Leaving New York

Why it was time….

After 30 years living in downtown Manhattan, it was time to go. Like most people, I had and still have a love/hate relationship with the city – right now, it’s probably leaning a bit more toward the hate, but I did need a push to get out.  So the next few posts here are going to focus on the motivation for moving, the actual move, and arriving in my new hometown Santa Fe. After that, I’ll dip in and out of life experiences, hopefully with the result being a life well lived – and still being lived!

Brooklyn Bridge, Lower East Side NYC


So why did I leave the supposed center of the universe after 30 years? I was miserable and finally grasped that my life had changed and I didn’t need or want the things I wanted in my 20s and 30s. I realized things I had loved about the city – not going out until 10pm and staying out more often than I should have until 4am; meeting new people all the time and having crazy, fun experiences; the energy; the art, culture, diversity – it wasn’t important to me anymore.  Well, except the art, culture, and diversity part. Oh, and I was in a Saturn return at the time also. 

First, and this is extremely hard for New Yorkers who live in the city to grasp – New York City is NOT the center of the universe. It’s not, really. Did it used to be? I think it probably was pre-internet – but not now.  And especially not since covid.  I spoke with my mail carrier several months into the pandemic, and he shared that in ONE week alone, in zip code 10003 where I lived, there were 10,000 change of address forms.  And those types of numbers were continuing week after week. 

109 First Avenue, East Village, my home for 25 years


I believe there will never be a true post-covid where things completely go back to the way they were, so cities will not be the same. Sure, people will still flock to NYC to visit and do NYC things like theater, museums, and eat out, but I believe many people will opt to visit now and not live long term. With remote work, why? Unless, of course, you’re well off enough to have a place outside the city and you can travel back and forth. But when you can easily rent a furnished apartment (and not an Airbnb which is problematic there), why live there permanently – unless you have to.

My front door – I did love that door. Always tagged with graffiti.


My second motivation for leaving – I was in my second Saturn return. If you’re not into astrology, you can skip these next few paragraphs, but I think there has to be something there if it’s been in use for thousands of years. Oh, and an astrologer I had was eerily accurate with my past and gave helpful tips for health issues I was having or would have in the months following a reading.

A Saturn return is when the planet makes a full circle around the sun and lands back in the astrological house it was in when you were born. It happens every 29-30 years, so, if you’re lucky, you have three – one around age 29, another at 59 and a third in the latter part of your 80s. Saturn represents responsibility, hard work and determination – it’s known as the great teacher or taskmaster.  Astrologers differ on how long the effects last but some say they can linger for two to three years. 

Inside Apt 2R. The living room rug is now my kitchen mat….


A Saturn return generally means that your life will be turbulent and full of change (think midlife crisis). Divorce, job change, moving are all common outcomes of a Saturn return – and I was no different. I packed up my entire life and moved to a city I had only spent one night in on a road trip, didn’t know a soul, and had no funding for the work I do, so I was essentially unemployed. But I had to go.

The next reason I left was I had changed. I had lived in the same apartment in the East Village for 25 years – I had what are called ‘golden handcuffs’ – my rent was low compared to other one bedrooms in the area because I’d lived there for so long, and the East Village became the trendiest place on the planet a decade or two after I moved in so rent went sky high. There was no point in moving to another apartment in a nicer building (like where a friendly rat wouldn’t greet you at the trash cans that were left inside by the mailboxes) because it would be twice the rent (or more!) for basically the same size (and no ‘pets’ thrown in…).

The trash area. Yeah, I don’t know how I survived it for 25 years either….


There are positives to the area gentrifying – safer and nicer restaurants for example – but the creative and hard-edge vibe I’d moved there for became hard to find. And I’d grown up. I no longer partied all hours – I mean, I even quit drinking, so I didn’t need bars to be open until 4am.  The East Village is a young area – and I was in my late 50s so it had lost the fun and excitement I’d once found there. Dinner parties are more my thing now – and being in by 9pm. Really.

I also knew that in ten more years, I probably wouldn’t be able to make such a big move, so, in December 2020, I closed the door on the place I’d lived in for most of my life and didn’t look back.  I was western bound. 

To be continued….

Empire State Building from the Highline

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The Whole Healthy Group Blog covers healthy food, wellness, and spirituality. You can also find Diane’s writing in her newsletter Whole Health Journal on Substack, where this article originated.

You can read Leaving New York Part 2 and Mental Moves – Leaving NYC part 3 on the Whole Health Journal.