Last month, I headed to New York City for a week-long vacation. It's an annual trek of sorts; that's the town where I born and raised and anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for all things Yankee. (GO GIANTS!) But after living in Oklahoma City for the past three years, I ‘ve only now realized how expensive my hometown is.
I came upon this epiphany when I was running errands. I dropped off 12 shirts at the drycleaners just a few blocks from my former home in Brooklyn. From there, I headed into Manhattan for a visit with my tailor, who altered four suits for me. And later that night, I headed went back into Manhattan for a night on the town with my buddies Alex and Victor.
A recent tally of the receipts was eye-opening, to say the least.
Remember the 12 shirts I sent to my old drycleaners? That set me back $30, compared to the $12 I usually pay at my cleaners at May Ave. and 63rd here in OKC. My tailor charged me about $300 for alterations; I would have paid half that at a tailor on NW 122nd. I won't divulge how much Alex, Victor and I spent on boys night out, but I will say this: SKYY BAR never set me back that much! (Although to be fair, we did hit three clubs, a lounge and a restaurant!)
Now there are benefits to living in NYC. Public transportation runs 24 hours a day and it's usually on time. Tons of things to do: plays, concerts, exhibits, restaurants, etc. And you don't need a car to get around (Remember what I said about public transportation?)
But all that convenience comes with a price.
I know you're probably thinking, ‘New York City is expensive! Duh! Who didn't know that?' I did, but maybe because I was living in the middle of the greatest city in the world, I didn't realize how expensive it actually is. My rent is half of what my sister pays. My monthly expenses are a fraction of what they would be in NYC, even with a car-a luxury I didn't have in the Big Apple.
What I did notice back in the 80s and 90s was that a lot of friends and family left NYC, moving mostly to the south. Although I moved to Savannah, Georgia after college, it was out of necessity than a need to retrofit my life. That was my first tv reporting job. At the time, I never understood why people with strong ties to NYC left the city. A character in a NYC-based sitcom once asked her friends, ‘I always wonder about those people who leave NYC. Where do they go?'
Answer: They've sought and found a simple life in surrounding states. My best friend Ted, a life-long NYC resident, moved to North Carolina about four years ago and has no regrets. Neither do I.
I'll always Manhattan (and Brooklyn!), but I've come to appreciate the simpler (and cheaper) life here in the Sooner State. And a slice of Falcone's Pizza (the best outside of NY) makes life here just a little more bearable.