Dear patient readers,
I wanted to give you a heads up that your humble blogger is leaving NYC at the end of June, probably permanently. I could sublet my apartment for up to two years (my landlord is surprisingly cooperative with this sort of thing) but it may make more sense to get out of Dodge for good.
The immediate driver is that my 91 year old mother is having home health care aides in daily for a few hours. That’s overkill relative to what she needs now, but better to err on the side of caution. But it’s not great to have this happening when she has no family anywhere nearby…and my brother who lives nearest (in Charlottesville, meaning not near at all) is looking to move to the Northeast next year. Plus when she dies, I have to deal with the estate, which would be a nightmare long distance.
On top of that, NYC isn’t remotely the city it was when I moved here. It was grittier back then but also much more vibrant. Many of the interesting people, like artists and writers, can’t afford to live in Manhattan any more. More so than ever, the city seems mercenary and most people socialize with others in their professional circle. One of the few venues for non-commercial mixing is the private schools, where parents get to know other parents But aside from scholarship kids, the adults are still staying well within elite circles.
This isn’t just my opinion. I spoke to a born and bred New Yorker, older than I am. He deplores how taking advantage of customers and counterparties is widespread and seen as normal, and said he would leave if he didn’t have lots of family here. Another long-standing contact, to my surprise, is also leaving this summer, not liking what the city has become. A successful service provider says that his upscale clients, many of whom he has had for over a decade, feel they are on a treadmill, working even harder just to stay even economically, and are looking into when to depart the New York. It’s been surprising that no one who lives here tried defending remaining in Manhattan, or even saying I should think twice, I’d miss what was here. Too many of them find that the city offers less than it used to, and they take advantage of it less frequently as well.
Despite Alabama having a very bad image for some legitimate reasons (the state government is impressively corrupt), Birmingham has the best med school in the South and the health care industry is now the city’s biggest source of employment. My mother lives in Mountain Brook, which is a small affluent suburb that looks like the better parts of Westchester County. It is also in the top 100 communities in the US in terms of population density of college graduates and there are reasonable services in the area. More generally, Birmingham is bucking the trend of smaller cities and has been getting better over time. For instance, it has high caliber restaurants out of proportion to its size.
But I have a lot of sorting out to do….like an apartment with big pieces of furniture that may never find big enough rooms to live in well again, and other things where I should consider what to try to sell or give away versus move and store. Oddly my 1980s-1990s wardrobe is more marketable than the French Art Deco furniture. But I hardly have time to figure all this out, let alone handle the many tasks associated with a relocation. So I am going to be even more overstretched than usual.
The pending relocation means that Lambert and Jerri-Lynn will be doing more of the regular content-provision in May and June than now. Rest assured that isn’t a permanent development, but necessary for me to make the time to uproot myself.
Rest assured I plan to visit at least twice a year, so readers probably won’t notice the difference in terms of frequency of local meetups.