pittsburgh, or any up-and-coming mid-sized city.

May. 14 2014 10:47 AM
The Rev. from Poverty

I am with Howard. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and now from Brooklyn to Queens. If Queens gets out of hand I am gone. I am a native and have no problem making sure I live where my income will match my standard of comfortable living.

May. 14 2014 07:49 AM
Katie McCaskey from Staunton, VA

This story resonated with me. I came to Manhattan for graduate school from L.A. and stayed a few years. We left and moved to a walkable small town. We started a neighborhood business, built a great sense of connection in a creative community, and haven't looked back. This isn't to say it is "easy" to redefine yourself but it is possible. Here's a radio interview on the dark days of that process: http://www.thestory.org/stories/2012-03/george-bowers-grocery-store ... and the "Micropolitan Manifesto" that calls for other creative entrepreneurs to rediscover our smallest urbanity: http://bit.ly/zcZf9T

May. 13 2014 05:04 PM
SB from Brooklyn

I just read all 72 comments. Several things jump out:

Most, if not all, of the priced out folks are/were renters. Funny, Brian had a show recently that talked about how renting was so much better than buying. Humm......

The other thing that jumps out is the neighborhoods (Park Slope, UWS, Village, etc) that folks are being priced out of. There are many other neighborhoods in NYC that have lower prices.

I am only a few years older than Heidi. I am retired now but I was a civil servant. I grew up in Sheepshead Bay and when I was buying my house in 1987 I couldn’t afford the houses there so I went to a cheaper spot--Bensonhurst. The houses were smaller and the area is not very hip but it was affordable and convenient (mass transit down the corner).

All these years later my house is paid off and my monthly expenses are cheaper than any rent you could pay. I will never be priced out.

My thoughts are if you really want to stay in NYC take the plunge and buy a small place in a not so hip neighborhood. They do exist in NYC.

May. 13 2014 01:16 PM
Aimee from Bronx, NY

Hey Bee, I HEAR YOU!!! I just got back from a trip to Portland and let me just say it is gorgeous and an awesome city - great food and an excellent nightlife. Plus affordable. I haven't looked into housing or work yet.....very important details....but I remain hopeful. So that's where my heads at. That, or maybe even Savannah, GA??????? I'm thinking smaller city with some personality, known for their food, and cheaper cost of living. Let's bring NYC to these parts of the states shall we?

May. 13 2014 12:43 PM
Bee from Brooklyn, NY

I listened to this wide-eyed because it strikes a chord with exactly what's going on with me right now. Although I've only been in Brooklyn for 2.5 years I have struggled to leave my job which was started as a temp position - ie. I'm doing the same crap I was when I got here, especially because the company knows I want nothing to do with this type of role. I've been job searching for quite a while without luck. And at the end of the day I don't make enough to accumulate a savings. I burn right through my paychecks, and I'm sick of trying to keep afloat.

I have three months until I decide my next move (I've previously lived on the west coast and left that for NYC when my job there dried up). Just last night a friend and I were talking about how our age (30) is influencing our decisions now. Gone are the carefree, playtime days when we left for San Francisco on a whim. Personally, I almost feel like I'm ready to go back home again. Like, I need my mother in my life, like I've fulfilled my 'city girl' living and am experiencing a return to my hometown identity, which I tried to shed and run from for a decade.

If anyone can offer any advice, resources, etc, I am all ears...

May. 13 2014 12:10 PM
Anna Sale

I hear what you're saying, StedyRocks. Complaining about not being able to afford a plane ticket is a privilege in itself. For one, it shows Heidi is used to being able to buy a plane ticket when she wants to go somewhere. But your point also gets at why her story is complicated and important to listen to. I think there are a lot of people who feel shame and isolation because they're falling behind financially, but don't know how to talk about it when others are struggling with much deeper poverty. With money, the way we feel is all relative and depends on whom we're comparing ourselves to, so we end up paralyzed when we try to talk about it publicly.

May. 13 2014 11:36 AM
StedyRocks from NYC

This comment is beyond ridiculous and I think it really just destroys any sympathy you might be trying to build here -

"I met somebody who’s going through pretty much the same thing right now, and things were going pretty good for a while although nobody could afford to fly to meet the other person"

That's dating while broke? You can't afford plane tickets to see eachother? No, dating while broke, is not being able to afford to take someone out, or even go dutch on a frequent enough basis to meet or get to know people - not because the airfare is too much to fly to see them. #FOH

May. 13 2014 11:11 AM
Aimee from Bronx, NY

I was living in Carroll Gardens in BK with my fiance. Absolutely loving life there, it is truly a gorgeous and lovely place to live....my wallet felt otherwise.

When it was time to renew our lease on our 1 BR apt, our landlord informed us he would be raising the rent from 2k to 2.5k. So....that was impossible for two 25 year old television producers to handle, obviously. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to move into my fiance's deceased grandmother's home in the Bronx rent free so we could save away some clams. A pretty amazing opportunity, even if it isn't the most ideal location for 2 culture obsessed foodies.

So far much of that money has gone towards the wedding, but there is hope to save up and buy a place in the near future. I just don't know if the place we will end up buying will be in NYC...it's just become an impossible place for a young couple to live these days. I always wanted to raise my kids in Brooklyn, but it's become so exorbitantly expensive that I want my kids to actually enjoy their childhood, not be aware of Mom and Dad's financial stress.

And that is the cold hard reality of NYC. I love it here, but lately it has not been loving me back.

May. 13 2014 10:52 AM
Rob from Toronto

ah Robert, the gloat of the winner. Let the market forces push out the losers. If you're not surviving than its your fault...
In a more just world, you would be denied entry to any movie theater or arts event. And the only thing you could purchase for your walls would be prints of cars and sports stars and framed affirmations like "I am so great"... but something tells me this is what you have already.

May. 13 2014 09:21 AM
Beth from Chicago

My boyfriend and I got secretly married for money. We are both employed, we live in a good neighborhood, and we both have health insurance. However, a very strange incident left my boyfriend needing surgery. His health insurance refused to cover anything, and he is already burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans with very high interest rates. I have very generous employers with amazing health coverage. After hearing that his insurance would only cover $300 of thousands of dollars of needed surgery and scans, I literally proposed through AOL Instant Messenger. We got our marriage license on Thursday. We got a secret court marriage during our lunch break on Friday. Only our employers know (for insurance purposes). We've been together almost five years and were planning on getting married anyway. But we're keeping it a secret from our friends and family because I (selfishly) still want the excitement of a proposal and a wedding.

The things we do for love and money...

May. 13 2014 08:56 AM
Robert from Brooklyn

Most of the people commenting here need a big reality check. Life isn't all about getting everything you want. You want a home where you can't be priced out? Then purchase a home in a part of the country that you can actually afford. This is an ongoing sob story... People act like because they came to Brooklyn 15 or 20 years ago, that it is somehow THEIRS. New York is a ever changing city, people come and go, booms and bust. Get up and move on. Did anyone read the story about the woman with three children (all with different fathers) and losing her teeth? It's hard to read that story one day, and then see this story and the comments that followed it. Even worse when people want to blame Bloomberg. LOL It's just hilarious.

May. 12 2014 10:57 PM
Brandon from Cuba Missouri - Originally St. Louis

Heidi, I'd like to thank you so much for sharing that. And Anna, I can't wait for more episodes! Im hooked already. I can completely relate to every word that was said. Just listening, felt like sixteen minutes and thirty-four seconds of therapy. Thanks again and best wishes.

May. 12 2014 10:26 PM
YGBSM from SoCenTx

Heidi. Once a Texan, always a Texan. San Antonio has a thriving community of young, middle and older artists. Relatively cheap rents and easy going neighbors that can become quick friends. You can live without a car if you pick the right spot. It's not as glamorous as NYC/LA/Austin, but the opportunities for freelance are abundant. JMHO.

May. 12 2014 09:18 PM
Katelin from South Carolina

I graduated from college 2 years ago. Before graduation, I was planning on going to graduate school to get at least my masters, but I applied to 2 direct PhD programs. 2 months before graduation, my dad, already an amputee, had to have his other leg amputated, making him a bilateral amputee. He did not have the money to purchase the kind of vehicle or the vehicle modifications he would need to be able to take himself places, and has no other able-bodied relatives living as close to him as I do. And at the same time, I was turned down by the 2 direct PhD programs I had applied to, which would have offered me full tuition and a stipend in one case (ironically enough, that was NYU), and the opportunity for fellowships in the other. I did get accepted to a masters program, but the assistance being offered was no where near enough. It didn't even cover half of my fees, and I would have had to move from South Carolina to Massachusetts to go. The funds just weren't there and I couldn't justify maxing out my student loans, going up to $40k further into debt for a masters degree. So I didn't go. And now I work full time for barely enough to survive on and I take my dad on weekly grocery trips and occasional doctor appointments because he still doesn't have usable transportation for himself.

May. 12 2014 01:14 PM
Susan from the UWS from West 70s


Well, ad me to the list of soon-to-be exiles. I moved to NYC and the UWS -- which was a dump back then -- after college in 1976. Lived in a basement apartment that flooded twice until 1990, when the city and I discovered it was illegal. My landlord moved me to lovely 1 bedroom, but I lost the rent stabilization deal. You can imagine what my rent is now. I'm an author, and this was a wonderful life when publishing was going strong, but when 2008 rolled around, they cut advances and lists, and it's gotten progressivly
works. Wish all of us in the arts could find one city/neighborhood and colonize it together, becaue what I'll miss most is my fellow New Yorkers.

May. 11 2014 10:17 PM
Tivo-nyc from Manhattan

I was born and raised in Manhattan, have lived in every borough, and was able to get a great apt. in a Mitchel-Lama Co-op in the borough I was born in. It took 12 years, didn't want to come back to Manhattan, but the "maintenance" was cheaper than my rent in Kensington, Brooklyn(I loved living there), I moved. I'm lucky, but as a native New Yorker, it is not the great and vibrant place it once was. Thanks to a fascist who had THREE terms as mayor, and a goon that was in that job before him for two terms, changed the flavor of my hometown forever. You might be safer now and things are good for the uber-rich, but how are working people who run this city supposed to live here? Sorry, ALL of NYC is overpriced. I would leave today if I didn't have this apt. I retired recently from a city job after 30 years, and have a good pension, but look almost every day for opportunities elsewhere, anywhere but here. I used to love this city, but rampant gentrification, landlord loving mayors and politicians have ruined it. Mayor DeBlasio will find it difficult to turn back the damage done to working people, I hope he can accomplish half of what he wants. I'm not very optimistic. New York City has been "done" for about 15 years now, so for those who are looking to go- I say, "GO FOR IT"! It's a huge world out there, and hopefully I'll be following you one day.

May. 11 2014 09:35 PM
Flavia Fontes

It is tragic how many many artists and hard working people's lives are being destroyed by the side effects of 2008 economic collapse, real estate prices and other factors. The is no safety net in America and the worst is yet to come. Last year my landlord took me to court and tried to evict me because I had too many books in the apartment. I am also the last rent stabilized tenant. I won the case but I have recovered from the pressure of court
dates, threats and the disruption it has caused. Life in New York has become a nightmare.

May. 11 2014 04:12 PM
Rob from Canada

Now in Toronto, I was knocked out of my beautiful east village apt of 25 years..my case was strong but we got a pro landlord judge. (I was wondering why their lawyer was jumping up & down in the hallway when our judge was announce.) My lawyer referred to her as Attila the ..... 6 years of fighting left me both financially & emotionally exhausted. What a system. They also took my neighbors apartment when he was in the hospital with cancer. (only two months behind in his rent, & I was no longer around to help)(Naturally rent stabilized apartments that we all rebuilt in the 80s.) What they did was beyond indecent approaching evil. He died not too long after...life goes on, new young professionals living in his place completely unaware of the injustice that got them there. Manhattan truly has become a survival of not necessarily the fittest but of just awful people. But I still miss it terribly & as an artist wonder if I can ever afford to get back.

May. 11 2014 12:38 PM
Rob from Canada

Now in Toronto, I was knocked out of my beautiful east village apt of 25 years..my case was strong but we got a pro landlord judge. (I was wondering why their lawyer was jumping up & down in the hallway when our judge was announce.) My lawyer referred to her as Attila the ..... 6 years of fighting this left me both financially & emotionally exhausted. What a system. They also took my neighbors apartment when he was in the hospital with cancer. (only two months behind in this rent, & I was no longer around to help) What they did was beyond indecent approaching evil. He died not too long after...life goes on, new yuppies living in his place completely unaware of the injustice that got them there. Manhattan truly has become a survival of not necessarily the fittest but of just awful people.

May. 11 2014 12:30 PM
Josh from West Shokan, NY

Its funny how all things are relative depending on one's financial position in life. Victoria from West Shokan wrote in her comment about her trials and tribulations of being priced out of NYC. Yet she as well as her fellow Catskill owning NYC transplants have priced me, as well as many others out of affordable housing up here in the Catskills. First, let me digress. I am a fourth generation native New Yorker. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. I left my $700 a month studio apartment on the upper east side in 2002 knowing full well I would never be able to return as I already saw the writing on the wall. I moved up to the Catskills in Ulster county to start a new life. After two years of renting I decided I loved it so much I wanted to purchase a small place for myself. Ha! Forget about it! It is totally unaffordable. Why? Because hoardes of the monied creative class (and others) from NYC snap up "Summer Homes" (which remain empty for 8 months out of the year) at ridiculous prices. Prices that seem cheap from their NYC point of view, but expensive from a local or full timers point of view. I just want to point out how relative it all is depending where you stand. There is nothing more depressing then driving around here during the fall and winter months seeing house after "summer house" unoccupied knowing you could very well live in one full time but have been priced out. Its 2014 and I am still renting and will soon move to a place where my fellow monied New Yorkers havent driven up real estate rates. That means going at least 3-4 hours away from the city.

May. 11 2014 10:56 AM
John

It's hard to feel sorry for her. Especially when there are many decent, safe neighborhoods in Brooklyn where it's still possible to get studio or 1-bedroom apartments for similar rents. Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Sunset Park come to mind.

May. 11 2014 10:45 AM
Naomi from South Slope

I lived in Manhattan from college graduation, 1977, until 2003 - a long time. I never want to go back. I adopted an infant in 2003, as a single parent. When the cost of diapers and daycare began to deplete my checking account, I left for Midwood. I thought I'd miss Manhattan, and that I was moving to the moon, but for some of its inconveniences, I realized I can live elsewhere, and will never, ever go back to Manhattan, even if you paid me. I commuted her to Kindergarten in Park Slope on the F train. A year later that school became so popular (read: gentrified) it no longer took out of district kids, so I felt lucky to have gotten her in when I did. A friend found a studio for us in "south" slope. Two years later, the landlord wanted the space back; I found a place on Craig's list in Greenwood Heights and my rent went up by $600. Then the bubble burst. The Board of Ed had layoffs, and strangely enough, all of us let go in my group were women over 50 with solid paychecks. I haven't been steadily employed since 2010. I know I won't be able to catch up here. I recently did the unimaginable: asked my aging father for money. He liquidated part of his retirement funds to help me out of a very deep and scary hole. I am now looking at other cities: Philadelphia, or Chapel Hill, places where the rent is so shockingly low I feel like some cosmic clown is pointing its finger and laughing at me. I also would like to live somewhere that's more peaceful, saner, greener, cleaner, quieter, sweeter and where I can see the sky. So does my daughter!
So now I'm ready for the next move: if I can leave Manhattan for Brooklyn and find out I'm doing way better, then I don't see why the next move won't be just as productive and positive.

May. 11 2014 09:24 AM
Carolyn from Riverdale

I have lived in NYC since my NYU days. First in the East Village, in the time of the Thompson Square 'riot'. Got pushed out by developers there, went to Tribeca, when it was desolate at night but LOVED it, then 9/11 happened, where my apartment got destroyed and found out I couldn't afford any place there (and it had started to turn to young families, which I am not) and ended up in Riverdale. Very nice, much like the Westchester suburb I grew up in, but I do not have children and it is a bit sedate so I am now planning to move from the NE as the $ doesn't make sense anymore. I'm taking any suggestions for 'new' cities. Am planning to check out 10 cities over the next 3 years with an eye to move cities I've put on the list: Minneapolis, Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore, San Antonio. I need ~1 hour access to an international airport, art scene, decent dining and interesting people. Employment isn't much of a problem (right now) as I own my own business and it's portable. So help me out and make a suggestion of your experience with a 'new' city you love!

May. 11 2014 09:06 AM
roxi from middle village, ny

All of us that made nyc, nyc seem to be leaving. What's saddest of all is that we take what makes this city so great with us!!
Just put down on a house in the poconos =)

May. 11 2014 05:03 AM

Hanging on from Chelsea,
If you leave your apartment PLEASE contact me!!!! The only way to find a decent place to live with a rent that won't have you eating dog food for dinner, is CONNECTIONS!! Born in Brooklyn,I'm living in Harlem. I thought I'd discovered "The Secret Garden" even though the band upstairs and my occasional little vermin guest irk me to no end, the rent is "doable".But apparently it's not quite the secret I thought. Last month I picked up AM New York to find emblazoned on the front page, the headline, "HARLEM, THE NEXT HOT AREA" or something equally depressing. Where is there left to run?????? I'm a professional who should have retired last year. I already figured I'd be working till I was 80. I wouldn't mind so much working till I'm dead, but eventually I'll be forced to flee again and it's hard to relocate a corpse.

May. 10 2014 09:37 PM
Daria from EV, NYC

WHY would you NOT take your animals? That I just don't understand, under any circumstances.

May. 10 2014 11:12 AM
TJ from Inwood

Interesting that there's no mention of Wash. Heights, Inwood, or the Bronx. What say the people up there?

May. 10 2014 10:18 AM
TRUE from Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn

I've lucked out as far as housing goes.

In 1992, I moved into an apartment in the East Village when I transferred from Sarah Lawrence to the Cooper Union, but the landlord refused to renew the lease to me because he didn't want black people in his building. His racism turned out to be a blessing in disguise; being forced to look for another apartment allowed me to stumble upon a $5,000 co-op with a maintenance of $248.60 / month (friends in smaller E.Vil apartments were paying upwards of $1k / month).

Living as an owner in a co-op, rather than in a profit-seeking landlord's space, allowed me to save for a brownstone in Stuyvesant Heights. I bought in 1999, right before my commercial art career was torpedoed by the economy, and housing prices skyrocketed. I would not have been able to afford to live in my neighborhood within 12 months after I bought. I now live around people who can afford to drop $1.5M in cash on a house without breaking a sweat.

On the surface, things are good -- houses like mine are now selling for ten times what I paid -- but the reality is that although being priced out is not a concern for me, many of my friends are struggling artists for whom that is a concern. And the friends who do own homes are so busy hustling to pay their bills (and feed their kids and manage their businesses and their side businesses and their side side businesses) that no one ever has time to slow down long enough to maintain friendships like we once could.

I thought I would live in NYC until my old age, but at 45, I feel like I'm done. I feel like moving down to New Orleans would allow me to interact with folks who are (at least for the time being) seemingly much less concerned about a constant money hustle, folks who actually have the time to spend with one another -- in a city that frequently and collectively stops working in order to have fun.

Next stop: The Tremé! Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler!

May. 10 2014 03:03 AM
sehee from sarasota, FL

I first moved to NYC in '05 after college and lived in Harlem with friends. It wasn't cheap but I somehow managed to make ends meet and have fun paying $650 for a crappy little piece of 126th St.

I moved back to NYC to attend grad school in '09 and live in Crown Heights, which was going through a lot of growing pains. I paid $900 and shared my apt. with 2 others and when I got married we struggled to find 1BRs in our price range. We loved the area since it was in a prime location, but Franklin St. was exploding, every week a new hipster eatery or bar would open up and rents were skyrocketing. We got pushed out in '12. It was insane how fast things changed in 2 yrs.

We decided we couldn't part with the area so ended up living further in in Crown Heights. Our place was $1400/month but of course the landlord company knew the tide was turning and couldn't care less about decent tenants and jacked up the rent- we left after 16 months. We were replaced by Manhattanites.

As two NYC gov't workers we weren't making enough to justify staying in the area and finally moved out to Gravesend. That's about as far as you can really go in Brooklyn but for $1100/month, what the hell. We made the most of it and actually enjoyed the family-oriented feel of the area. With all the moving we had been thinking of leaving to be closer to my parents in FL, where I grew up. We made the move to Sarasota in late '13.

Of course the change is night/day and we miss the diversity and movement of the City. BUT we live 5 min. from some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country, enjoy 70 degree winters (summers are just as hot & humid in NYC), and live within walking distance to a good amount of activity paying almost the same amount we did at our Brkln apt but for 2 BRs, half the commute, and all the subtropical outdoors/nature you could want. Having my parents an hour away doesn't hurt, especially as they get older and we plan to grow our family. I never expected that I'd ever move back to the place where I was so eagerly trying to get out of when I was 18, but I must say, I've been pleasantly surprised. There's a whole world outside of the NYC bubble. Of course nothing quite compares but we were willing to sacrifice the lifestyle, especially since we couldn't really afford/enjoy what the City had to offer.

We were able to start saving for the first time ever since moving to FL. We both have higher salaries here than we had in NYC with a lower cost of living. Of course NYC will always have a special place in our hearts, luckily my brother still lives there and flights are only 2.5 hrs and as cheap as $170 (thanks snowbirds)!

May. 09 2014 11:26 PM
Anna Sale

Yes, Philly -- can you tell us more about the neighborhood where you landed? And David -- where is this magical European democracy you speak of? Did you have a prior connection there, or just pick it out on a map?

And if any of you are inclined to answer Howard's call -- I definitely think you should elect him president of the Rochester Chapter of the Brooklyn Ex-Pats Club. It sounds like he's got the right mix of community-mindedness and humor to throw a really fun monthly happy hour.

May. 09 2014 09:54 AM
David from Overseas

I was living and working as an artist. I was selling paintings and doing alright. I was in Brooklyn and while I had a cheap rent, I could perceive the squeeze happening all around. I did the calculation and came to the conclusion that in the long-term, I could no longer envision a future in NYC. After ten years in NYC, I moved to a European democracy. Now I have a started a family in a place where insurance, schools, and day-care are subsidized. After a recent visit to NYC, I thought "What a dump! If we ever moved back, how would we pay for this? Where would we live?" But above all I wondered "Why would we want to?"

May. 09 2014 03:39 AM
Leah from Los Angeles

I moved to Los Angeles two years ago after living in Windsor Terrace for ten years. I'm a musician/educator and realized there wasn't enough teaching/arts related work to keep me from being in constant peril of waiting tables. LA isn't cheap, but it IS big enough to ensure there is usually somewhere affordable to live that's up and coming. Due to the sprawl I've had an easier time finding work that's satisfactory to me and it's only 5 hours on a plane to spend a few weeks in NYC when I have work there.

May. 08 2014 11:05 PM
Jill Fenichell from Prospect Hts.Bklyn

Born and bred - married the boy upstairs, also born and bred. Grew up in the UWS, which was like the suburbs in the 1960s. Moved downtown after college, moved to "Gramercy adjacent" and were there for 15 years, including 9/11. Moved to Bklyn 2002. We have weathered economic ups and downs; career changes, birth of a son while living upstate; and have had many, many years where we live here, but can't afford any of the cities pleasures. Some weeks have been hell. Have consider moving lots of other places, but we own our house, where my mom is our ground-floor tenant, our 20 year old and my office are on the top floor. There is the west coast, which is as expensive, but with much better weather. We are here til my mom is no more. She's 88, and takes classes at Brooklyn College, goes to movies and plays by herself. We go to museums and auctions (I'm an antiques specialist). It's hard to think of a better walking city than NY. Planning to stay until husband retires, in about 10 years.

May. 08 2014 10:46 PM

I left NYC in 2004 because things were changing so fast. It became obvious to me that I was going to be in the same co-op for the rest of my life because costs were escalating even then. NYC was becoming more like the suburbs, full of chain stores and the creative people were being driven out. I had a decent life in the southwest, when the recession hit I was forced to come back to NYC on order to get work sparse as it was. I burned through all of my savings and continued to look for more work all the while knowing it would have been worse in southwest. Recently, an opportunity for a new job out of town in Denver or Atlanta came up and at first the idea of moving across the country was over-whelming but after careful consideration now if they offer me the position I've decided to leave. I don't see myself ever catching up enough to enjoy all the culture NYC has to offer again and I really need be thinking about retirement and insuring that I don't retire into a life of poverty. Leaving here means I will be able to save a substantial amount of money and pay off some of the debt I've taken on during this recession.

May. 08 2014 09:37 PM

Philly - The Fifth Boro from Philadelphia PA

Can you tell me the name of the neighborhood that you live in now??? I'd love to visit Philly and see what it's like!

Keith

May. 08 2014 08:13 PM
Barbara from New York, NY

I came here in 1974 for college and didn't leave, never thought I would have to...now the building where I own an apartment is filled with foreign investors, Wall St. types, lawyers; no more creative types, they can't afford it. The Village neighborhood I am in has also changed and not for the better unless you think getting overpriced coffee and macaroons every two blocks is a necessity. It all just makes me sad, and mad. And don't get me started with the busloads of tourists. Soon I won't be able to afford this financially and mentally well it is really trying...navigating a real life shouldn't be this frustrating.

If we could all just move en masse to a town in NJ bringing our New York state of mind with us...

May. 08 2014 08:10 PM
Mitch from Manhattan

One quibble with the statistics quoted here: the 5% decline in median incomes is in *real* (i.e. inflation adjusted) dollars, but the 75% increase in rents is in nominal dollars. It doesn't change anything about the point of the story (which is certainly correct, as my on personal experience on the upper west side can attest) but one should always get the numbers correct

May. 08 2014 06:06 PM
MK from Pittsfield, MA

Not to start on a bad note, but really, WNYC, do you not have proofers to catch "make end's meet"?
I recently moved from the city after 32 years. Having lived in the city for a decade, I moved to B'lyn in 1989, Cobble Hill, it was beautiful and quiet, I knew all my neighbors. Then Wall Streeters came in, buying all the brownstones for millions, and we lost our apartments. It was impossible for many of us to buy. And so I ended up in Westchester, where I could buy a 2-family home and still commute (30 min) into the city. But the property taxes literally tripled in the aughts, and since 9/11, companies were hiring less and less, and freelancing was the only way to go. So I sold, I packed, said goodbyes and left. My monthly expenses have plummeted, but I'm in Massachusetts, where the economy is poor. So jobs are much harder to get than I thought, and it's not all rosey. But I'm more relaxed, I'm able to get by with some small jobs for the time being, and it's beautiful where I live. OH! And there are a fair amount of transplanted New Yorkers, because I do miss the vibe, even if I stopped loving the city during the Bloomberg years.

May. 08 2014 05:37 PM
Jason from Alameda, CA

My wife and I were living in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. We had moved to Brooklyn in 2002, after I had finished my MFA. In 2007 our son was born. I was working as a carpenter, running a small shop in the navy yard, and doing freelance work for various clients in Manhattan to fill in the financial gaps. My wife was running a website for a Brooklyn boutique and we were doing ok. In the fall of 2008, the economy sank our small ship. My wife's position was safe, though she did have to take a pay cut. My freelance work dried up overnight, and business at my day gig slowed to a crawl. By March of 2009 I was enrolled in master's program for construction back in the Midwest, where we are originally from, and hoping to make myself more employable in a more lucrative end of the construction industry. And we hoped to be moving back to Brooklyn in 2 years with the economy on the upswing. Unfortunately, the competition is so steep in the city that getting work from a remote location is almost impossible. Instead, I ended up with a company in San Francisco's East Bay. We've been here for 3 years and are in better financial shape than we were in '09. And we like San Francisco. But we left our hearts in New York City.

May. 08 2014 03:36 PM

I lived in Manhattan for 37 years. Most of it in mid-town. I lost my steady job after 22 years of dedicated service at Theatre Refreshment Co. Then all I could find was part time work which would not handle the bills.
Did you ever have the feeling that nobody cares?
My girlfriend and I looked around and so the door marked Opportunities had been locked with heavy chains.
My father died. We packed up and moved across the country to Arizona. Here we have room, opportunity and weather to beat the band.
I miss the city sometimes but the NYC I loved has evaporated and I will never feel good about that.

May. 08 2014 03:21 PM
Jon Reiner from Upper West Side

My wife and I and our two public-school kids have lived in the same UWS apartment for 15 years and have been having the stay-go conversation forever. My serial layoffs from full time jobs in the 2000s decimated our income, and my wife's job as a NYC teacher keeps us logistically frozen. We live with being stuck in a too-small apartment, not progressing, as time marches on. On the other hand, the creative community of people like me have helped me develop a mid-life career as a published author, currently directing a documentary film with other like-minded, economically-challenged people. It doesn't serve my financial needs, but there is satisfaction with the work and the community Every time we visit my wife's family in Indianapolis we're seduced by the housing prices and question our NYC inertia. Then, after a week or so there, the culture of suburban isolation and intellectual monotony sends us back to NYC, temporarily comforted, but ultimately conflicted. What's the answer?

May. 08 2014 02:54 PM
Philly - The Fifth Boro from Philadelphia PA

Last year - with two children and no hope of being able to afford to buy a home in Brooklyn we up and left - bought a beautiful home in the "park slope" of Philadelphia and couldn't be happier. Not only is EVERYTHING more affordable - we are live in a far more economically and otherwise diverse community compared to Park Slope/Cobble Hill. My husband says it reminds him of Brooklyn in his youth - young and old, a mix of classes, parties in the alley. We are 90 minutes from Manhattan at 1/3 the price. Three other families on our street left Brooklyn for all of the same reasons. Of course we miss aspects of it - but we can always visit and our Mets flag still flies.

May. 08 2014 02:02 PM
Michael from NYC

So few optimistic statements amongst all of these comments.... How can a city continue to thrive, survive, grow at all? It's not the city I grew up in or the city my grandparents and great grandparents called home anymore. We have streets named after our families in Brooklyn. Van Brunt street in Red Hook was the border of our family farm forever. Colonel Rutgers Van Brunt, my great grandfather with or ten times great, was the commander of a militia in the continental army. They fought the British. Two of his men were the offspring of Vanderbilts and they married into our family, along with the Cortelyou's, the Boerums and the Bergens, the Vanderboeks... That was old New York. What's ironic is the story before that: Aeltye Bracunell from Aquitaine who went to Holland from France in the early 1600's, marrying Eli Braconie, my great grandmother sixteen times back, they come to the new world when New York was known as New Netherland. He dies at the hands of Indians. She then has two more husbands, both treasurers of the Dutch East India company. She was the wealthiest person in Manhattan in the 1600's! Irony? In 1664 she, along with many Dutch people, leaves New York for Geavesend Brooklyn because they didn't want to live under British rule. Only now, today, it is the rule of the oligarchs in our deteriorating society. No one wants to live under that medeval crap either! Nothing has changed, nothing will change. Same story, different century. Just either leave or fight for your right to stay. Life is short, so, leaving aids and abets the criminal classes, oligarchs, developers, landlords... Staying thwarts the bastards, somewhat... And they fully deserve the pain and frustration of having to fight to get rid of you. Take pleasure in watching them occasionally bust a blood vessel, for they are nothing more than the greedy imperialist scum that we once fled foreign lands to avoid. Leave and they win. They deserve nothing except losses.

May. 08 2014 01:51 PM
mamafishy from miserably suburban

My husband and I presently reside in the suburbs and had been hoping to return to the city upon retiring. Pretty much anywhere - from Harlem to Flushing - my husband and I thought we might have been able to live a fruitful life in a small apartment in our retirement years has either exploded in price or deteriorated logistically (healthcare, sanitation and transportation systems, I'm looking at You). There is no place for retirees to go to still be a part of the cultural fabric of the city (we are not the suburban retirement condo type). I'd be happy to pay NYC taxes, support our schools, the arts and pour all my disposable income into my local greenmarket if I could only afford to. What really hurts is the fact that after generations of family history in Bensonhurst, Park Slope and the Heights, there is a slim-to-none chance of our daughter ever being able to call NYC home for longer than a holiday weekend.

May. 08 2014 01:13 PM
Peter from New York City

As a European, I was posted to NY by my employer. My salary is sufficient for me to have a nice apartment in the UES. I love NYC! In three years I will retire, and my income will drop to about 40% of what I have currently, plus no subsidised health insurance.

I will return to Europe, where I have an apartment in Berlin. Even if I sold that and others I own, I could only afford to buy a one-bedroomed apartment, maybe in Manhattan - and then there would be the maintenance costs, which keep rising. In Berlin the maintenance has been the same since I bought the 2-bedroomed apartment over 5 years ago, at around 300 dollars per month, and I know my health insurance will only ever be around 15% of my income.

Leaving NYC is a no-brainer!

May. 08 2014 12:59 PM
Sadie Lou from Riverdale.

Riverdale. It ain't hip. But a 3 bedroom co-op costs 300k. And the commute is like that from Bushwick. The problem? It ain't hip.

May. 08 2014 12:54 PM
Jen Z from Asbury Park

I am 3rd generation Park Slope. My grandparents lived there on both sides of my family, both my parents grew up there and until 2 years ago so did I, in the same apartment on 5th street between 5th and 6th for 18 years. I was lucky, my landlord liked me and never raised my rent. But if I wanted to live somewhere with a little outside space or parking, I could no longer afford to live in my own neighborhood. So I left, I moved to the Jersey Shore (I am lucky to be able to work virtually most of the time). I bought a house on my own for not much more than my rent. My landlord in Park Slope doubled the rent of my apartment because he could. I was never able to build any wealth in NY. I loved it for a long time but wish I had left a little sooner. It seems like the longer you are there the smaller your life becomes. You know the places you can afford so you go there. You can't keep up or don't care or can't be bothered to wait for hours every time some new place opens.

Brooklyn used to be for the real New Yorkers, it had a heritage. I was its biggest fan. But those days are over.

May. 08 2014 12:22 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

The last paragraph about shame and money makes me think of the Republican beliefs that some people do this to themselves, that they choose to put themselves in untenable positions when we know that sometimes life just sneaks up on you and you are over your head.

My story is I have a Union job and have been taking home over $100k the past 10 years. A divorce took half my savings and forced me to sell my PS home. I was lucky. I bought before the bubble, sold during the burst, and put all the profit into a new one bedroom on Ocean Parkway facing a brick wall. 10 years later, my fiancé is living with me and we are planning on a family. Because I put so much down, my mortgage is only $800. I can afford to bid on a nice two bedroom but I need to sell my one bedroom as part of the process (a contingent sale). When faced with the choice of a contingent sale and an all cash offer, I keep losing out, even when I over bid by $20-50k. If I rent for a year, while I sell my current place and look for a new place, I will lose maybe $15k to the added rent.

Going back to my first comment, I've done everything right - got a well paying job, put more money down than average to keep my mortgage low, but now when it's time for me to make the next incremental jump, I'm finding the deck stacked against me. I just need 5 more years until I can pull a small pension and then I'm moving to Atlanta.

May. 08 2014 12:06 PM

I relate completely. I grew up in the suburbs of New York and moved to "the city" in 1996, sharing a gorgeous 3br apt on one of the most beautiful "name streets" in Park Slope for $405/month. As my career developed and my paycheck expanded, I was able to move out on my own to a modest 1br apt on what I called the strangest corner of Carroll Gardens, where my kitchen window over looked the Gowanus houses and my bedroom window overlooked a multimillion dollar Corcoran listing. The apartment regularly played host to roaches and mice, and I had a series of increasingly cheap bicycles stolen from the hallway. But everyone knows, asking for decent housing from greedy landlords during high demand times is pretty much asking for your already excessive rent to be raised. Landlords are hoping conditions will become so intolerable you won't renew your lease, and then they can renovate and double the rent. During a particularly severe rainstorm, I was awoken to an actual deluge pouring from the lighting fixtures onto the wood floors, which buckled, the plaster walls bubbled and a colony of mushrooms bloomed in the seam where the floors met the walls. My landlord slapped a fresh coat of paint on the walls and raised my rent $200 at the end of the year. At this point, the neighborhood had tipped, so that in order to stay there, or in any part of Brooklyn where a single woman could walk from the subway to her crappy decaying apartment, I would need to either go back to roommate life or meet a man. I was making a nice salary working a job I hated in order to pour obscene amounts of money into my rent, which was only going to go up, while also feeling my desperation levels rise-- meet a man and do it soon, not because of the ticking biological clock but more due to the pace of rising rents. I realized that my desire to stay in the city was bleeding all over everything, and that I probably could have stuck around, continued to work my soulless gig while the walls literally crumbled around me, oh, and perchance meet the investment banker of my dreams, or I could press "reset" and try something new. Six years after reset, I miss the city desperately, but things turned out really well. There's life, creativity, and even craft beer, artisanally brewed coffee and yoga studios outside NYC! My landlord renovated after I moved out and the 1br apartment I rented in 2002 for $1150/month now lists for $2600.

May. 08 2014 12:00 PM
John from Pocono Lake, Pa

prices are crazy every where.....I moved from Ozone Park in 05, because of the neighbors in a section 8 house, to the wilds of the poconos...and guess what?? it's new York prices at Pocono wages!! But to go back to Queens, or even Suffolk county would take upwards of $500,000!!! And wages are stagnant there as well. Neighbors still living in Ozone Park are complaining about rising taxes and the general rise in the cost of living. So yea, I get it - the middle class IS being crushed. We are running out of options!!! and government services are NOT open to us because we allegedly make too much! All I have to hope for is social security - IF that will be around at all in 13 years for me!! It looks like I will have to work until I die. I should carry a shovel, so I can be buried where I drop! this is NOT the country I was brought up in!!!!

May. 08 2014 11:51 AM
born and raised

At 200K you guys must be richer than us.

Dweebs pushed us out of PS in 2004, the place was already thrown under the bus…

Pre-K over $20K? $1K/m for a crappy P/T YMCA pre-K? That's one game of chicken we easily walked away from. Good thing.

May. 08 2014 11:47 AM
Robert P. Cohen from Port Washington, NY

There is a price we pay to live in an American, capitalistic, free society. We live in the best country in the world (I've been to many others and worked there and I know) but if you want to live in the heart of the city, next door to people who look and think like you and be in a profession that is more creative than renumerative then you have to pay the price. The Brooklyn I grew up in was a Brooklyn of the poor, the working class, the old and the forgotten. I don't think you would have liked that Brooklyn (except for the Dodgers). Your Brooklyn, like anything that is desirable comes with a price tag. That's why I currently live in Port Washington; sweet, nice, something I can afford, and only one half hour from Penn Station. If the time comes when Port Washington becomes young, hip and expensive, I guess I'll just have to move into the woods.

May. 08 2014 11:46 AM
Sari Botton from Kingston, NY

Last fall I published Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving & Leaving NY (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1580054943/ref=aw_d_pd_books), which includes several stories about having to leave the city because it's no longer affordable - including my own. My husband and I moved upstate in 2005 after losing the apartment he'd had for many years, and bought a three-bedroom house in Rosendale. But now we find we can't really afford to live in our house, so we are renting it out and moving to a much smaller apartment in Kingston, NY. The wisdom in 2005, when we bought the house and they were handing out mortgages to just about anyone, was "Buy as much house as you can." I just hope the same thing that happened in NYC doesn't happen in Kingston or other similar commutable Hudson Valley towns.

May. 08 2014 11:43 AM
Doreen from Brooklyn

We are leaving NY after 20 plus years. I can't believe it. But the school in our neighborhood is hardly up to par, we can't afford to send our kids to private school, and we can't afford to move to the schools in the "good" neighborhoods. I make a great salary! Any place else and I'd be very well off! But New York has pushed out the middle class. DeBlasio wants to have pre-K for all New Yorkers? Mayor deBlasio - fix the schools first, THEN add more classes! So long, Brooklyn, Hello Suburbs!

May. 08 2014 11:41 AM
Linda from Western Queens

I have been in New York for nearly 10 years and still live in the same apartment in Western Queens I found my first week here. A great 1BR apartment, my rent has gone up by almost 1/3 in that time and prices for food, transportation, other necessities and entertainment keep going up while my income stagnates. I began freelancing on the side out of necessity (couldn't find a permanent job and when I did it didn't pay nearly enough to survive)and now freelance full-time by choice (I feel that I actually save money overall this way). I have traveled back to my hometown of Chicago several times and recently began perusing the Chicago Craigslist apartment ads. It made me so depressed that an apartment similar to the one I have in Queens, in a similar neighborhood in Chicago was 30% -40% cheaper than what I pay now. Chicago also has abundant arts & culture, great institutions of learning and nightlife. My dream is ultimately to live abroad in a year or two and I always thought I would stick it out in NYC until I could make it happen, but NYC cost of living sucks away so much of my income that I am seriously considering moving back to Chicago for 1-2 years just so I can save money. Other cities are an option too for the same purpose (Seattle, New Orleans, Minneapolis,maybe even the Southwest?). New neighbors in my building (a building of primarily 1BR apartments) are always couples and never singles, because a single person can no longer afford to pay rents charged to new arrivals in this neighborhood. I finally got the courage up to ask how much a new couple in the building was paying for their 1BR. $2k. That is the new rent in "affordable" Queens. Pay a visit to a cheaper city, even one as large as Chicago, and you will realize what a bad deal NYC is.

May. 08 2014 11:40 AM
Brooklyn Mama from Brooklyn Heights

In 2002, I moved to the West Village to attend graduate school in education. Although I paid the same tuition as the students in the Business School, I am guessing most of them are finding real estate a less depressing subject these days. To avoid yet another rent increase, in 2005 I moved to Cobble Hill, where rents at the time were relatively better and space was relatively luxurious. I soon moved in with my boyfriend (now my husband), who owned a modest apartment.When our first child was born, we sold it to make room for baby. The good news is that we made some money on it; the bad news is that buying in Brooklyn now seems as likely as buying in Tribeca. We have been renting for 5 years- zoned for a very good public school and paying below market rent, we feel both lucky and trapped. My husband works in Brooklyn and I teach in Manhattan- economic and geographic circumstances limit our choices. The joke in our apartment is that, once we figure out where we will live, we may get divorced for lack of things to talk about. It amazes us that a family with good salaries, exceptional credit and some money in the bank cannot find an affordable way out of their one bedroom apartment. On some days, the suburbs feel like the only refuge- but we are urban addicts-- and on we dwell.

May. 08 2014 11:39 AM
Michael from On the sea

I have just read all of these comments and it hurts to hear - and see so many people in so much pain. So many others silent who are or were in these neighborhoods before they were also pushed out. NYC is on a path that is the result of having eliminated so much of the street crime, albeit in favor of far more reaching crimes- the kind that are committed in the boardroom! As I guess that kind of behavior is just part of human nature... I'm from NYC, in fact my family were the first family to buy land in Brooklyn in 1628, from a corn growing Indian named Gowana... Yes, the canal is named after him! All of those Indians, by the way, were forced to leave too!! Eventually NYC will be a closed game to only those who have decided that America is still one of the few places to park capital. So much of what is occurring is a foreign influx, and yes, someday some of them will also leave to other more affordable places in our country. It will be the emerald city with the rivers as a most where neo-feudalism has the servants allowed to cross those rivers to service the newly minted monarchs, and then they must retreat to their lowly outer borough lairs! This already exists - amongst people far more impoverished than any of the contributors. People living in abject poverty in the shadows of people who are at the wholly other extreme. This NYC is a microcosm of the macrocosm in a society that has a plan: those with the gold, who make the rules, do not want a middle class as it costs those with money too much to deal with them. There will be two classes in America as the new factory workers drafted from the existing impoverished and the newly impoverished begin to be the 'service personnel' of all of the companies that move back to these shores, yes, the former third world workers that have toiled away overseas in factories that left America are now consumers. China has seen an 1,100% increase in the wages paid to workers over the past thirty plus years. Same for all other pacific rim countries. Those who made fortunes by relocating off shore, leaving American workers high and dry, treasonous as that kind of greed is, will now look like patriots as they relocate back 'home' to help offset the unemployment! Why else do you think they have dumbed down so much in this country? Everything from media to food quality to education, Prozac nation inebriated with a handout. The tables have been turned and we now have bubba making chopsticks for export, Dell shut down a factory in India as it was less costly to run a new one I east Texas and Walmart committing to making 250 billion worth of its product in America each year? Really? And the long downtrodden American will take that job because they must feed their family. Those people, by the way, do not even dream of even visiting NYC, much less living here. Someday the place will collapse, consuming and cannibaluzing itself, do not be there to see it. Get out.

May. 08 2014 11:23 AM
Victoria from West Shokan, NY

I grew up in the Tri-State area and have lived in Brooklyn since 1999 watching Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens transform into an unaffordable yuppie paradise with amenities that I loved but could only afford with my corporate expense account. We outgrew our charming one-bedroom apartment when our son would stare at us sleeping from his crib at ungodly hours and we were forced to move to an overpriced 2-bedroom in a less-quaint neighborhood at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic. When my husband lost his teaching job we could no longer make ends meet and the idea of Day-Care or Nursery School in the neighborhood meant waiting lists and stiff parental competition. Luckily, we bought a weekend home in the Catskills when times were good. We now live there full-time. I have a 2-hour commute, but our house is comfortable, we are surrounded by beauty and we know our neighbors (many of whom are also city transplants). We are planning to move to the Pacific Northwest where we can afford to live in a small city with the same fantastic amenities (albeit on a smaller scale) and a sense of community that has been missing from Brooklyn since it became a suburb for the uber rich. New York has nothing for us anymore and I won't miss it.

May. 08 2014 11:17 AM
Linda from Western Queens

I have been in New York for nearly 10 years and still live in the same apartment in Western Queens I found my first week here. A great 1BR apartment, my rent has gone up by almost 1/3 in that time and prices for food, transportation, other necessities and entertainment keep going up while my income stagnates. I began freelancing on the side out of necessity (couldn't find a permanent job and when I did it didn't pay nearly enough to survive)and now freelance full-time by choice (I feel that I actually save money overall this way). I have traveled back to my hometown of Chicago several times and recently began perusing the Chicago Craigslist apartment ads. It made me so depressed that an apartment similar to the one I have in Queens, in a similar neighborhood in Chicago was 30% -40% cheaper than what I pay now. Chicago also has abundant arts & culture, great institutions of learning and nightlife. My dream is ultimately to live abroad in a year or two and I always thought I would stick it out in NYC until I could make it happen, but NYC cost of living sucks away so much of my income that I am seriously considering moving back to Chicago for 1-2 years just so I can save money. Other cities are an option too for the same purpose (Seattle, New Orleans, Minneapolis,maybe even the Southwest?). New neighbors in my building (a building of primarily 1BR apartments) are always couples and never singles, because a single person can no longer afford to pay rents charged to new arrivals in this neighborhood. I finally got the courage up to ask how much a new couple in the building was paying for their 1BR. $2k. That is the new rent in "affordable" Queens. Pay a visit to a cheaper city, even one as large as Chicago, and you will realize what a bad deal NYC is.

May. 08 2014 11:12 AM
Steve from Flatbush

I always thought, if I reached a certain income threshold, I'd be rich. I now know that I will never be rich, in New York. I remember when my godfather told me his first job out of college paid 18k, which was in 1970, I didn't feel so bad that I was making $24k, until I did an inflation calculation and discovered his salary in 1970 bucks was equal to about $83.5k in 2002 bucks. The real estate market seems geared to forcing people -- who would easily be able to buy a fairly decent home almost anywhere else in the country -- to rent, blowing a massive amount of capital that is lost and gone, to them, forever, rather than being able to save all of that scratch and use it as a down payment for an exorbitantly priced for anywhere else, but modestly priced for New York $400/square foot shoebox. And then, because you have to pay maintenance on an apartment, since you don't own the building, you wind up paying "rent" in addition to your mortgage. It's difficult for me to think of this system as anything but criminal. Oh, sure, if I don't want to pay 600 in maintenance on top of my 2,200 mortgage payment, I could just buy a house for $1.5M and up. I was originally an urban planning major and, while it didn't last long because the starting salaries were as pathetic as Journalism salaries but as a reporter, I could work in New York from the onset, I have a semblance of perspective about how to "solve" this "problem" of exorbitant real estate (which is only a problem for buyers without sufficient capital; owners and the already wealthy, surely, love their exclusive, wealth-augmenting little cabal): the city needs to seize every piece of undeveloped land, every derelict building, every parking lot through eminent domain. No more hoarding land, no more waiting for the moment when a property has appreciated to bursting ... if you don't maintain a property for either the purpose of it being your own abode or a livable, up-to-code rental property, or a viable, tax-paying business ... say good-bye to it ... the city repossesses it and builds high-rise, below market rental units that are open to an indiscriminate (except that if you own property you may not enter) lottery: not for only low-income people. For those who wish to own something, perhaps one such of these buildings can all condos for first-home buyers.

May. 08 2014 11:06 AM
ERICKA

You rarely win as a renter, not just here in NYC. My motivation to own, in Oakland California, South Florida, and back in NY, was driven by self expression (love those red walls) and animal companionship. No one has the right to tell me how large a dog is legal and other foolishness. The sacrifice has been working steady jobs rather than living the creative life, and settling for un-hip, sometimes unsettling neighborhoods. But renting in NYC has always been a losing gamble.

May. 08 2014 10:53 AM
JB

My happy 20 years in a lovely Park Slope garden apartment with reasonable rent (for an academic) is over. 2 nights ago my kindly landlords regretfully informed me they need the space. I started to look in the windows of 7th Avenue Realtors and found rents for a one bedroom three times what I now can (just) pay. Phooey.

May. 08 2014 10:19 AM
KG from Brooklyn

Now is that time when money is the deciding factor for a life transition. I'm a union member and my partner is a teacher. Living in Carroll Gardens is nice. In so many ways I am blessed to be able to live here. However-the cost is just that-COSTLY. I can't imagine working and trying to raise a family here. Without a lot of exposition this is simply sad. I don't like knowing full well that I can't participate in this city and community that I have grown to love. The reporting on WNYC on this issue is twofold. It is responsible and thorough, but also a constant reminder that NYC is no longer a place where I can see having a future. In July 4th, 2004 I watched the fireworks from the top of a three story warehouse on Kent Street in Williamsburg. That building is the only one on that block left standing surrounded by high rises no one can afford. (Williamsburg is it's own conversation I won't start here). But then yesterday walking across 57th St. between 6th and 7th aves looking at the proposed high rise that will cast an almost permanent shadow across a huge swath of Central Park continues to confirm the misplaced values in this city. The people that weave the core fabric of diversity in this city are being pushed farther and farther from the center until we either fall of the edge or turn our backs to leave to save ourselves.

May. 08 2014 10:11 AM
Howard Solomon from Rochester, NY

What do you do if you're a Park Slope parent and you're not on Wall Street, not a doctor, a lawyer, or beneficiary of an inheritance or other generous contribution from family members? In the case of my wife and I--she's a non-profit professional and I'm a freelance writer--we take our three children and leave.

My kids were born at Methodist Hospital on 7th Avenue. They went to PS 321. My wife and I lived in Brooklyn long enough to remember when people were buying brownstones for under 300K (and even then, sadly, we could only afford to rent). But as much as we loved the neighborhood where we had both more or less become cultural stereotypes (ugh, my shift at the Coop is tonight!), we just couldn't do it anymore--the apartment shrinking as our kids grew bigger, the psycho neighbor upstairs, doing laundry in a laundromat across the street (especially during a lice breakout in school!). We needed more space that we could afford. So we headed north, to beautiful upstate New York, and the city of Rochester.

I encourage all the teachers, artists, small-business entrepreneurs, and similar dreamers who once made Park Slope the neighborhood it once was--before the monthly rent on a one bedroom apartment cost the same as a few weeks of summer day camp for the kiddies--if you're looking to leave, come on up to Rochester! It's a great town, with a load of potential, great schools, cheap housing, and an airport you can actually get to in 15 minutes.

But of course. It ain't Brooklyn.

Every now and then homesick,

Howard Solomon

May. 08 2014 10:02 AM
Anna Sale

Thank you for sharing these wonderful stories - and keep them coming! Heidi was very brave to let me listen in while she went through this transition. But I think she had a sense that she was voicing the silent worries of many others. I think she's was right.

May. 08 2014 09:40 AM
frances friedman from Manhattan

I've lived in Manhattan over 50 years, mostly in one rent-stabilized studio apt in the Village, then as an owner in Yorkville. I recently recalculated my expenses and income and found that with the last raise in ny maintenance, I'm now spending almost half my income on housing costs. COLA raises in my pension and social security have certainly not kept pace with the rising costs of living. I'm now in my mid-70's, retired almost 10 years. If I move, I leave behind a life it's taken decades to build: friends, close family, activities, storekeepers, doctors. Retirement savings plans that would have lasted about as long as I will are now being depleted.

May. 08 2014 09:23 AM
Hanging On from Chelsea

We are among the "lucky" few who have an amazing low rent... But after 30+ years here I've seen so many of our friends and acquaintances leave the city that it's become depressing to stay. We're not sure where to go or how we can justify giving up a cheap Manhattan apartment but if there's no one left to be friends with except the ultra-rich, and we can't afford to avail ourselves of NYC's costly amusements, why stay?

May. 08 2014 09:22 AM
Mary Hartley from Providence, RI

I'll say the prices in Brooklyn have skyrocketed in a short time! In 2008, I took a grueling full-time job in the city and, in 2010, I bought a one bedroom apartment near the Brooklyn Museum. In 2011, I lost my job and could not find another that paid as well, and so in 2013, I sold my Brooklyn apartment for $175K more than I paid for it. With the money, I paid cash for an apartment in Providence, RI and bought a car. I miss NYC but, if I move back, I'm buying in the Bronx but I won't say where because I don't want anyone else to discover it - yet.

May. 08 2014 09:03 AM

I moved back to Brooklyn (I attended HS in Bklyn while living in Staten Island, and moved to Bklyn in 1980) in 2005 after divorcing. I had a small child, and was trying to get settled with a new job and a reasonable apartment. Had I known the prices in Brooklyn would skyrocket in such a short time I might have planned differently, but the recession hit in '08 and it seemed prices would remain low. Not so. I finally realized I would never be able to afford to remain in Brooklyn when I had to keep downsizing apartments to stay in an area I liked. I finally returned to S.I. where prices are still reasonable - for now.

May. 08 2014 08:36 AM
farolita from Jackson Hts.

I'd lived in Soho since the 70s when, coming home at night and exiting the train at Prince and Broadway, there would be one establishment open all the way to Spring and Sullivan, and that was Fanelli's bar. I watched Soho grow from an exciting, creative arts and music scene sprinkled with colorful Italian American and Portuguese locals into, first an exclusive and alienating enclave of Wall Street art and loft collectors, and finally, a shop-till-you-drop midway of air-headed celebrity chasers. By 2004 I could barely afford a cup of coffee or a loaf of bread and was constrained to walking in the street on weekends, dodging cars rather than shopping bags; I needed out, but, paying $506/month rent for a 4-room apartment, I procrastinated. Until my landlord began to take steps to get me out. I realized that, the landlord-tenant courts being what they may, i.e., confraternities between owners and the judiciary, I decided not to fight the eviction but to use the money I would have spent on legal fees to buy myself a place in much-visited and loved Jackson Heights. I like to say that leaving Soho was the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I love my studio, I love the diversity, I love spending half on food than in Manhattan, I even love the 45 minute commute (most days) where I can catch up on my reading and, if on the #7 train, peer over the top of my iPad and marvel at the glorious diversity of folks I now proudly and comfortably live amongst.

May. 08 2014 08:20 AM
E McKenna from JH Queens

Having been a cheerleader for NYC for many years as the place of excellence in so many areas, especially in the arts, I am now feeling betrayed by the city. As an artist/educator, I see my child's college tuition
bills as a frightening part of life that will put the family into penury for the next few years even though
they are small by comparison because our financial margins as a family are so thin. Cultural workers are no longer valued here and while it is still a fantastic place to study, we are not being responsible to our youngest or oldest members of the NYC community whose fortunes are fluctuating so much now.
Can we make sure that our creative community is not decimated in the near future? It is a precious resource that cannot be easily restored. Mayor Bill D., please help us...

May. 08 2014 08:11 AM
Marla0203 from Manhattan

I moved back to NYC after a very long time working in another US city. I am thrilled to be back with a great job and a great place to live made possible by pooling assets with my partner. I lament that single middle aged NYers are living with roommates. I don't understand how that can be a worthwhile situation for someone over 35. To all of you Midwesterners now living in Brooklyn and Washington Hgts - maybe it is time to reconsider Detroit, Toledo and Minneapolis!

May. 08 2014 07:59 AM
Renee from Brooklyn

I'm about to leave for Chicago in 5 weeks. I'm from the tri-state area and have been coming to New York for the past 19 years, living here for 12. I'm an artist and for the past couple years I've been debating about whether to stay or go because it has been feeling like what is all this for now? The city got so expensive, it's changed. A lot. The Limelight is the Limelight Marketplace. I don't want to pay $1200 a month to live in Flushing, and I sure as heck don't want any roommates anymore. Finally I've decided to go. Will it be Chicago long term? I don't know. But NYC just isn't the place it used to be. So, like in Rebecca Wolff's essay,-"So Long Suckers!"

May. 08 2014 07:54 AM
Nathan from Hoboken, NJ

In the 95 when I moved to NYC, I made the calculation that in 20 years I'd be in a much better spot financially by moving to Jersey City/Hoboken after a couple years. Rent was dirt cheep and it was super close to the city - yes even back then the PATH and NJT busses ran nearly all the time. I am glad I turned out to be right; I bought, lived here, and while I do not have artisanal everything, I used all the money I saved by not playing the NYC housing game for a lot of other things.

There are so many things wrong with housing in this area, I'd like to hear reporting on how it has been solved, or not, by other similarly sized metro areas.

And, the bottom line, there are lots of other places in the USA that are great to live, have arts and culture - and the arts and culture are even much more accessible - but are not as inhospitable to residents as this area.

May. 08 2014 07:28 AM
Julius Adams from Queens, NY

The city we moved to in 1974 is not the city we may be forced to leave, not necessarily by choice, as we approach retirement age. It's not two cities, it's really one... for the upper middle and upper classes. Spates of layoffs since the mid to late 90s, along with carter changes to survive that left salaries lower, have begun to take their toll. We see no future for our sons - 20 and 26 - in the city job market, and housing is so beyond them we angst over them over it. We have gone so far as to offer them our small house if we move away to another part of the country. It's not the city we used to call ours. We lived in Manhattan for years, rent topped out at $289 when we left for Queens. Now prices are ridiculous everywhere, salaries for young people horrendously low even with college degrees, and prices always going up. You can see and feel people are stressed, and frankly it's not worth it! Manhattan has been turned into a playground for the rich, the boroughs are following suit, and while our life has recovered somewhat, it's not what the promise of NY offered at one time. Sad to watch, but we need to make choices, and one may be to finally say goodbye.

May. 08 2014 07:22 AM
cyrus forman from new york city

I'm leaving nyc for seattle in three weeks, and while money isn't the primary motivating force for my move (I want to get my PhD in a major city that also has access to top quality wilderness), it has certainly helped in my decision. I am a National Park Ranger, whose salary has stayed basically the same for the past five years, and in that time I've seen my rent increase by about 50%, forcing me to move to smaller apartments in more marginal neighborhoods in order to continue living here. Personally, after thirteen years in New York, I don't get why I'm paying so much to live here; the city is overcrowded, filthy, and overpriced. Honestly, the level of services and businesses that only cater to the wealthy makes me feel a lot worse here; when you see limousines designed to drive dogs to the dog spa passing you on your bike, constantly walk past restaurants where you can't afford the appetizer, and see people lining up around the corner to get a crack at the latest trendy $5 pastry, you don't feel middle class, you feel very poor and you feel that this city isn't for you, and won't be for people like you without a serious redesign.

May. 08 2014 06:02 AM

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