It’s official — Sal and I are renewing our lease in Jackson Heights, staying here at least another year.
Believe it or not, that wasn’t a given.
I posted an April Fool’s Day prank about me moving out of NYC because I couldn’t afford to live here anymore… It was apparently pretty believable, as lots of friends expressed their sympathy or support. I think it was plausible because there was a lot of truth behind the lie.
Yes, living here is expensive. And yes, Sal having to work two part-time hourly jobs for us to keep up is difficult and risky. And even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, we were having serious conversations about whether we could realistically afford to continue like this.
A lot of math came into the equation… There are lots of financial factors affecting the pros and cons of each possible option.
Me living by myself in Charlotte doesn’t actually cost much less than me living with Sal in Jackson Heights. And moving away would be an expensive undertaking anyway. So moving back to Charlotte wouldn’t really be much of a cost savings. (There are other benefits to being back in Charlotte, but we’ll ignore those for this discussion.)
The nuclear option would be to pack up my personal effects, sell most if not all of the furniture, and move back to Florida. The house I grew up in is basically uninhabited, so I could move back there and only have to pay utilities. Not having to pay for rent would be terrific, and so would collecting a paycheck without a state (or city!) income tax. And again, plenty of other good benefits from living there, which we’ll also set aside for the moment.
It boils down to this, though: I don’t want to live anywhere else. At least, not right now… I’m enjoying the experience of living here. I like riding the subway. I like seeing lots of [often free] theatre. I like spending time with my NYC friends and making new ones.
And most of all, I like — no, love — living here with Sal, Puck, and Nala. Sure, on any given day one of them is driving me nuts, but home is where they are, at least as long as it’s financially possible. (Love don’t pay the bills, y’know.)
Jackson Heights is a great neighborhood, though I do wish that more of my New York friends lived conveniently close by. The rent is very reasonable (at NYC prices, anyway) for the space, I adore my home office, and the train options are very convenient for just about anywhere I’m going. Though we were open to the idea of a new place, we never found one that could compete with the price and characteristics of this one.
So you’re stuck with us, Jackson Heights. And New York, I’m not through with you yet.