On Moving (Up, Out, On?)

new york city skyline in the morning

Look at that skyline.

Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve had this weird mental block about living in New Jersey (it’s just… not New York). Which is strange, because I know plenty of people who live in New Jersey. And I just think of it as another place to live if you spend a lot of time working in New York. It’s not Manhattan, but neither are Brooklyn, Queens, Connecticut…

So. I’m spending the next year in New Jersey. And I think it’s going to be great.

It’s a little bit frightening, leaving New York. I’m moving in with a good friend of mine from college. We’re planning on exploring a new area (need to find the coffee) and brunching in the West Village as usual. And with all the money we’ll be saving, we might even get a Vitamix.

I really thought we were going to end up in Brooklyn, but this time of year the prices and availability were a huge problem. So I’ll be living in a very modern apartment with a large kitchen (!) and an actual living room instead of a converted. I actually love to cook and lately I’ve been sad that it’s been difficult for me. Also, one of my New Year’s resolutions is not to have any more $13 kale salads for lunch. That just seems wasteful.

I loved my first very official apartment so much when I first moved in. I still love it for many reasons (you still can’t find a better, nicer one for this price), but I’ve also noticed what I don’t love about it, too (notably the 10 month-long ceiling leak that caused our bathroom to flood constantly). It’ll be strange to leave my neighborhood-of-many-years behind. I love the vibrancy and energy, but truthfully I’ve been generally unhappy for several months now.

I’m getting older, and I think living with so many roommates has gotten tiring for me. So has our very very small kitchen. And it seems I have so little time— I can’t even enjoy my neighborhood or see my friends because I’m so busy throughout the week… and then I’m so tired on the weekends that I hide in my bedroom for most of the day.

The day we applied for the apartment, my college friend was the first person I’d seen in a week who wasn’t a coworker or my usual barista.

I spent four glittering, all-day brunching, all-night partying years in Manhattan. But I’m closer to thirty than twenty these days. I’ve known how I wanted to spend my twenties since I was still in grade school. Verdict: my grade school, high school and college self would be proud. I did a good job of it.

Seems like it’s past time to find out how I want to spend my thirties. I’m not sure how that will be, but increasingly I think that it is not what I wanted for my twenties. (Seriously, just no.)

Leaving Manhattan is scary. But everything is going to be okay. In fact, it’ll be better than okay.

Everything is going to be great.


  1. says

    Love this post, congrats on the new apartment. I know what you mean about anywhere that isn’t Manhattan not being Manhattan but there is something to be said for room and less roommates!! xoxo

  2. says

    KITCHEN KITCHEN KITCHEN I am so excited for you to have a larger kitchen.

    I’ve never lived in a city where apartment-hunting is super cutthroat–the closest was Santa Cruz, because of all the wealthy college students–and moving is already SO EXHAUSTING. (This is part of what keeps me from seriously considering San Francisco as an option.) I hope the transition is going well! I’ve never been to either state, so it all sounds cool to me.

  3. says

    I think you are totally on the right path and growing up. I had friend that lived in Jersey and as long as it is commuting distance I think the added space, modern approach and peace and quite will more then make up for what you are losing.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

  4. Mili says

    As a native New Jersian, I can say I’m sure you’ll love living in NJ :) I know there are a ton of bridge and tunnel jokes and what not, but it’s got its perks too! And depending on where you live, the commute is oh so easy– thank you nj transit :) Good luck with the move!


  5. says

    This is a lovely accounting of your last decade and how you are changing and maturing.
    Change is hard, but it is easier that being frustrated and not living up to your potential. I think your choice of this new place is wonderful , giving you rom to grow, and live like an adult .
    My sister lives in New Jersey . It is not scary . I do not know why that state has a bad rap..the skyline and commute to the city is great, and many cities are awesome.
    I wanted to love in Montclair NJ , when hubby and I left Manhattan , with two toddlers.
    We ended up in westchester, but I am so glad we are now back NYC.
    I ,,too, would have been quite happy in NJ.
    It’s a terrible shame that the prices of New York, including Brooklyn and Astoria, has gotten so very high.

    You are going to an exciting new place and I can’t wait to hear all about it.!!
    Xx, Elle

    • says

      I always appreciate your comments so much, Elle! I like a good dinner and late night of conversation, but lately I have been thinking that the 4 a.m. nights should be reserved for special occasions. When half of your sentences start beginning with “I’m too old for…” then you know it’s time for a change.

      The cost of my new apartment would be double in New York (possibly more). Eek! It’s just too much. I think I will find myself living in New York again, but for now I’ll enjoy the quiet life.

  6. says

    There are so many trade offs for living in the city, and I think that you took advantage of your 20’s and city life and did it to the fullest. Honestly, whenever I fantasize about living in the city I never think about the tiny kitchens, the crazy rents, the 6th floor walk ups or the necessary roommates.

    New Jersey is the apartment fantasy of New York (does that make sense… it’s late)

    good luck with your new apartment and adventure! I’m sure you are 100% right – it’s going to be great!

    • says

      I didn’t even know sixth floor walk-ups existed until I started looking for an apartment again. They do exist, and people do want them desperately. Five floors is intense, but I’m not sure I could do six. I can’t even imagine moving like that…

      It’s a little less expensive to live in New Jersey for a lot more, and don’t even get me started on the broker fees in Brooklyn these days… ugh.

      Hope to see you soon! When it’s warmer. And we can go outside without worrying about the ice.

  7. says

    Lovely post Alex! I hope everything went smoothly with the move. Apologies that I wasn’t able to come get that red coat, but I’m sure I’ll see you soon. Also, your new place sounds great. A large kitchen?! So jealous :)