When leaving NYC, the most common question I fielded was, "What are you going to miss?" It came up with almost the same frequency as, "Why did you decide to move?" In answering that question dozens of times, I found that I really didn’t have anything of weight to say. Most of the venues and record stores and shops I found an identity in shuttered to make room for more lucrative, impersonal businesses. The New York I loved began to morph into something unrecognizable, and it was a change I couldn’t appreciate. I say that free of totalities -- NYC is a lovely place. I’m just not in love with it anymore. In Philadelphia, the art energy that initially drew me to NYC remains tactfully preserved, even reenergized. I can still write here, and I’ve been doing some of the best work of my career here because of it.
When you leave New York, an interesting phenomenon happens. Right before your impending departure, things slow down. I’m far from the only one to have this realization. You stop running for the train. You embrace the calm between the one you missed and the four minutes before its successor arrives. You’ll still parade down the sidewalk with the same unjustifiable energy, but you catch yourself slowing for upward glances -- usually a dead giveaway for a tourist. If you’re lucky, the deceleration will act like real-time memory formation, an out-of-body experience that reminds you why you called this place home -- the endless opportunities of NYC, the inaccessibility of them, the frustration and beauty and anxiety of that duality -- and why it’s time to get the hell out.