Judtih Regan, Publisher of ReganBooks (an imprint of HarperCollins) announced this week that she's moving her publishing company to Los Angeles.
Citing quality of life differences, she manages to get in a few snipes at New York that made my heart hurt-- with homesickness, yes, but also with agreement.
"I want my staff to be happy, to live in more affordable homes, to be able to raise their kids without permanently mortgaging their quality of life.... I thought we should change course for a while and build a creative community in a place where it's possible to afford just a little more time - and space - to rest and imagine," she tells the LA Times that New York has become a city of billionaire bankers and million-dollar one-bedroom apartments.
Yes, precisely. I left New York because there wasn't enough room for me. There was a tiny slot in a tiny apartment on the Upper West Side, and the nagging memory of gorgeous nineteenth century Haussmannian tree-lined avenues and apartment buildings with enormous windows and wrought-iron grills, and marble fireplaces, and evocative stairwells, and cobblestoned streets for my heels to get caught in. My leaving was partially to do with being in love with the lifestyle I knew was available in Paris, but also had to do with being disillusioned and unexcited about the life I could lead in New York.
In New York, I probably could eke out an existence for myself, as a grad student teaching lit courses at John Jay. But in Paris-- yes, I'm ekeing out an existence for myself, however I can, increasingly as a journalist, supplementarily as an English teacher. But I'm doing it against a backdrop of such beauty and history that I am inspired 99% of the time. My work is more interesting, my writing is more interesting, my life is more interesting. Even when I'm going through a rough time, bureaucratically, professionally, emotionally, financially (and there have been far too many of those), it ultimately doesn't seem to matter because I adore where I have found myself.
Regan writes, a propos of the opportunities to work from anywhere opened up by a globalizing world, "We've also got a lot to learn from what's happening on the Internet — the bloggers and graphic designers and entrepreneurs who have been busy shaking up the old media hierarchies. These people are the future — smart young people who love creating content and who know how to reach each other and share their ideas using every possible means, whether it's between hard covers, on the Web or on their cellphone screens. There are still talented people in New York who understand all that. But these days, with all the hassle and expense it takes to survive in that town, many of them are moving elsewhere."
Yes. Good riddence. And how heartbreaking at the same time.