Thursday, February 26, 2009
A BROOKLYN STATE OF MIND
Two friends of mine have made what they describe as the most difficult decisions of their lives. They're leaving Brooklyn to pursue their hopes, dreams and affordable housing elsewhere. One of my buds, Phil, left about a year ago to hang his hat in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. He's married with a kid and a talented construction worker. Phil works, but he also left without having a job lined up in his new city.
Same for my friend Tom. He's packing up his bags and leaving Brooklyn in July for a new life in Hollywood, Florida. He says you can get a nice house down there for under $100,000. For that price, you can get a nice parking space in New York City. He's in the air conditioning business and he's a stand-up comic, so I suppose it makes sense he picked a hot place. Hell, he could have joined Phil in Phoenix with that type of profession.
Tom has told me several times, he could never see himself leaving Brooklyn. Like many others, he's discovered Brooklyn has a pulse and a vibe like no other. When people in New York talk about their neighborhoods, you never hear them exude pride like they do in Brooklyn. People aren't feeling the love in Queens or Staten Island, although some offer that sort of emotion for the Bronx.
Moving is a life changing decision. You know, I have a lot of shit. Furniture, knick knacks, the kind of stuff you accumulate over years. The thought of packing that all up and moving to a foreign land is daunting. New friends, new hang outs, new schools for the kids, a new life. But, we are in remarkable times. Not since the Great Depression have we felt this way. There's not a single person on this planet who now doesn't know someone who was laid off because of the economy.
Barack Obama's economic stimulus package probably won't do much for me. I can't collect unemployment because I'm making more than the 400 some dollars the government gives you for being out of work. I can get a tax break if I buy a home, but at the prices in New York, I can't afford a new house. Like my two friends, I struggle. But, I also wonder. Should I pack up my bags and move to a place like Arizona or Florida where the cost of living is cheaper and the opportunities, perhaps, greater. I haven't come to that decision yet. I hope I never do.