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Friday, May 7, 2021

Move to the suburbs? That’s not what I wanted

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I think about this from time to time. When was the last time you wanted to move?

I understand the pull. Just like every year I hear a bevy of experts who tell me how my family and I will never live anywhere else than the house in Queens we bought back in 1982 when my wife was 19.

But I resist that urge. To a greater degree than my wife, I want to stay in the same place we’ve lived almost all our lives. I guess I’m an old hippie.

Perhaps I am, because I don’t want to move on and part with a lifetime of memories. They include an Upper West Side apartment that I just toured as an IKEA showroom, the sun-drenched backyard, the bohemian arts-and-crafts friend who first invited us into the house that gives us a place to call home.

Still, with living expenses getting ever-higher, wouldn’t I be better off with a bigger home in a nicer neighborhood? Wouldn’t I be better off — and, let’s face it, more affluent — for living closer to work?

Incomes are growing faster in other parts of the country. And housing costs — as this article from Barron’s demonstrates — are rising faster in Manhattan than almost anywhere else. Here in New York, the median one-bedroom apartment costs close to $3,000 a month. But for city dwellers who want to downsize, I recommend move to Westchester County in the Hudson Valley or Long Island, or to suburbs near Manhattan.

You can’t blame millennials for wanting to. A recent Census report says, “the typical millennial has been living with their parents longer than any other age group.”

If I were in their shoes, I’d ask myself, can I do what I want to do, if not where I want to do it? If not, I could probably find a place closer to the office in which to spend more time with my colleagues.

Or I could move to someplace that felt more welcoming to an aging parent. Or move to a city near my in-laws’. I want to live closer to family.

Even if I did move up — if I wanted to spend more time on the Upper West Side — I could probably still feel like I was in the same neighborhood. And I still wouldn’t feel limited by our bank account.

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