I almost moved to Florida this week. Like most New Yorkers, I have a love-hate relationship with The City. I have a nice enough apartment, large by New York standards. It has a real kitchen, not a fridge/stove/sink slapped along one wall of the living room, and a nice balcony, big enough for a couple of chairs and a grill. I even have a parking space in the basement. But I’m not in Manhattan. Anything remotely resembling my apartment would rent for at least four thousand a month in Manhattan and that’s just not in my price range.
And now it’s winter. Cold, grey, lonely, depressing winter. It’s still summer in Fort Lauderdale. That’s where I am right now, sitting by the pool at the guest house. The rents are cheap down here. I found a really nice 2-story townhouse with two bedrooms and two full baths that rents for $200 less than my one bedroom apartment in Queens. The kitchen is beautiful – all granite and stainless steel and recessed lighting. The best part about this townhouse is the large multi-level private deck which fronts on a canal. It’s a five minute walk to all the action on Wilton Drive. I could really see myself living in this townhouse. I could really see my cats spending a lazy afternoon fishing in the canal.
But picking up and moving from New York to Florida involves a lot more than real estate decisions. As I stood on the marble floor of my prospective new living room trying to decide if I should take the plunge or not, I realized that this was one of those moments when you have to confront who you are. Am I a New Yorker? What does that mean? Would I be any happier here than I am currently? What about my friends? What about the summer? It’s unbearably hot and humid in Florida in the summer. On the other hand, I’ve found myself in a rut lately. Sure New York has a lot to offer, but I rarely take advantage of it anymore. Couldn’t I just as easily sit around doing nothing in Florida? For far less money? And have a really nice home in which I enjoyed doing nothing?
The agent waited patiently for me to say something. I had to get off the fence. I had to make a decision. To my astonishment, I heard myself say that I’d take it. I felt good that I was about to start a new chapter in my life. The next few weeks would be hell of course. So many details to take care of. And moving. Who enjoys packing and moving? But I made the choice and now it was time to set things in motion.
Or so I thought. The next day the agent called to inform me that despite having signed a contract and making a substantial deposit, the owner had decided to rent to someone else. I was annoyed. I was relieved. I had come so close to saying goodbye to New York. How could I have contemplated such a silly thing?
It’s a beautiful day in Lauderdale today. Sunny with a few puffy clouds. Warm, but a delicious breeze singing through the palm trees. I fly home tomorrow. Back to the Big Apple. It will be cold. It will be grey. It might be depressing but at least I won’t have to pack.