You Do Not Owe Staying to a Failed City

{{Title link: }}


I mean, I’m primarily leaving because of the rents, with a secondary helping of excessive low level disorder and general shittiness. but the coronavirus response makes clear that neither the government nor the people is able to make anything better.

at this point the primary argument in favor of sticking it out a bit is that I think new york got rolled hard enough on the first wave that we won’t have a substantial second one. but I was planning on this being my last year and I don’t think I’ll change that.

I enjoyed living here, and I’m glad I moved to new york when I did. but it’s time to go.




where are you planning on heading?

that’s the big q! I’m almost certainly staying in the US long term – all of my friends and family are here and it’s still the richest place on the earth, despite its various problems – so that narrows the options a lot. I’m getting to the point in life where I’m about ready to settle down, so ideally wherever I move is a strong contender for decades of residence.

I want to live near at least a mid size city, because I enjoy the products of modern civilization. on the east coast, the only city with a climate that is even borderline habitable is Boston.

the west coast is about to fall into the ocean but with some forethought it seems reasonable to bet on it staying attached for 30 years. and they have great weather patterns, so that’s the vague direction of attention. I have gut feelings about west coast cities but honestly should do some more research.

tbh I really wish america had a city that had tall buildings, decent weather, and wasn’t totally falling apart, but it really doesn’t. actually not sure if there are any cities in the world that meet all three criteria tbh



there are no cities in america that meet all three criteria, but there are plenty of cities in europe that do. if you relax your definition of “tall”. western europe isn’t a good long-term bet, but bremen has tallish buildings and decentish weather – it still gets too hot sometimes, but it’s not as bad as boston, which despite being so far north by american standards (it’s actually on about the same latitude as istanbul and madrid) gets hellish in the summer – and isn’t falling apart yet.

i don’t know what a good place would be for long-term settlement. in the absence of a better idea i’m inclined to stay in the still-habitable parts of the mid-atlantic – somewhere between martinsburg and westminster, probably. but given indefinite time and funds to investigate places to move, and safe air travel, i’d probably want to check out, like, boise.

if it doesn’t sound bad, it probably is bad – the point is that generic urbanites should stay out. many fleeing californians, new yorkers, etc. won’t learn from their mistakes, and will push for the same damn things in texas and virginia. some people who really ought to know better fled to austin, and i’ll try to be polite about it when they flee again.



if you relax your definition of “tall”. western europe isn’t a good long-term bet

yeah, I’m prepared to do this, since America only has two cities with tall buildings and they’re both falling apart and have subpar climates. north/western europe has good weather – it is the environment for which this particular ape is adapted. the problem with europe is money – afaict if I lived there I should expect a much lower salary and a generally lower standard of living. having lots of money lets you buy your way out of a lot of social problems, so I’d rather just do that and also live within a couple time zones of my friends and family.

boston, which despite being so far north by american standards (it’s actually on about the same latitude as istanbul and madrid)

Fake, Madrid is closer to parallel with New York. for Boston a better parallel would be Sofia or Bishkek


if you think Boston is hellish in the summer I’ve got bad news for you about the entire continental interior. Boise’s not too humid in summer so I guess you can go outside at night, but you might want to look further north

anyway long term settlement isn’t real. ruining a place is a long term process, if it’s fine when you get there it’ll probably last long enough to make it work for you

The traditional place for people sick of the United States’ bullshit to fuck off to is southern Canada, and there are many good reasons for that. You can usually get the same timezone you were in before, you can visit the Old Country via land transport, the culture shock is pretty mild, you get used to the winter cold after a few years (it took me about six years to reach a point where -10C wasn’t a big deal anymore, and you can usually arrange to not go outside when it occasionally hits -20) and the summers rarely go above 85F or so, often spending long stretches in the 70s.

(I switched measurement systems in the middle there because I find that moving to a cooler climate and switching measurement systems at the same time helps you cultivate a useful double standard. 10C *feels warmer* than 50F, and just because -10C doesn’t seem so bad anymore doesn’t mean 14F will be fine (likewise, 90F being okay doesn’t mean 32C will be).)

My dad fucked off to Canada after seeing how badly the U.S. was handling the aftermath of 9/11, taking his family with him, and every so often I’m like “have I thanked you lately for getting me here?”.

(He’s said his second choice was New Zealand, but living upside-down would take a lot more getting used to, and while people on isolated islands are doing great right *now* it’s not *always* a plus.)

OP draws a weird dichotomy of people who don’t want to move being “people who base their entire personal identity on emotional attachment to a place”.

I wouldn’t say I strongly identify with this specific place, but I *do* strongly want *somewhere* decent to put down roots. My reluctance to move is primarily a reluctance to move *in full generality*, rather than a reluctance to move *away from here*.

(I feel kind of bad sometimes about not having done more exploration before settling down to exploit, but exploration of living-place options is expensive in more ways than one. I doubt I would find anything *enough* better to justify all the unpleasantness of instability, especially since I accidentally hit an area with a reputation for plentiful jobs in my field on the first try.)


#reply via reblog #our home and cherished land #home of the brave #covid19 #illness tw? #weather

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.