Seattle vs. NYC - moving decision, ack! - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Greetings. I've been running around in circles on this decision and would love to hear from some NYC mamas on this one.

I finish bschool in Chicago in June. When I started school (Fall 07 - feels like a lifetime ago) the plan was to get a job in finance in NY and make up for my outrageous tuition. Well, with the economy falling apart and my own personal evolution (realized I am tired of finance and even more tired of working for other people) I have scratched that plan and am trying to do something entrepreneurial.

Although I lived in MA/NYC for 2 years and have friends and family up and down the east coast, I and my husband are west coasters (PDX, Seattle). Since I don't want to get a real job and Seattle is the best place for him to get a real job and it's comfortable and relatively affordable and closer to our parents/sibs - it really seems like the best place to move post-grad.

But although moving to Seattle seems logical and comfortable, I just feel sort of depressed about it. I've wanted to move to NYC for years (my plans to move there in 2001 were de-railed by 9/11) and I just love the idea of being in a "real city". Seattle is beautiful but boring. NYC is interesting but daunting/expensive.

So how do you guys make it work? I'd like to live not too far from the core of Manhattan (far upper Manhattan or close-in Queens/Brookly) and will have a 2 yr old and 3 mo old when we move in June, so we need a bit of space for the fam. I'll need full-time childcare in order to do my "work" thing. It all just seems outrageously expensive.

Thoughts?

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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This isn't what you want to hear, but I moved to NYC for grad school after growing up in Seattle - and all I want is to move back! I love it there. I know its a little boring, but I can't stand all the people in NYC - theres just too many of them!

I also love the mountains near Seattle, and hate that NYC doesn't have any. Now that I'm here though, I don't know if I get to go back b/c my boyfriend is from long island and doesn't like my family so he refuses to move somewhere west

Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:06 PM
 
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Lots of families live in Queens or Brooklyn. There is affordable housing there, if you search. Of course, it's probably going to be a lot smaller than what you're used to, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Have you contacted a real estate agent in any of the areas you're interested in? If you don't have contacts in the area, that's probably the best way to get an idea of housing costs.
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Actually hearing from Seattle fans is exactly what I want to hear : ) Having lived in New York only as a single, childless student, it is very hard for me to envision what it will be like to be working mom there. And I'm worried I'm not forseeing the hurdles sufficiently.

I haven't contacted an agent. I assumed we'd be renting - at least for awhile - would it be advisable to work with a broker or is better to do that independently?

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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Old 02-10-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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First let me say that I don't live in NYC. I live across the river in Jersey. About 10 minutes away from the city. My advice to you is GO WEST. RUN DON'T WALK. DO NOT COME THIS WAY EVEN ON VACATION.

I moved here from Seattle 12 years ago and I have hated every freaking second of it. There is nothing about this place I like. The people are rude, rude, RUDE. I have learned horrible road rage since moving here. Yes, there is the theater and broadway shows and things like that. There are also children being shot in their beds by drive by shootings. There is rape and murder and kidnapping every single day. The news is so full of horrible things that I'm afraid to even watch it. Rent is four times what I paid in Seattle and that is for a tiny tiny place.

Seattle has so much to offer as far as cultural diversity. Peaceful environment. Some theater and things like that. It's Crunchy, caring, wonderful place to raise kids. New York has cultural diversity. It's called hate crimes where you get shot for the color of your skin. You have to look and look for anyone even remoatly crunchy and caring just doesn't seem to exist.

I would give anything to go back to Seattle, but I married this man who doesn't like change. He's lived in this apartment since he was 8 months old. He graduated from High School across the street and he's worked on his job for over 20 years. So I'm stuck. I hate it but I'm stuck.

Sorry I can't give an unbiased opinion on the subject. But this is the worse place I've ever lived.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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My mom's family is from Seattle so I have visited every year and I think it is boring, car-centric, and really white on the whole. We took our son to the park on day we we counted 65 kids in the playground and one was asian with white parents. Everyone else looked white (might not have been, but looked it). We had considered living there at one point and that was one of the things that really sealed the deal for me. Not to be a downer on Seattle, but for me it is no comparison to NYC (but I am a realy Brooklyn-lover).

NYC is so diverse and I love raising my son this way. I live in Clinton Hill Brooklyn which I think is one of the best neighborhoods for raising kids. We love the playgrounds, cafes, classes, and sense of small-town we feel here. We know all our neighbors, all the local merchants, we feel connected to community and surrounded by amazing oppurtunities. DH and I are both self-employeed and I feel like NYC pffers a lot to people who want to find their own niche.

Now, all that aside, if you don't have jobs, NYC is not a fun place to live. If you dh can't get a job here, paying for full-time childcare and starting your own business might be unrealistic. I think a low monthly budget for this city with a family of 4 is going to be about $4000 (and that could be much higher depending on where you live, what you spend, debt repayment, etc). So, you need to be practical about what your resources will be here versus there.

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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Old 02-10-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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Okay, I've only ever visited in Seattle on vacation, but I've been in NYC for 7 years, so here goes:

New York is insanely expensive. Absurdly expensive. Like, majorly-downgraded-life expensive. Have you seen this article?
http://www.nydailynews.com/money/200...six_figur.html

It's not just the rent--although that's certainly part of it. (I'm looking at apartments in Queens right now. $1800-$2200/month for very modest 2 bedrooms.) It's the groceries (soy milk is close to $5/half gallon, a pint of B&J is $5+). And the childcare (where I live, easily $22,000/year per child, or more!). And the lack of tax breaks because you're not buying, you're renting. And the NYC taxes. I can't even tell you how tired of I am of paying rent, childcare, education loans, and groceries--and then having absolutely nothing leftover. Saving for the future? Ha! And unless you go way out (and therefore have a serious commute, not ideal with children), it's unlikely you'll have any outdoor space like a backyard or terrace or patio. That gets old.

Now, all that said: if you decide to come to NYC, there are definitely ways of both saving money and improving your standard of living (e.g., getting a veggie box from a CSA). I'm happy to talk about some of things that make NYC great when you have kids. But it can feel very constraining, particularly if you'll be trying to pay back loans in a hurry.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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I love NYC and lived there for many years before getting married, but I would never want to live there with kids. We still go into the city almost every weekend, but I'm always happy to go back home. We live in a Jersey suburb right now and most of my friends are refugees from the City. The stories they tell...2 kids in a one-bedroom apartment, competitive preschools, cost of mom-kid classes 3 times what I pay here, etc. etc. We have a 5-bedroom house...for the price, we could barely have bought a studio apartment in Manhattan. If I were you, I'd go to Seattle....if you already have connections and family there, you'll probably have a much nicer quality of life. You can always vacation in NYC.

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Old 02-11-2009, 02:37 AM
 
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First let me say that I don't live in NYC. I live across the river in Jersey. About 10 minutes away from the city. My advice to you is GO WEST. RUN DON'T WALK. DO NOT COME THIS WAY EVEN ON VACATION.

I moved here from Seattle 12 years ago and I have hated every freaking second of it. There is nothing about this place I like. The people are rude, rude, RUDE. I have learned horrible road rage since moving here. Yes, there is the theater and broadway shows and things like that. There are also children being shot in their beds by drive by shootings. There is rape and murder and kidnapping every single day. The news is so full of horrible things that I'm afraid to even watch it. Rent is four times what I paid in Seattle and that is for a tiny tiny place.

Seattle has so much to offer as far as cultural diversity. Peaceful environment. Some theater and things like that. It's Crunchy, caring, wonderful place to raise kids. New York has cultural diversity. It's called hate crimes where you get shot for the color of your skin. You have to look and look for anyone even remoatly crunchy and caring just doesn't seem to exist.
OK... this is complete hyperbole. Absolute. NYC is one of the safest large cities in the country (behind San Jose, Honolulu, and El Paso) and has been for some time. The suburbs (at least on this side of the Hudson) are some of the safest areas in the country period. (Nassau-Suffolk is #16 on the safest metropolitan areas list, and all the places above it are much, much smaller.)

Yes, there's road rage. Yes, people are impatient. Yes, it costs a damn fortune.

I wouldn't live anywhere else. NYC has energy. It has buzz. Seattle... eh. And people there were pretty darn rude (I've since read about the Seattle freeze).

You can do pretty well in NYC if you do it right. Live in the outer boroughs. (Start by looking on Craigslist; that will give you a good idea of what rents run. Also, you might be able to avoid broker fees.) Try not to have a car: parking sucks, insurance is expensive, and unless you live in parts of eastern Queens, you can do without it. Outside Manhattan, groceries aren't half as bad. (Nabigus, are you in Manhattan? I've never seen prices that bad in the bigger supermarkets in Queens or even Brooklyn.) Public schools in parts of Queens are good. Childcare is expensive, no way around that.

I wouldn't want to live in Manhattan with kids unless I was loaded, but the outer boroughs are very different.

Also, unlike Seattle, NYC is within reach of both skiing (ok, not GREAT skiing, at least for day trips) in the winter and great beaches in the summer. The weather is better, or at least sunnier. (But be prepared for the heat in summer!) I lived in the UK for 4 years, which is a very similar climate to the PNW (less reliable summers) and boy, is the weather here better.

If money is your main consideration, don't come here (though Seattle's not inexpensive either) but otherwise? NYC beats Seattle on a lot of counts.

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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Old 02-11-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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I have never been to Seatle but I grew up on Long Island and went to college in the city. Now I live i NJ. My husband and I are talking about moving into the city when the kids go to college.

We love the city. We love the energy, the vibe, the buzz, the shows, the museums, the cultural events. We also love living in the burbs with our kids. It is the best of both worlds for us. We can take advantage of the city when we want to and enjoy the ability to send our kids out to play here in the burbs.

There are rude people, there is road rage, there is lots of impatience. That does not mean you have to buy into it. I ignore the rude people, drive the way I want, and well, I am naturally impatient.

Dh and I were just talking about our skewed version of what makes a city. To us there is only one city. NYC. The others, well, sure they are nice but they are not NYC.

Kathy-Mom to Blake & Mikaela
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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I grew up in the NE, spent summers and vacations in NYC and Long Island as a child of divorce, and then spent about five years out west before coming back home. My DF and I lived together in northern California for a minute, and not a week goes by that we don't talk about when we can move back. I would also move to Seattle or Portland in a heartbeat. We're avid snowboarders, and anything that puts us near to Baker, Hood, Tahoe or Mammoth is a deal-maker. DF surfs as well, and the PNW waves are year-round amazing. Yes, we can run up to VT to ride and he surfs Long Beach every chance he gets, but honestly the natural features of the East Coast are just small in comparison.

We live in Williamsburg, 10 minutes by train to Manhattan. We have a small two-bedroom with a 13 month old and one on the way. It's expensive as hell...we could live on a third of DF's income pretty much anywhere else in the country, yet here we spend every penny. I quit my job because even on my decent salary, I'd be taking home maybe a couple hundred bucks a week after child care/taxes/health insurance.

Right now our major problem is that DF is easily working 70+ hour weeks between his full-time job and all his extra freelance work that even tends to eat up his weekends. So yes, we get to live in NYC with all of the advantages of cultural diversity, convenience, stimulation, etc. But I'm essentially a single parent. DD sees her dad maybe a total of two hours a day, including breakfast and dinner. Her bedtime is now 10-11pm just so we can manage that.

Seattle vs NYC aside, I believe it's a quality of life question. West coast working hours are 9-5. Though we place importance on DD and #2 reaching the ages of reason in NYC for the sake of their street smarts and common sense faculties, we can't wait to reward them with their teenage years riding, surfing, and having both their parents home soon after school lets out.

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

And just to note - I've lived all over this country including Houston (city of the worst traffic ever), Chicago (where the murder rate is twice that of NY, I believe), Seattle (plenty of rude people), Milwaukee (boring!!!!) and New York and more. We actually pay about $3600 monthly for rent and childcare alone right now (so I definitely am not expecting any better in NY) and I was used to working 12-14 hour days in Portland (not really the ideal or something I care to replicate at this point in my life but there are plenty of days now when I just see my son for only an hour or two, unfortunately).

The big question mark for me at this point is just the cost and logistics of living in New York ... and I'm still mulling! But thanks so much for your thoughts!! Good stuff.

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

And just to note - I've lived all over this country including Houston (city of the worst traffic ever), Chicago (where the murder rate is twice that of NY, I believe), Seattle (plenty of rude people), Milwaukee (boring!!!!) and New York and more. We actually pay about $3600 monthly for rent and childcare alone right now (so I definitely am not expecting any better in NY) and I was used to working 12-14 hour days in Portland (not really the ideal or something I care to replicate at this point in my life but there are plenty of days now when I just see my son for only an hour or two, unfortunately).

The big question mark for me at this point is just the cost and logistics of living in New York ... and I'm still mulling! But thanks so much for your thoughts!! Good stuff.
If you move to the NYC area, are you thinking you definitely want to live in Manhattan? Are you open to the boroughs? Are you open to the suburbs? Is it something you want to try for a couple years, or is this a permanent move? Do you want to buy property? I think there are a lot of different possibilities and experiences for living in the NYC area, but it depends on what your expectations are. For us, the most livable option was to move to the suburbs (the diverse, liberal, walkable, affordable, train-commutable, close to NYC suburbs!). But that's just our experience.

lady.gif mama to H. 4/05 and A. 9/08 and baby C. 10/11

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:57 AM
 
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i have lived in nyc for 6 years and now astoria, queens for 6 months. we have a 9 month old son. i was a nanny for 5 years taking care of children in the city. i LOVE this place. i am originally form chicago suburbs. every year im here longer i cant imagine going back to that life.

that said, it is a little more difficult with a child now. expensive? yes. people rude? yep. any mountains or natural beauty? nope. but i guess it has always felt more like home to me than my first home growing up. im a dancer, so that is what attracted me at first, i love the fast pace, and the fact that there is always a bunch of people around.

drive-by shootings? not in my area-thank God. but in every city there is that possibility.

I suppose that if you like this place, then you would be excited for your kids to live here, and therefore it wouldnt be such a hassle.

i'm personally very excited to raise my son here, if he gets the chance. i think that the stimulation is like no other, and then we can always take him somewhere mountainly beautiful

anyway...long story short: it's possible to love this city with children if thats your thing!
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:00 AM
 
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p.s. as a nanny-the general rate in the city is $15/hour for 1 or 2 kids. thought it might be helpful.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:31 AM
 
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Also, unlike Seattle, NYC is within reach of both skiing (ok, not GREAT skiing, at least for day trips) in the winter and great beaches in the summer. The weather is better, or at least sunnier. (But be prepared for the heat in summer!) I lived in the UK for 4 years, which is a very similar climate to the PNW (less reliable summers) and boy, is the weather here better.

If money is your main consideration, don't come here (though Seattle's not inexpensive either) but otherwise? NYC beats Seattle on a lot of counts.
Seattle is very close to LOTS of skiing...and much better than NY. Have you ever been to any of the passes? Have you seen what WA skiing looks like? It's amazing. Surrounded by mountains...there is obviously skiing going on. And there are plenty of beaches. And if you desire you can drive to the coast of WA or just stay in the city. The weather is much better in Seattle, imo. I do not live in NYC but it's about the same in little Rhody. Seattle never really gets snow (as an average) but NYC does. Seattle gets rain (and not downpour rain) but plenty of sun in summer and during the year. It's a myth that it rains all.the.time. Not true. My sister lived in the UK and the weather may be similar at times...but seems to be "better" in Seattle. Plus you don't have high heat summers and NO need for a/c. NYC in summer...ugh.

I'm sure Seattle can't compare to the size and action going on in NYC but most major cities in the US can't. It's NYC. While it has it's own glamour for some as a city Seattle holds its own in other ways. (mountains, green all year, Puget Sound, true amazing beauty surrounding you, close to the rain forest, water, snow AND desert!) And the people aren't nearly as rude and awful as those in NYC. Seattle freeze compared to the common rude New Yorker is not even on the same radar.

While I think NYC is wonderful I would never ever live there. We could if we wanted to but no thanks Dp is there now and is always in NYC. I despise where I live now (RI ) and the east coast all together. I dream of the day I can return back to the PNW (we have lived in Seattle and Portland) where crunchy folks are the norm and people believe in using trash cans (shoooot and recycle that trash when out and about too)
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:12 AM
 
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I just want to say that people are not rude in NYC, no more rude than I experience anywhere and I have travelled in the US a lot. People her give each other directions, offer seats on the trains, help carry strollers upstairs for each other, etc. This week someone tracked me down when I lost my iPod. They could have sold it but they went to great lenghts to find me and return it instead. People are good all over the country and in my experience people in Seattle are no more or less friendly or rude than here (especially if you count my family in that area! )

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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This thread made me remember even more of the great things about Seattle! I don't find the people in NYC particularly rude, I just think there are too many people here in general - and it takes too long to get out of the city and away from the people!

And as for the rain in Seattle - yes it rains every.single.day. I say that b/c I don't want people to move there and make it more crowded before I can go back. I LOVE Seattle weather, I HATE humid summers and hot weather! I LOVE the mountains, the water, the hills, the islands and everything natural that Seattle and western WA has to offer, as well as the crunchy people of the PNW.

If only I could convince my boyfriend that my family was cool and it would be a good place to live....
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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I live just south of Seattle in the burbs. I have a 4 month old. You couldn't ask for a more kid friendly, kid oriented place. It's clean, open, not congested with people. In my experience, the city is for the young and childless and the Pacific North West is for anyone! Seattle itself can be a little rude and boring, but the surrounding areas are great. You don't have to worry about private schools out here because there are plenty of top notch public schools. New York is just so busy. Any native Seattle-ite will tell you DON'T MOVE HERE because they want to keep this wonderful place for themselves. It's probably a question of money for you. Which place could you more easilly afford? Most friends I know that tried city life with kids is they got tired of the ELEVATORS and PARKING!! I know NYC is a popular place. . . but I personally would not want to live there at this point in my life.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:52 AM
 
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Nabigus mentioned a news article about the high cost of living in NYC. I think the actual report is worth reading, especially for someone who is thinking about moving into this city with a family: http://www.nycfuture.org/images_pdfs...Aspiration.pdf .
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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New here, but wanted to add my humble opinion as a native (and growingly jaded) New Yorker. Yes, we know NYC is the stereotypical and I believe the definitive metropolis. But....it's a wonderful living experience if you are young, want to experience the excitement, willing to commit to the the struggles of everyday city life (that when young can add to the overall "city" vibe), and have a great opportunity to work and/or study. Other than that...ehh. Everyone who I meet and absolutely loves city life (in NYC- and by that we mean Manhattan and nowadays Brooklyn ) is young, not a native New Yorker, and seems to idealize the lifestyle. This is just what I have encountered and is not reflective of previous posts. Believe me, my DH and I are true NYers, we love the history and the boroughs, but we see a sad decline and change (which is also part of the city's history). I guess that happens when you've been here close to 40 yrs. Ironically, NY can be the most isolating city in the world and at times the least accepting (even w/all the people & diverse culture). The link to the report, previously posted, is how my husband and I have been feeling for some time. Good Luck w/your decision. There are pros and cons in every situation, but if you get along well w/your family and will have that support in Seattle, well, I think that's something that should be really considered.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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That was very well said! Great 1st post
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Nabigus mentioned a news article about the high cost of living in NYC. I think the actual report is worth reading, especially for someone who is thinking about moving into this city with a family: http://www.nycfuture.org/images_pdfs...Aspiration.pdf .
That report was excellent. Thank you. As well as the commenting post.

I had been browsing Craigslist rentals for the NY area over the past week and decided to check out Seattle listings last night. And when I saw a beautiful little house in Ballard going for $2500/mo, I knew my inner penny pincher just couldn't handle NY in our present economic situation. Not only does our dollar go further in Seattle but my husband and I can probably actually make as much or more money there. And it is a great place to live. And my kids will actually get to know their grandparents (as I never did).

In the 5.5 years we've been married my husband and I have lived in 5 cities, experienced multiple ups/downs on the job market, incurred sky high grad school tuition and added 1.5 little one's to our family. I think a little less stress (especially on the $$ front) would do our marriage a lot of good!

So while I still love all the great and one of a kind things about NY, I guess it's just not meant to be right now. Sigh.

Thank you all!

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

LittleGriff is offline  
 
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