NYC Is Dead Forever… Here’s Why

“NYC has experienced worse,” they say. No it hasn’t.

By James Altucher and cross-posted from his blog.

I love NYC. When I first moved to NYC, it was a dream come true. Every corner was like a theater production happening right in front of me. So much personality, so many stories.

Every subculture I loved was in NYC. I could play chess all day and night. I could go to comedy clubs. I could start any type of business. I could meet people. I had family, friends, opportunities. No matter what happened to me, NYC was a net I could fall back on and bounce back up.

Now it’s completely dead.

“But NYC always always bounces back.” No. Not this time.

“But NYC is the center of the financial universe. Opportunities will flourish here again.” Not this time.

“NYC has experienced worse.” No it hasn’t.

A Facebook group formed a few weeks ago that was for people who were planning a move and wanted others to talk to and ask advice from. Within two or three days it had about 10,000 members.

Every day I see more and more posts, “I’ve been in NYC forever but I guess this time I have to say goodbye.” Every single day I see those posts. I’ve been screenshotting them for my scrapbook.

Three of the most important reasons to move to NYC:

  • Business opportunities
  • Culture
  • Food

And, of course, friends. But if everything I say below is even 1/10 of what I think, then there won’t be as many opportunities to make friends.

A) Business

Midtown Manhattan, the center of business in NYC, is empty. Even though people can go back to work, famous office buildings like the Time-Life skyscraper are still 90% empty. Businesses have realized that they don’t need their employees at the office.

In fact, they’ve realized they are even more productive with everyone at home. The Time-Life Building can handle 8,000 workers. Now it maybe has 500 workers back.

“What do you mean?” a friend of mine said to me when I told him Midtown should be called Ghost Town. “I’m in my office right now!”

“What are you doing there?”

“Packing up,” he said and laughed, “I’m shutting it down.” He works in the entertainment business.

Another friend of mine works at a major investment bank as a managing director. Before the pandemic, he was at the office every day, sometimes working from 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Now he lives in Phoenix, Arizona. “As of June,” he told me, “I had never even been to Phoenix.” And then he moved there. He does all his meetings on Zoom.

I was talking to a book editor who has been out of the city since early March. “We’ve been all working fine. I’m not sure why we would need to go back to the office.”

One friend of mine, Derek Halpern, was convinced he’d stay. He put up a Facebook post the other day saying he might be changing his mind. Derek wrote:

“In the last week:

  • I watched a homeless person lose his mind and start attacking random pedestrians. Including spitting on, throwing stuff at, and swatting.
  • I’ve seen several single parents with a child asking for money for food. And then, when someone gave them food, tossed the food right back at them.
  • I watched a man yell racist slurs at every single race of people while charging, then stopping before going too far.

 

And worse.

I’ve been living in New York City for about 10 years. It has definitely gotten worse and there’s no end in sight.

My favorite park is Madison Square Park. About a month ago a 19-year-old girl was shot and killed across the street.

I don’t think I have an answer but I do think it’s clear: it’s time to move out of NYC.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. In my building alone, the rent has plummeted almost 30% — more people are moving away than ever before.

So…

It’s not goodbye yet. But a lifelong New Yorker is thinking about it.”

I picked his post out but I could’ve picked from dozens of others.

People say, “NYC has been through worse,” or “NYC has always come back.”

No and no

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