The character of New York City is changing, and not for the better.
The Big Apple is transitioning from its past narrative of rags to riches — to solely focus on the riches. Its future is uncertain. For all we know, the city may become as unattainable as the glowing, green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Another haven may rise in its decline.
HBO’s Girls creator and lead actress Lena Dunham brought up an undeniable truth earlier this month at a political fundraiser when said that artists can’t afford to live in New York. Dunham also threw shade at Tampa in the process (sorry, Florida). The New York Times then published an article that both questioned and came to terms with the reality of the city's skyrocketing prices and rapid gentrification.
Dunham suggested that the young and artistic ought to find another city. And the Times piece, focused more on all migrants to the city, ends on a melancholy note.
“In time, this will change the city’s character. Its newcomers and new successes will surely love New York as the old ones did. But they may never be able to love it in the way of E.B. White’s settler, who owes to it her very start — her improbable flowering,” the author wrote.
Dunham mentioned growing up in a SoHo loft for $350 a month. These days, it’s considered “lucky” to find anything less than $3,000. And despite Mayor Bloomberg’s affordable housing plans, New York isn’t getting any more affordable for low and middle class citizens. The truth of the matter is that people just starting to pave their way through a city can’t become slaves to the process of affording rent alone.
Here is a list of the top 10 cities that are capable of becoming the “new” New York. The following cities have ranked high on several "best" lists. They were chosen based on various factors, such as affordable housing costs (average apartment rent in Salt Lake City stands at $770 monthly), decent job prospects for college graduates, low unemployment rates, and overall quality of city living.
What do you think of these cities? Which ones should have made it to the list? Or shouldn't be on it? Discuss in the comments section below or continue the conversation on Twitter @akandez
1. Seattle, Washington
Sounds like New York already!
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
Host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City (SLC) is an industrial banking powerhouse. Hello and goodbye, Wall Street.
3. Burlington, Vermont
There's a visible subset of New Yorkers that are dedicated to eating healthy and recycling aggressively. In Vermont, these passions can be made into a paying gig. Environmentalism is a large industry in Burlington with solid job opportunities. It's also near Montreal, if traveling to Canada ever strikes your fancy.
4. Dallas, Texas
5. Boulder, Colorado
Blood-pumping excitement isn't just limited to clubbing and nightlife. Braving the outdoors through hiking, biking, and camping are equally fun activities, with trails for anyone available across Boulder's au naturel landscape.
6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The "Steel City" has been ranked as one of America's most livable cities for good reason. With its many businesses, skyscrapers, and longstanding investment in the arts, Pittsburgh's already starting to sound like home. Furthermore, there's been a recent initiative to increase the immigrant population.
Queens' status as the mother of all ethnic hubs may soon become a thing of the past.
7. San Diego, California
Sunny San Diego boasts what New York lacks: year-round mild weather and beaches by the dozen. It also has a formidable education system and is currently working on a "smart growth" plan which sounds promising if implemented.
8. Portland, Oregon
Oregon is another state where New York's hipsters can gather and flourish. Right after Seattle, Portland comes in at number two as one of the best cities for fixed-gear bikes, fair-trade coffee, and complaining about how your favorite band sold out. It's also bound to make the tastebuds of foodies go into overdrive. Williamsburg who?
9. Memphis, Tennessee
Tennessee's history of great music gives it a distinct creative advantage. The city in particular is said to be home to the blues, and also is the city where Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion, is located. As a result, tourism (in addition to agriculture) are major components of the city's economy. And what would any "new" New York be without lost tourists?
10. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fifth happiest city in the U.S., one of the most intelligent U.S. cities , amazing college town, excellent for raising families, affordable, foodie paradise, and having fun. There's nothing but praise out there for Ann Arbor in the rankings. It's too hard not to be sold.