90 Days and Counting: Moving to New York
20 March 2012 — Manhattan, Kansas
New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about it — once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enoughJohn Steinbeck
Only ninety days are left until we trade one Manhattan for another. I’ll be acting as a sort of scouting party while she stays back to finish up her Master’s. A friend that lives up there has graciously offered his couch as a base of operations while I continue the process of finding gainful employment (preferably that doesn’t require a nearly religious daily shaving routine) and a place for us to hang our hats. We’ve got a lot to do in between then and now — downsizing and packing are clear winners on the list of “Most Time Consuming.” The challenge of tackling all the details just adds to the sense of excitement, however, we’ll see if I feel the same way once the countdown reaches something like thirty days.
Why New York?
There are several factors that influenced our decision to call New York our next home. The biggest three were New York’s vibrant and growing technology and startup environment, the relative abundance of musical opportunities, and in the end, the siren call of a city we both love. It wasn’t an easy decision, of course, and we wrestled back and forth about where to go. In the end, though, we kept coming back to New York.
Tech and Startups
There are several cities around the US that you might mention in the context of a vibrant and growing tech and startup scene1 (Austin, Boston, SF, Portland, Seattle, Boulder etc). Some of these are a little more developed than others, and each of them offers its own unique characteristics. People debate almost ad about where New York ranks in this list and whether the tech/startup industry can lure enough talent away from the financial services and consulting industries in New York. I don’t have the answers to either of those questions, but in the end, I decided that I was happy with where the industry seemed to be right now and excited about the direction it seems to be going. Honorable Mentions: San Francisco and Austin
If you’ve spent much time browsing around the site (honestly, any time at this point), then you probably know that my wife is a classically trained singer. Her Master’s is in Music Education and she really loves teaching children about music and singing, however she has always wanted to try her hand at singing professionally as well. This played just as big a role in our decision-making process as the tech/startup scene did, and just like tech, there are several cities across the country that present plentiful chances to succeed in this arena. Of course, none of them seems to offer quite the level of opportunity as New York. Honorable Mentions: Boston and San Francisco
The Siren Song
At this point, we had really narrowed the intersection of our lists to two cities: New York and San Francisco. That is, by all accounts, a tough decision and it was one that we spent several weeks flip-flopping on. The tie-breaker came in the fashion of a good ol’ gut feeling. We both love New York2. When it came down to brass tacks, we both have wanted to live there, at least for a time, since we were young. While lists of pros and cons can go a long way in trying to make a decision, I’ve always found that in the end it typically comes to simply picking an option. There is rarely an absolute best option and often times, analysis paralysis keeps people from doing anything at all. We didn’t want that to happen to us, so we went with our gut and decided on New York.
Ninety, Eighty-Nine, Eighty-Eight
Once we’d made the decision, we almost immediately began broadcasting it to friends and family to create a bit of momentum and pressure to continue and follow through. This has worked so far and we’ve both become more and more excited as the days pass. The pressures of finding jobs, moving, and establishing ourselves in a new place are real, but for now, we can’t wait to call New York our home.
1. I hate using this term but always have trouble coming up with a better yet still concise way of relating the ideas it encompasses.
2. To be fair, she loves SF too and I've never been. Maybe that makes it an unfair comparison. Sue me.