Last week I dropped in on a little neighborhood party where I met a nice young family who were about to leave Brooklyn. They live (or rather, lived) very close to us, which means they were in the PERFECT family neighborhood: right next to a library, a school, a playground, a pizza place, an ice cream shop, a dance studio, a sweet little wine shop, a coffee shop, a gourmet takeout shop, and, hello - Prospect Park. All those things are a few short blocks from each other, with an F/G subway stop smack in the middle of them - twenty minutes to Manhattan going one way, twenty minutes to Coney Island going the other. Why would anyone leave?
Turned out they were tired of how expensive everything is here. They felt like their money was spent before they even earned it. They wanted to drive to a grocery store, park in a driveway, and be near family who will babysit for free. They crowed about moving to a house (a real house, with a yard and a pool) that costs less than half their Brooklyn rent. They said that life here was just too hard. I smiled sympathetically, but inside I was screaming, "Yes, but you are in NEW YORK CITY! You'll have a house and a pool and you won't have to step around dog piss every day or ride the train with schizophrenics or smell the garbage baking on the curb in the morning, but you won't be in New York! You'll be in the middle of NOWHERE!" The place they are moving, as far as I know, is mostly renowned for snake handlers and incest. (Oh fine - I guess it has pretty countryside - that sort of thing is lost on me. I always think a serial killer will get me when I go to the country, and there will be no one to hear me scream.)