Real Estate

Why Is It So Hard to Say Goodbye to New York City?

Even so, she misses the serendipity of New York. She recalled how she happened upon a yarn store near her apartment full of chatty knitters when she was just out walking one Sunday. “To find those little communities in Manhattan was amazing,” she said. “The walkability lends itself to people dropping in and hanging out.”

Charlotte Morgan, a native New Yorker and general counsel for Adore Me, an online lingerie business, had always imagined such a New York life for her family. “My 6-year-old son knows all the subways by heart,” said Ms. Morgan, 38. “I thought I’d raise the kids running around under the giant whale at the Natural History Museum on Sunday mornings.”

A few years back, her husband was offered a terrific job at his firm’s Houston office. Back then, Ms. Morgan couldn’t bear to leave. But when the opportunity arose again mid-pandemic, she knew it was time to go.

It wasn’t easy. “I cling dearly to the fact that Manhattan is the center of the universe,” she said. In February, she went house hunting in the Houston suburbs. “When we were in the car and got more than 10 minutes from the city center, I had a panic attack,” Ms. Morgan said. Ultimately, the family settled in Houston Heights, close to downtown. Their home shares an alleyway with a coffee shop and is close to an urgent care facility and a Pilates studio. “It allowed me to hope and believe that it won’t be a completely suburban existence,” she said.

But no existence, no matter how urban, can replicate New York. “Whenever I see movies or shows or anything filmed in New York City, my heart hurts for it,” said Zey Halici, who moved with her family from Brooklyn to Venice, the neighborhood in Los Angeles, in January 2021. “When I left the D.C. area in 2009 for a life change and job opportunity in New York, I never missed D.C. like I miss New York now.”

Ms. Halici, 37, describes her current neighborhood as “hipster Williamsburg meets Coney Island.” She works in marketing in the alcohol industry and feels comfortable among the local creative class. But she’s been spending a lot of time at a local cafe and bakery called Gjusta, because the atmosphere and, especially, the bagels remind Ms. Halici of home.

“The new place is not the old place,” Ms. Loflin said. “You hopefully chose the new place for a reason, so your job is not sitting home and mourning New York, but getting out and finding what makes it tick.”

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