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Correct Opinions

It’s Totally Fine to Leave New York

Seriously. Don't worry about it!

11:46 AM EDT on April 25, 2023

A man jogs with a baby carriage in front of the Brooklyn Bridge
(Hell Gate)

One thing about living in New York City is that it makes you a little… defensive. That's probably why so many people jumped down the throat of Molly Johnson, an East Village-based TikToker, when she shared on her page that she wasn't happy living in the city. "New York did not chew me up and spit me out, I just… I don't like it," Johnson said, perhaps inadvertently (or not so inadvertently) launching some Monday morning discourse. "I found an amazing apartment, I found an amazing boyfriend here… I just feel so much happier every time I leave, bro," she continued. "Literally the second I touch down, my chest gets all tight and I'm anxious, kinda pissed."

While some might see Johnson as emblematic of a certain kind of New York City transplant who views the city as a "playground" (and the comment she makes about homeless people approaching her in the park doesn't help her case), this is a sad video, and it makes me feel bad for her. Well, not the part about having an amazing boyfriend—a New York City anomaly, am I right ladies? But the whole crushing and palpable dread stemming solely from being in the five boroughs is not a sustainable situation and frankly not necessary. Johnson, who says in other posts on her TikTok account that she's sober, declares that she's dissatisfied with the city's lack of green space, and the fact that all there is to do here is eat, get drunk, and go to a "weird theater." While that's objectively not true, it does encapsulate a typical Wednesday night for me personally—but if that's not her cup of tea, it's completely okay! 

There are a bunch of structural reasons to join the record number of people leaving New York. We're in the midst of a housing crisis with no sign of relief in sight, and Manhattan, where Johnson lives, has the highest cost of living in the country. Our city services are being systematically gutted by our weird cop mayor, our cops are obsessed with parking on the sidewalk, and our airport sandwiches are expensive as fuck. If you already hate it here, it makes sense to join the almost one percent of the state's population that packed up and headed out in 2022. 

A few other compelling reasons to move out of New York City—if you just don't like it: 

  • Cars where they shouldn’t be! 
  • Your extended family will have to find something else to talk to you about when they see you at Thanksgiving, the religious holidays worth traveling for, and the occasional wedding other than, "So, how's New York?" 
  • Joan Didion did it, but she’s the only one allowed to write about it
  • Freedom from getting drafted into the impending war against rats
  • Ease of access to a normal grocery store that sells, like, plain Tostitos
  • Homeownership as an attainable life goal
  • Less pressure to get "into cigarettes"
  • Fewer people making a TikTok in a restaurant in the background of the TikTok you're making at a restaurant

And, finally, more people leaving New York means more couches for New Yorkers to crash on when we're also temporarily seized by the urge to leave New York. If you truly dislike living here, go ahead and free up that amazing apartment. It's a win-win for everyone.

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