Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another Reason to Hate NYC

Shoshana has one. I like the first two lines from the Times:
In Houston, $225,000 will buy a three-bedroom house with a game room, den, in-ground pool and hot tub.

In Manhattan, it will buy a parking space. No windows, no view. No walls.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.


  1. Can you get a mortgage on a parking space?

  2. Its the same as LA.

    The thing is, I would probably not want to move there even if I could afford a house there. The community is still growing. They probably have a couple of kosher restaurants and one school. In LA, even though I can't afford the luxery of my own house, there is a Jewish social life. The street has a whole bunch of kosher establishments, judaica and book stores. Synagogues line up the streets and you have different choices of where to send your kids to learn. So ya, I don't have a house, but I have a life. And I am pretty sure by the time there is a larger established Jewish community in Houston, the pricess of homes and schools are going to sky rocket, in which people are just going to move to other places.

  3. The price of the house has nothing to do with the amount of property value or Square footage you are getting. It's souly baseed on demand. Not a surprise that 1/4 mil will get you a nice crib in Houston and not much here in NY. On the flip side, salaries are much lower in Houston since the price of living is lower. A comparable job in NY that pays 100,000 a year might only pay 70,000 in Houston.

  4. Anon - Heh.

    HH - Houston is actually growing pretty nicely, and there's something to be said for not having a million shuls or schools - it forces schools to actually cater to more than one narrow style.

    That said, you should then consider places like Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago, Toronto... etc. They have all of what you mentioned at a fraction of the cost.

    Rea - Spoken like a true NYer.

    Sure, you'll only get $70k - and pay about 14k less in taxes, not have to worry about AMT, get a heck of a lot more for that $70k than for the $100k, not take an hour to get anywhere... basically, have a MUCH better quality of life.

    Heck, $100k in NYC doesn't even get you a parking space! :P

    Rea -

  5. Geez. My parents' house out in Yehuppitzville cost just more than half of what a parking space costs in Manhattan.

  6. Toronto...

    Better than NY but still not by much, this another high priced city to live in.

  7. Scraps - My parents' is less than half! (I think.)

    G - But it's in Canadian dollars, so it's like free. :P

  8. >it forces schools to actually cater to more than one narrow style.

    I dont't see that happeneing. For instance, you have a growing Jewish community west of Los Angeles. So far, all I know is that there is one chabad and one charedi high school. Do you think they cater to all? I mean, come on, this is the point people move to Israel. They want a Jewish social life. It can't happen with one shul, one school and one deli. Now even though the Valley has more than one, it still has a very pathetic Jewish social scene.

  9. Sure, you'll only get $70k - and pay about 14k less in taxes, not have to worry about AMT, get a heck of a lot more for that $70k than for the $100k, not take an hour to get anywhere... basically, have a MUCH better quality of life.

    Obviously people disagree or the housing wouldn't cost so much. It's simple supply and demand.

  10. So funny that they pick Houston. My good friends just moved there from Teaneck. 4 bedroom house (no pool, though) for like $200,000.

  11. I'm not arguing the supply and demand part.

    But I will still argue the quality of life part: You're assuming that people have the knowledge and understanding of economics around the country, along with quality of life, opportunity, and the like. You also have to factor in the most important factor: Stigma. We've heard the same joke all the time from people when people do comparisons: "Yeah, but it's (name a city)! [snicker]"

    This isn't a purely economic or quality of life comparison.

    As an important point, I'll add that I have *yet* to meet a couple married a couple of years or more who prefers NYC to "out of town" if they have lived in both. It's mostly a mindset among singles and younger couples that "NYC is so much fun", particularly because a lot of their friends are around. Once they wake up to the costs they're incurring, it's often too late - they're basically stuck unless they make a drastic life change, which is scary for most people. More importantly, many of them simply 'don't know any better'.

  12. Out of town is better than NY if you are talking about Chicago or LA....not Milawukee

  13. by the way
    just read through the beautiful descriptions of the 'friends' part of 'Serandez and friends'
    Extremely well written and immensely enjoyable..
    Makes one a proud part of Jblogsphere!

  14. Of course it's economic. You're just arguing that information costs are high. Perhaps that's true (although I don't think people need to understand economics to make these decisions).

    But first of all prices are not high because of Jews. Many, many people want to live here, and not because they were raised here. NY is a source of tons of jobs and people will pay to live close to work. For people who aren't religious Jews, there's also an unbeatable nightlife, especially if one isn't married. The entertainment here is second to none.

    For Orthodox Jews, there are huge benefits to living near a big Jewish community (take it from someone who has to walk a mile to catch a Maariv minyan). Most of the problems you have with NY are not issues for a lot of people. I grew up in Flatbush and could never live there, but many Brooklynites love it. They have no problem with the culture and participate in it freely.

    I'm not saying NY is the best place to live; far from it. I could easily imagine myself moving away. But there are many reasons why so many of the general population wants to live in NY, and it's not just because of high information costs. There are benefits here that are hard to find elsewhere.

  15. I disagree. These are anecdotes, but in lieu of data...

    A friend of my brother-in-law basically pulled the same argument Rea used above. My brother-in-law challenged him on it, and they decided to spend a few hours actually figuring everything out. They compared a $100,000 salary in NYC to a $50,000 salary in Baltimore, and found that the Baltimore family comes out AHEAD. More importantly, the average salary in Baltimore is not 50%, but rather 88% of New York. (According to him; I think it's slightly less than that.)

    I'm mostly referring to frum Jews, but even for those who are not, there's no real time for nightlife if you're married with kids.

    I don't think I ever said prices were high because of Jews; though I'll note that Jews from NY drive up prices elsewhere because they have no sense of what things are worth. Houses in Baltimore have been flying up in price because people put on a sticker price, expecting to negotiate, and NYers come and buy on the spot thinking they're getting a deal. (Again, lack of economic understanding.)

    I really don't think that people in NY have a good sense of just how much cheaper things are outside of NY. They also have no problem with most of the issues people like myself have with NY simply because they know no different. (Ignorance is bliss.) That's fine, I just think that anyone who does know or would know both would choose to live outside of it.

    I don't think that in the end, there are many benefits that you have in NY that you don't have elsewhere, particularly in a large frum community (Chicago, LA [cost still high], Baltimore, Miami, Cleveland are surely all included. Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis, Boca Raton, Pittsburgh, and others are a maybe). I think that that is a mantra that is drilled into people, and especially when they're 18-22 having a nice time in NYC, and never really challenged. After all, at that time of your life, it IS great. It's fun, there's stuff to do, you don't have responsibilities, Mommy and Daddy are paying most of the bills for most people... etc. What's not to love?

    In terms of most of the population of NYC, I think that the general population is made up of a lot of people for whom the cost is no matter; a whole lot who can't move no matter how much they want to; and a lot of people who love the nightlife. And very few in between. Also, thanks to things like rent control and other social programs, you have a lot of people who benefit way more than they would elsewhere. Heck, that's true for us: My wife could never make the money she does anywhere else doing Special Education.

    NYC obviously has its advantages, but I would love to get out of here as soon as the time is right. I think if people knew more, they'd agree.

  16. just read that in the morning paper.

    NY is a good place for a holiday cos it's that expensive to live there. and the car (and registration and insurance and maintenance for the car) to put in the space is already an expense.

  17. You know, I find it very interesting how non-NYers always complain about how expensive or how rude NY can be. Yet,they are the ones actively bashing the city.
    I happen to love living in Brooklyn, despite the cost.

  18. Heh. I kinda figured I'd get that comment sooner or later, Eees... :)

    I've written in the past about what there is to love, and what there is to hate, about NYC.

    While I'm curious if you've ever lived out of NYC as an adult for (say) 2 or more years, if you like it here, great! We actually do like KGH a lot, and consistently say that if we're stuck here, at least it's in KGH.

    Living in NYC is very frustrating, particularly if you're not from here. I don't find complaining about those frustrations to be rude; and yes, it is enjoyable to mock some of the stupidities, like a $225,000 parking spot.

    I *can* get into the really rude stuff, like the countless questions friends get about whether the wife is pregnant. And that's usually with a "yet" afterwards. (So far, I've heard this question asked or been told it's been asked I believe 8-9 times; every single time, it was a NYer asking the Q, and the non-NYers were appalled.) Or the ridiculous amount of shady business I see and hear about, which would simply not be accepted outside of NY. Or the attitudes people have in how they date, which is simply appalling... and unmatched outside of NY. [And as I wrote a while back, I can give good reasons why all these exist, too, and they're not necessarily because people are jerks. It's simply a fact of life here... and that's the problem.]

  19. Ezzie, the standard joke about the Canadian dollar being so much lower than the US dollar that things are "free" is slowly wearing away since the Can $ keeps on going up.

    Some are predicting it will be at par soon. That hasn't happened since before I was born.

    So, real estate prices being what they are in Toronto, I'll probably be able to afford my own house by the time I... hmm... by the time my kids move out of the house.

  20. Avrom - I know, I know... sad, really. But it's still funny among us non-Canadians. :P

  21. Ezzie,
    I've never lived in Manhattan, too busy for me..too crowded..too, well, not me. Its Brooklyn I happen to love. Queens scares me. I am completely flabbergasted by how a location can have 3 or 4 different but similar sounding street names (e.g Names such as "State Street", "State Avenue",
    "State Place". How are you suppossed to find your way around??)I absolutely hate being lost, and Queens + Eeees is a recipe for disaster.
    Another thing that I found so difficult about living out of Brooklyn used to be the lack of public transportation. Before I got my driver's licence, I thoroughly relied upon the MTA in order to get around. In many of these "out of town" places, I was told that reliable public transportation is all but a myth. Why would I ever want to strand myself such? (Ok, more recently, I will admit mentioning to the Wolf that I would consider moving to Baltimore because they seemed like such nice people...and had a decent Shabbos eruv!(..and didn't scare me like Queens))
    OK, I completely agree with you in regards to charging what would feed a third world country for a month for a parking spot. I also think that its a horrible thing, but that doesn't mean you have to do it (TAKE A BUS OR TRAIN!) A person that tries to take advantage of the stupid people in the world isn't very nice, but also isn't native to only NY. There are plenty of out of town places that have overcharged customers who are desperately in need of whatever is being sold.
    Another thing about "out of town" that disturbs me is the lack of proper street signs. I guess that this should have been included next to the "hate to be lost" portion of this answer. Why is it that street signs in places other than NY are non-existant or so miniscule that they might as well be? They really should be larger and more "tourist friendly", but aren't. At least in Brookln and Manhattan they expect visitors. Why do the "nicer out of towners" not?
    I think that inconsiderate people that ask if your "wife is pregnant YET" are disgusting, but also not exclusive to NY. I know that Wolf and I would never go and ask someone that, and I'm sure that there are many other NYers who have similar common sense and decency for every one of the rude ones that you've met
    . That's one of the nice things about NY- the diversity that you find. I feel sorry for you having met so many rude NYers, that you completely believe the stereotype.(Incidentally, I really hate people who feel that they have a right to touch a pregnant woman's belly as well! )
    I like the fact that, as a Jew living in NY, I have never been asked about my "horns". I can't say the same for when I was out of town years ago. We were on our way to Florida for Pesach, and I was shocked that someone asked my younger brother if he had horns under his kippah and whether they would be allowed to see them. You just don't get that living in NY!
    I guess I'm just naive, but I'm not quite sure about the "shady business" you are referring to, but I don't think that *EVERYONE* in NY is underhanded or deceitful.
    As far at the dating attitudes go, I have heard my fair share of really stupid people's dating guidelines (ie. only size 2 girls, no red heads, big bank accounts, you name it). I can't really speak from a great deal of experience, as I only dated my Wolf, but I agree with you that those things are out of hand here. Personally, I think that the whole concept of shidduch dating stinks, but I guess that's because I was lucky enough to avoid it all together. I don't think that I would ever judge a person's suitability for marriage based on their monetary assets. Neither Wolf or I come from wealthy families, but we both come from from nice ones. :) My
    Wolf proposed to me without a real engagement ring (He did provide a candy one! :)) and I never expected him to buy me a ring that, if sold, would feed Uganda. In fact, the ring that he gave me was actually comprised of small diamonds that had come from a ring that his mother had given him (her engagement ring, she's divorced, and the ring he had redesigned just for me. I actually found it even more special because I find her to be a very special person as well!
    I guess that when they handed out the "HOW TO BE A NYer" pamphlet, we kinda missed the boat.

  22. Eees - Queens isn't so bad once you get to know it, but yes - it was clearly designed by a drunk.

    Once you're out of NYC, you don't need public transportation. There's no traffic, you have more money, so you get a car and drive!

    Most cities I've been in have reliable eruvin... wait, that's right, Brooklyn doesn't! Why would anyone want to spend their Shabbos trapped inside if they have young kids!? That makes no sense.

    I think your experience in Baltimore is part of my point. Were you to spend a nice amount of time there, I think you'd find that you're so much calmer/happier/relaxed/economically sound than in Brooklyn. It's like I was saying to Nephtuli - people in NYC just don't really know anything other than what they've lived.

    I didn't say that all "OOTers" are perfect or that all NYC people are jerks. It's that the percentages are heavier in one than the other for each. It's not that all people are asking if our friends' wives are pregnant, or that people who work with my wife will ask her if she is... it's that there are ANY such people. I've *never* heard a Q like that outside of New York.

    As for the street signs... I think there's a lot better feel to live on a street with a real name than on a number and letter. You just feel like you're living in a big numbered grid (well, you are) instead of a community with streets. It's part of that same mentality.

    I think you'll find that OOT communities are a lot more "tourist friendly" than anywhere in NY. It's not the street signs which make a place friendly. :)

    I basically only dated Serach and skipped the whole shidduch scene anyway, but the stuff we hear - not just stories from friends, but what friends "want"! - is disgusting. And a lot of the attitude is NY in nature, particularly in terms of actually doing anything that requires effort. Anything that does - a little bit of a car ride, etc. - is "eh, not worth it, I'll just date someone else".

    I don't think everyone in NY is underhanded either; but people here are *open* about shady business they do, how they scam certain things, etc. When we were looking for an apartment, people had no problem informing us that "for $2k in cash, we could get moved up to the top of a list" or lying to us about how much we need to give in security and not telling us until we were about to sign - when it was too late to find anything else and we had to move out of our old place. Or a good, honest friend who just admitted that they did something that's completely illegal because they needed the hundreds of dollars and who cares (...something that "everyone does"). It's really sick.

    I proposed with a foil bracelet (yeah, yeah, I need to continue a certain series...). :)

    I really think y'all missed the boat on how to be NYers. Good for you!! :)

    I think you'd LOVE it outside of NYC. You should try it sometime. :P

  23. Ezzie wrote: "As for the street signs... I think there's a lot better feel to live on a street with a real name than on a number and letter. You just feel like you're living in a big numbered grid (well, you are) instead of a community with streets."

    Here, here. And I think you have it the worst in Queens where there are Streets, Terraces, and Aves. with numbers (as opposed to having just st. and ave. as in Brooklyn).

    Here's one thing I can figure out though. Even though in Toronto and surrounding area we ususally don't have numbered streets, there is a 14th Ave. in Richmond Hill (north of TO). But there is no 1st to 13th. Go figure.

  24. Dear NY,

    It could never have worked out. It's not you, it's me.


    E. & S. Goldish
    --this has already been stamped and postmarked, all that's left is to mail it away. Do it, do it for the kids.

  25. Ezzie, it's funny you mention Houston. My wife kept telling me that her sister was looking and talking about what you could get for your money. Depending on your line of work Ny offers quite a bit of opportunities that other cities don't. Then again if you have your own business and it's web based it doesn't really matter were you live, you'll probably make the same dollar.

  26. Do you mean that people would actually move from a fantastic out of town community to "rude NY" for its employment opportunities?????????
    Inconceivable! ;)

  27. G - ROTFL. Soon soon... :)

    JBM, Eees - I think that long-term, whatever "better" employment opportunities NY has end up not being worth it do to the much higher cost of living.