Leaving New York City for Long Island
Updated: Jul 7
After enjoying the benefits of the vibrant and bustling city of New York for many years I have lost track of the number of times I have been asked if leaving New York City for Long Island is a good choice. As New York City grows bigger and prices rising all over the city, Long Island realtors, myself included, have witnessed a consistent departure from New York City to the Suburbs of Long Island. Currently, there is no other concrete data available to show how many residents have left the city permanently due to the pandemic. In March alone, there was a 256% increase in people moving out of the city compared to the same month last year.
I fully believe the distribution of a vaccine will ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, I also believe the city will suffer greatly from the losses created by the pandemic and I do not expect it to fully bounce back in the next year or two. There are some New York City diehards; But many people are interested in finding a safe and secure town to raise their family and step away from the congestion of the city, especially throughout this pandemic. If so, they are most likely considering a move to Long Island. Although the real estate taxes between the two are similar; income tax, schooling, and auto insurance are all more expensive in New York City compared to Long Island.
Life in the Suburbs
Although living in the suburbs, one of the benefits of living on Long Island is you are still close to New York City. This means you can continue to enjoy the outstanding shows, phenomenal shopping, and numerous types of restaurants that are unique to the city. If you are among the 62,700 workers in the entertainment, arts, or Broadway industries or the 119,000 restaurant employees that have lost their jobs to the pandemic; Long Island might be your ideal option considering the different restrictions outside the city lines. You may also be among the many individuals now able to work from home which makes your location almost irrelevant in regards to employment.
If you intend to return to your previous employment, you will be required to wear a mask and adhere to the six-foot social distancing rule. This means companies will require larger spaces for fewer employees. Unfortunately, most businesses in the city will be unable to accommodate the additional expense due to the lack of space. If you are one of the lucky few to retain your employment, you can save money while enjoying a better quality of life by living in the suburbs and “telecommuting”. If you work at home, you will have much more time to yourself without the headaches of commuting.
Benefits of Life on Long Island
Living on Long Island enables you to trade a small apartment for a much larger home with a yard in the front and back for the same or less money. Leaving New York city becomes much easier once you realize how much space you may gain. On average, individuals relocating to the suburbs gain an extra 494 feet of space as opposed to living in the city. Your cost per square foot decreases and your living space is much lighter especially with all the greenery Long Island has to offer. Whether or not you would enjoy living in a larger home is a decision only you can make. One downside would be the need for an automobile to get from one place to another considering how spread out everything is.
If you enjoy nature, Long Island is ideal, many of the parks offer paths for walking or riding a bike in addition to beaches and lush forests. A recent study showed individuals making consistent contact with nature are less stressed with a positive effect on imagination, attention, purpose, and memory; this may also benefit your productivity and work ethic. If you spend a minimum of two hours every week experiencing nature, your chance for psychological well-being, and good health increase. I know many people, including clients of mine, that are stressed by the hectic pace of the city who found comfort in the less congested, quieter, and more relaxing streets of Long Island.
If you have a dog, Long Island opens many new possibilities. Imagine the reaction of your furry friend when you go for a walk or run through the neighborhood or woods instead of walking around the block on the concrete sidewalks. The suburbs allow your pet to smell the grass, play in a backyard, and enjoy the extra space you have gained. You will decrease the risk of your dog becoming overweight and the destructive habits often due to boredom and confinement. A dog living in the suburbs is generally less stressed, happier, and has fewer behavioral issues.
You can escape the crowds by moving to Long Island. As much as I love New York City, I admit I become frustrated at times due to long lines at restaurants and crowded subways. There are fewer people on Long Island than in New York City. According to the census, there are over 27,000 people for every square mile in New York City. Living with this many people is common for major cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles. Long Island is quieter, peaceful, and more serene. Loud neighbors coming home from a party and garbage trucks rattling by your window become a thing of the past when living in your own home on Long Island. I know a lot of people who left the city not realizing how quiet it would be. After living in the city for a while, going to sleep to the sounds of sirens, shouting and traffic become intolerable. Living in the suburbs means you can go to sleep peacefully without constant noise. I have to admit one of the things I would not miss about New York City is the smell of the trash. Anyone who has ever lived in the city knows exactly what I am talking about. Long Island replaces the smell of garbage with the sweetness of nature.
Grocery shopping in Long Island is a whole new world compared to the city, nobody was visually stressed, rushing, or running in circles. In the city, you will find that squeezing past people in bad moods, tiny isles, and the inevitable poking is an everyday experience. And, many times you may even be forced to leave without everything needed because it was not in stock or too crowded in the store. Many of the grocery stores in the suburbs are well organized, spacious and rarely appeared to be out of stock. You will find yourself visiting some of the stores you avoided in the city due to thick crowds and long lines. The best part is your groceries will cost a lot less. Instead of going to the supermarket every week then attempting to make it home without dropping anything, you can simply drive to the store every two to three weeks; and stock up with everything you need thanks to all the new storage space you have. This enables you to buy what you need in bulk at places like Costco and Bj’s to save even more money in addition to valuable time. The average family living in New York spends approximately $9,000 more per year on groceries than families living on Long Island.
There are many great attractions and amenities that are always improving throughout Long Island. A great example is the Old Westbury Gardens mansion, the culture was impressive. Long Island offers numerous cultural sites and attractions including castles, Museums, and beautiful historic mansions. One area I visited was filled with restaurants, a speakeasy, and a lot of places to stop for snacks late at night. The corned beef sandwich I had was as good as any I have ever enjoyed in the city, but we did not have to wait in line to be served. As I watch people fleeing from the city due to the pandemic, I expect a lot more amenities, retail businesses, attractions, and restaurants to appear in Long Island. I'm not sure how many people are commuting from Long Island to New York City, but I believe the number is fairly high.
I have many friends that commute to the city on a relaxing LIRR train ride and they simply read and prepare for the workday; Depending on how far east you reside on the island will directly affect your train ride time. When on the subway it's nearly impossible to read or relax. When comparing the subway vs. The LIRR you will spend about the same amount of time commuting to work. I will admit the subway is stressful despite the convenience. If you work from home or find local employment, you can eliminate the need for a commute entirely.
After hearing many remarks about his move, my friend said something I am still trying to process. He explained how he can still enjoy great food and nightlife without waiting in line and his kids and pets have more safety and freedom than ever before. He said in the meantime he would not consider moving back to New York City and only misses the bustle occasionally. He described feeling calmer, happier, more rested than before. I am not saying moving from New York City to Long Island is the right choice for everyone. That is something you need to decide for yourself.