Why I’m Leaving New York

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Jennifer and Terrell  have left Brooklyn for Atlanta, Ga.
Jennifer Perry and Tarrell Watson have left Brooklyn for Atlanta, Ga.

By Jennifer Perry

Living in New York, especially Brooklyn, isn’t the same anymore. Brooklyn is said to be one of the most expensive boroughs to live in and from my experience, I believe that is a fact. While at work, I engage in quick conversations with people from all over the city. One thing is for certain. I am NOT the only person of color trying to escape the big city. Seems like we are starting to migrate to the South (again), because it’s very affordable.

The rent is just about slashed in half for what you would pay here in the city, and you get more amenities. What’s preventing people from moving how they want to is money. It’s a vicious cycle. People work every day just like they are supposed to, only to not have enough to start a savings account because they work check to check just to pay the rent. That’s their life every day.  I blame gentrification for this. I’m not against other ethnic groups moving in and making a living for themselves, they (too) have a human right to do so. It’s just that when they come in, rents and everything else in the area goes up, thus making it unaffordable for those who have lived in the area long before.

It’s like a “domino effect” in some black neighborhoods. It’s even harder to get into public housing now. The waiting period can take years and while you’re waiting your turn, everything is going up around you. More young adults are living at home until they’ve reached their mid-30’s or later because it is almost impossible to afford your own place in Brooklyn. The only way to afford your own place is if you get lucky enough to get a call back after you took a civil service exam, score a high-paying office job or if you win a “affordable housing ” lottery, and even that can take years sometimes.

Granted, the pace in the South is much slower and the economy is very different but if more and more people are moving there, the economy is sure to change to accommodate the rising population. Either way, I’d rather take my chances in a place that’s affordable and upcoming versus living in a city that is clearly demonstrating that they no longer have room for people like me, “the working poor”.