So Long, New York. Hello, Cali! | Tracy's New York Life | A New York City Lifestyle + Travel Blog Tracy's New York Life | Best Lifestyle, Culture, and Travel Blog in NYC

So Long, New York. Hello, Cali!

by Suzie Dundas
Central Park.

I've decided to leave New York, and I'll tell you, it looks like a much better place now that I'm on the way out.  I've been freelancing for the last eight or nine months, which means I can work from just about anywhere, provided they have adequate wifi. I moved to New York City because I wanted to work in an area with bigger clients, more cultural offerings, tons of new people, and constant activity. However, it soon became clear that this city wasn't for me.

First and foremost, I enjoy outdoor activities. You may be thinking (if you're the type that talks back to computer screens), “But Suzie, you have Central Park literally in your backyard.” And, that's true.  But, Central Park is great for outdoor activity if you're one of those people who doesn't go outside much. There's no hiking; the only wildlife you'll see are lost Midwestern tourists.  And try as you might, you can never get more than 50 yards away from someone who's willing to sell you “real designer goods,” for however much cash you happen to have on you.

So, I've decided to move to the West Coast. I've always wanted to try living somewhere other than the East Coast, and there are a lot of good schools I'm keen to check out for PhDs, and the access to the outdoors is a thousand times better than it is in New York. 

Some of my reasons for leaving may be superficial – I'm looking forward to living somewhere with parking, for example. But some of my reasons are, I believe, significant – I'm looking for a better quality of life that balances operas, museums and lectures with surfing, sun, hiking and camping. And, if it turns out that I don't like it, no harm done.  I'll just pack back up and road trip back to NYC.

I've been spending my remaining days in New York doing all the things that TripAdvisor tells me I'm supposed to do in the city. In the last week, I've...

- Explored Central Park

- Attended Shakespeare in the Park (and managed to follow the story!)

- Enjoyed the sun and food at the Williamsburg Smorgasboard market

- Hung out at a private pool with views of the Empire State Building

-Barbecued on a rooftop and watched the sunset

-Gone clubbing on the Lower East Side - and saw Hugh Jackman in the process! I'm told he was with his family (I didn't notice them.)

- Went to the Met, including the rooftop and the Punk exhibit (well curated, but information-light)

- Went to the Planetarium and Natural History Museum

- Went to the 9/11 Memorial and St. Paul's

- Wandered through Battery Park

- Saw a comedy show 

- Took the Roosevelt Island Gondola, explored the island, and went to the new Roosevelt Park

And I enjoyed all of these activities for (I believe) one major reason: suddenly, everything I dislike about the city is now temporary; a minor inconvenience to put up with while I take in the fun side of the city. The crowds, the overpriced cost of everything, the attitudes, who cares? I've wondered more than once if this is perhaps how people who love New York feel every day; I've wondered if perhaps I'm overlooking some of the downsides to Southern California, as I haven't lived there yet. After all, I liked New York City before I became a resident. 

Obviously, I'll miss the friends I've made here, although I suspect some of them may find time to visit when they have a friend living on the beach in California.  But, I think I'm going to miss the idea of New York more than New York itself. I love living in the place that gets the best shows and first access to art exhibits, leads the world in trendsetting, and is seen as where the 'best of the best' battle it out. 

The truth is, I had those things, and they didn't mean much to me. I had gigs that paid enough for me to live in a one bedroom next to Central Park, and events and dinners with the “who's who” of the city. And while I still want to go to museums and great dinners in California, I don't need to be the first to see new exhibits or have dinner with the cast of whatever the fad-of-the-moment show is. So, I'm semi-curious to find out what I will miss about New York  – if anything –when I trade in the Empire State for the Golden Coast.

Until then, so long New York. Maybe I'll think of you fondly when I'm stuck driving eight hours across Oklahoma. But for now, I'm looking forward to my new home on the West Coast.  
Venice Beach, CA
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