A beautiful piece by Jacob Harris, one that makes clear why my little hamlet of Beacon NY is quickly being filled by Brooklynites with an escape plan.
Jacob Harris, On Leaving New York
Every New Yorker has an escape plan.
Scratch that. It isn’t true. If you are young or wealthy or lucky enough to have gotten something when the getting was good, you probably don’t have an escape plan (except for, of course, a zombie apocalypse plan; everybody has one of those). But among the parents we knew in Park Slope, it was a common enough discussion that my wife and I would knowingly glance at each other whenever it came up, at playdates and picnics and even parties when all the kids were home in bed.
Many of the parents we knew carried a secret desperation. Middle-class enough they had some control over their fates, but not so rich that they could do much better than the tiny railroad apartments they rented in the South Slope, it was easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed and just barely keeping the ship afloat. Talking about your Plan was a way of reasserting that you were in control. Sure, your neighbor might be an uptight asshole who leaves passive-aggressive notes on your stroller. And you might have had it up to herewith the stress of not knowing yet if your kid has a spot in kindergarten next Fall. The Plan is one way of coping – drinking was another – a way of telling yourself and an uncaring city that you were in charge of your own destiny.
Some of us planned to move deeper into Brooklyn, following the prior waves of gentrification to Sunset Park, Midwood, even Bay Ridge (Queens was surprisingly never an option). Others considered the suburbs of New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, even Connecticut. Still others had ambitious plans to further optimize their already tight living spaces or somehow find another place in the right school districts. Everyone had a Plan, but it was still rare and shocking when someone we knew actually left.
Until, one day that was us.
It’s a lovely piece. It makes me want to write my first Medium post.