Breaking News

I was a die-hard New Yorker who never imagined leaving the city. After COVID-19, I can't wait to leave and never return.

chloe jo davis
  • Chloé Jo Davis is a lifelong New Yorker, mother of three, and the founder and editor of GirlieGirlArmy.com.
  • She says she grew up in the wild 1990s of New York, but now says that clinging to nostalgia for a bygone era is no reason to remain in the city forever, especially at the cost of her children being able to grow up around nature.
  • Today's New York is no place to stay, Davis says, as COVID-19 shutters the small businesses, restaurants, venues, and communities that give the city life.
  • "I've paid my dues to this city with guts and glory," she says. "I've done my time. I think it's OK for me to step toward the sunshine with my babies."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
My grandfather fled to New York City after a grand escape from the Nazis via Belgium with a few diamonds sewn in his pockets and a dream of freedom. Forty-three years later, I have a son named Freedom and a dream to leave this city that gave us our family history.
I was a teenager in the '90s in New York — wild, full of moxie, graffiti-covered train rides, and boundless privilege. We wreaked havoc on the city. It was a magical place full of exploration, wild coming of age exploits, and pure fantasy.
chloe jo davis photo by jeremy davis
Three children and a loving husband later, I, like many of my New York City-bred cohorts, have settled into domesticity with the same fury as my teenage angst, a deep commitment to attachment parenting, breastfeeding with the commitment of a Olympian, and a solid decision to put my children first after living through the dirty divorces of the millennium.
Let me be clear: My mom (another former New York-born-and-bred wild child, who spent her formative years in Studio 54) always says she wishes she had not raised us here. She longed for nature for us.
For me, I found my commitment to environmentalism, to sustainability, and to the animals we share our planet with in my 20s. It was then that I understood the power of forest bathing, gardening, and wildlife rehabilitation. So from my apartment, I delved into those causes with that same rapid response. Volunteering for animal rights and rescue groups, covering my living room in plants, and reading voraciously about climate change tided me over when my nature cravings hit.
When COVID-19 got real, I took our rescued dog Calypso for a final walk on the last day of school. She, sweet as pie, pulled me down on the ground in a moment of sheer panic. It came from nowhere. I fell and my knee responded full of bloody mess. It was a sign of what was to come.
The following 50 days were me, my husband, three children, and four rescue pets learning life without sky.
We bought what I call a COVID-19 purchase and got ourselves a car, with my hubby doing online research, negotiating, and a very socially distanced purchase in an empty dealership wearing masks and gloves. This led to far-away hikes every few days after two months indoors. The trees gave me more confirmation that nature is greater than a currently diseased city. Even Central Park, our forever raison d'etre, provided no escape, with its sea of mask-less, sardine-packed people.
What is New York City without culture? What is this city without art and camaraderie and small businesses that hold such fantastically unique purposes that they blow your mind? I realized that New York had left me, in many ways, years ago. I'd been holding on to the city of my childhood. The one with the cheese shop, the hat shop, the Lower East Side full of tiny clubs and magic. That city had long lost its luster. My artist friends fled first to Williamsburg decades ago, and then slowly moved back home or to upstate places like Beacon.
The tone-deaf commentary of New York moms on Facebook groups asserting their forever commitment to the city from their glass-walled palaces in the Hamptons isn't lost on this middle-class family. If you have a second home, this is a cakewalk. But we do not, and we've realized New York just can't be our everything anymore. Our desire for New York cannot supersede our will to live.
This city will remain a place for the exceedingly wealthy, but for the rest of us — especially with the uncertainty around schools returning in September — it now becomes a choice of do you like air or not? Can you afford a $30,000-a-month summer Hampton rental? Do you know your kids are now going to be home and on top of you for possibly the next six months —maybe more? Do you want them to ever feel grass under their toes? Is a constant state of reinfection possible, all living in crayon packs beside each other?
I have realized New York won't be the same until we have a vaccine. I know plenty of folks disagree, and I hope they are right. In the meantime, I dream of bucolic. I want trees for my boys now.
chloe jo davis son park bench
If this is now what the real city is — without the distraction of regular life, school, errands, doctor's visits — then I don't want you anymore, New York.
I love reading the articles written by New York writers with titles like "I've read about your urban flee — don't let the door hit you on the way out," which is the New York City middle finger spirit that raised me. That's the spirit I hope continues. In the meantime, I'm in a two-bedroom with three kids, and the suburbs call. I've paid my dues to this city with guts and glory. I've done my time. I think it's OK for me to step toward the sunshine with my babies.
What I'll miss: Walking my kids to school and chatting with a litany of neighbors who I know everything about but have never once shared a meal with, downtown nights out with my childless girlfriends who still know the hot spots, and discovering a new dry cleaner I've never once seen in the neighborhood (how did I never realize that was there!).
Practical sorts of things remain: I don't know how to drive. We cannot afford the house we'd like to own, and the rentals in the top school district burbs have been obliterated during this mass exodus. I'm not alone. There are thousands of mothers like me saying enough is enough and putting their kiddos first.
I hired a genius company called Suburban Jungle, which works with denizens like me to give them a crash course in suburbs. After working with my Suburban Jungle consultant, Maya, I now feel I could write a dissertation on the burbs. School districts are everything (be sure to look past elementary-school ratings to high-school ratings if you plan to put down roots), property taxes can vary wildly within a 20-minute drive, and some suburbs can be both bucolic and cosmopolitan. I feel empowered, whichever way I land. The leap is frightening, but full of information. Ready to give my kids more, I don't fear the flight.
Chloé Jo Davis is the founder of GirlieGirlArmy.com, the longest running site on eco-living in New York City, and a mother of three. She can found on all social media @girliegirlarmy.
SEE ALSO: The coronavirus pandemic spells the end for big cities — again
READ MORE: Wealthy New Yorkers fled the city when the coronavirus outbreak started. New data shows where they went — and which neighborhoods emptied out the most.
Join the conversation about this story »
NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence


Source
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/warroom/~3/AK_0mBWNnmM/new-york-mom-leaving-city-never-return-after-covid-19-2020-5

Press Release Distribution

No comments