Places You’ve Moved To

9 Nov

People I know have moved from New York City to these places in the last few years:

Barcelona, Spain
Bloomfield, NJ
Glendale, MA
High Falls, NY
Florence, MA
Lawrence, KS
Mamaroneck, NY
Maplewood, NJ
Montclair, NJ
Mt. Kisco, NY
New Rochelle, NY
Northampton, MA
Nyack, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Red Hook, NY
Tivoli, NY

Most of those places are known entities to me. Still searching for the hidden gems…

Wanna Move to Mt. Morris?

9 Nov

Mount Morris, a town of 3,000 folks south Rochester, is apparently a great place to live. This article lauds it as an example of a ghost town that was successfully resuscitated–not only that, it came back to life during this recession. The town was apparently revived by a single man, one Greg O’Connell, who “saw the opportunity to revive a Main Street for small businesses in a parallel way to the waterfront in Brooklyn where he restored Civil War warehouses for small manufacturers.” (This by the way, is a very similar story to the one Realtor Gary DiMauro told me about his own hand in revitalizing the tiny, wonderful town of Tivoli, also upstate). “O’Connell bought and restored 19 buildings, lured new businesses, created 28 second-floor apartments, involved both the local high school and college and the larger community.”

As far as escapees are concerned, this is potentially inspiring news. If there’s a town that you love the look and location of, and in whose faded vibrancy you can imagine a technicolor revitalization, don’t be afraid of urban pioneering (or small town pioneering, as is the case, here).

Bungalow Envy

2 Sep

I’ve had a bad case of bungalow envy ever since my two-year stint in Tempe, Arizona, where almost all the old houses in and around the downtown had been razed (strip malls and new mutli-story “rehabbed” lofts with fallacious industrial histories replaced them). But there was one little neighborhood, Maple-Ash (named for the streets, which were named after non-native deciduous trees along them, sucking up the precious reserve of water…but at least the streets were-tree-lined), where the adorable adobes still stood. Or maybe they leaned–lots of absentee landlords rented them out to students, and thus their yards were decorated with beer cans and their foundations were falling victim to termites. It didn’t make them look any less inviting to me, with their proud porches and promising half-stories on top.

There’s a similar story being written on the landscape over in Neponsit, a pristine neighborhood next to Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. It was a beach bungalow community once upon a time, and now it is a tear-down community, a few homes tastefully reinvented but mostly a lot of McMansion-esque architecture on tiny lots. Continue reading

When You Move, Where You Go

2 Sep

WNYC has been conducting its own informal census–and a design competition with it–called Map Your Moves. New Yorkers input data about where they’ve moved and why, which designers can then visually interpret into maps (the winner will be announced shortly). One of the things you can learn from designer Andrea Stranger‘s maps is the infrequency with which New Yorkers leave the five boroughs. When folks from Manhattan move, where do they go? Elsewhere in Manhattan. Ditto in Brooklyn. They go to cheaper zip codes, but they don’t go far.

The primary reason for location, naturally, is rent getting too high, mixed with salaries shrinking (though the bulk of new moms I’ve met in my longtime neighborhood, Park Slope, came for the schools, the sense of community and the hype–this is where Manhattanites flee in the months after conception).

Other reasons they move? Relationship and roommate issues, getting married or divorced, work or school…or–and may this not be the reason for any of us to relocate–bedbugs.

Loving It, But Leaving It

1 Sep

If that describes you–a NYC-lover who can’t afford to live here the way you’d like to (yard, an extra bedroom, closet space enough to store more than three pairs of shoes)–then you’re in the right place. Well, actually, you’re in the wrong place: stuck in the five boroughs, dreaming of some city or town that reaps all the rewards of NYC life with far fewer of the deficits. You’re afraid to leave because of a dependency on all-night bodegas, endless options of Friday night movies, that drive and ambition that make the streets of New York constantly buzz…and all the cool people around, with whom to pass the time.

There are tens of thousands of you, of us, out there, loving New York but needing to leave it in order to stretch out a little, raise a family, or upgrade from a studio apartment. And thus, this is my project: chronicling the cool places within car’s, train’s or bus’s reach of NYC, and the cool people who’ve moved there.

In the meantime, if you are a happily relocated New Yorker, send us your story, and tell us about your town…unless, of course, you want to be the only ex-New Yorkers who set up shop there.

By the way, there are places to happily relocate within New York City, if the island of Manhattan and Brownstone Brooklyn aren’t within your reach. This photo is one of my favorite images: the inexorable march of progress (high-rises) beating against the quietly stoic bungalow colony in Far Rockaway. Most are torn down, or dilapidated, but I think this prime beach-front property is worth investing in. If you buy one, please invite me over there for a barbeque.