The Reasons I’m Falling Out Of Love With New York City
As a native New Yorker, I am proud of where I am from and I embrace every influence New York has had on who I am. However as I approach 30, I am starting to think I need a break from the city that never sleeps.
When I moved back to my hometown borough of Queens in 2011 I was ecstatic. After living in Norfolk, VA while pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Norfolk State University, I was ready to get back to the rumble and bustle of the Big Apple. I could finally travel when I wanted to, party until four or five in the morning and make my routine visits to the bodega. It felt good to be home. As time has gone on, that good feeling has started to turn into disgust. I’m realizing that I am falling out of love with my beloved city of New York.
One thing that continues to irk my nerves is the public transportation system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The extended waits for the bus, the train delays and outdated train stations are getting to be frustrating. My morning commute is always unpredictable as I never know if my ride will be smooth or interrupted by train traffic, a sick passenger or signal problems. By the time I would arrive to work after a stressful commute from Queens to Harlem, I was already exhausted and the day had not even begun. Dr. Susanne Cooperman even said that stressful commutes increase levels of anxiety.
“The anxiety builds and builds, the adrenaline courses through your veins,” Dr. Cooperman told CBS. “It affects every cell in your body. You can become sick physically, but also emotionally.”
While many suggest that I get my license, I would not dare drive in the madness of these New York City streets. However, a license is much needed if I plan to live in a new city.
Living in this city has not only been stressing me mentally but also financially. The cost of living in New York City is outrageous! One bedroom rents continue to rise (around $1400) and the spaces continue to get smaller. Plus, the affordable housing continues to get less affordable and less accessible. The groceries are even overpriced. New Yorkers are known hustlers not because we want to be, but because we have to be in order to maintain some sort of livelihood in this city.
The homelessness is New York City is also alarming. With 78,000 people without homes, the number has reportedly skyrocketed to the highest it has ever been. Seeing homeless families on the subway panhandling and veterans who have served our country freezing outdoors in the winter is heartbreaking as much as it is infuriating. Every day I am outside, I encounter homeless people. Our shelters are not only not up to par but can also be dangerous, so many opt to sleep on the train or outside. As a psychotherapist, I have also heard many horror stories from clients about the infestation, domestic violence, drug abuse and inadequate living conditions of New York City shelters.
I never thought I would even entertain the idea of leaving my dear New York, but adulting has changed my perspective of the concrete jungle. I will also have a unconditional love for NYC, but the thought of taking my empire state of mind elsewhere doesn’t sound like a bad idea.