Why move to New York?

I have always wanted to move for New York. My brother moved there earlier last year. His jumping the gun on my Big Apple dream quickly sharpened my focus.

It was a city I’d never visited in, yet pulled me. Strange, considering I’ve traveled pretty ferociously since I was old enough to fly by myself.

When I made my first trip to New York to visit my bro Julian, I can honestly say it felt like I’d ‘arrived’. I’m still trying to work out a way to explain away this feeling without sounding like a hippie who hoards crystal balls and reads tea leaves in my spare time.

But I know I’m not the first one to feel this way about New York.

Books, movies, friends, they will all tell you: there is something about NYC.

It’s been a good exercise to think about leaving though.

Why would I want to leave all my amazing friends, vegemite toast and the world’s most liveable city?

Two things stand out about New York.

1. Peak-performance.

To survive in New York, you have to be an athlete in whatever you do.The city attracts the top talent in the world; so if you want to stretch yourself, test your limits, you come here.

I recently heard Peter Thiel speak about this idea of attracting peak performance by immersing yourself in it.  “What does it mean to be in the running to be the best? When you are surrounded by the best, you get good feedback, and you can calibrate yourself to be the best in the world.” He was explaining why the Yammer office which was originally in Los Angeles, moved to San Francisco to be near Silicon Valley, the epicentre of start-ups and currently the best technology cluster in the world.

For a good amount of time, Melbourne quenched my need to stretch and test my limits. But the choice between a creative hometown and the hothouse of global talent? New York is where I want to be training right now.

2. Culture and accessibility.

Everything I always imagined myself to be or do is possible here in New York. It’s so easy to stumble into an art show, amazing band, state of the art live theatre or top restaurant because they literally exist on every corner.

I could seek this stuff out in Melbourne. But I don’t. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe it’s just too damn hard to find, or the effort doesn’t yield the best payout.

My last visit to Brooklyn, I helped put an art piece together in a Saturday morning, attended a conference with 10,000 other Santas in the afternoon, and then sat in a diner the next day eating eggs and listening to an old Yank rant over “cawfee” like an extra on the set of Seinfeld.

It’s not a one-off, the diverse, colourful NYC experiences are always on, and you don’t have to look far.

So next month I’m moving to New York. I’m going to help open the East Coast office for one of the most exciting start-ups on the planet, Yammer. (More on that later.)

I’m interested in what you think. Have you lived in New York? Got any tips?

And what is it about a city that draws you to live in it?

12 thoughts on “Why move to New York?

  1. Lived on and off in NYC a number of times. I’d add another attribute to those you mention; unrelenting energy. Which is invigorating and can be wearing. I love frequent area excursions to de-citify: Storm King, a fabulous huge outdoor art installation park north of the city and across the Hudson but easily accessible; the beaches of course on Long Island; lovely western Connecticut. Even the Appalachian Trail to the West is pretty accessible, with wonderful shoulder-season hiking. And both Boston and D.C. are only a quick bullet train ride away. Good luck!

  2. As a native Manhattanite living in Sydney for some years now, I’m clearly biased but I think you’re onto something. I had lived there for 25 years and came to Sydney because it was such a different lifestyle that I knew I would benefit from. However I think everyone needs to live in NYC for at least a little while.

    Having said that, it tends to turn people a little crazy after a while – a somewhat natural side effect from constantly being surrounded by all that energy, competition, and pressure.

    Until that all hits you though – enjoy!

  3. Bry felt the same about NYC the first time I went there, had read a book “afterwords” syndicated press compilation of life in NYC after 9/11… Went there experienced an amazing city, Wandering around Manhattan, it is surprisingly small … visited friends in Tribecca, on the Hudson, just loved it, knew you would fall in love with it…My thoughts on NYC well it’s NYC what can you say…
    Amazing, Awesome, Unique!!!!

  4. Had to read this after seeing it retweeted. I had a similar experience of “arriving” and feeling completely at home in New York. I’m hoping to move to there towards the end of next year .oO

    One of the first pennies to drop for me in the Big Apple was that it felt like every other city I had ever visited (by comparison) had a collective-unconscious chip on its shoulder for not being New York .o*

    NY just seems to get on with the job of constantly reinventing and unravelling a leading edge of often incredibly healthy urbanism .o!

    I can’t wait to get back. I am so in love with that city .oO

  5. I felt like I was coming home when I landed in New York too, and I’d never felt that before. I reckon everyone should spend a bit of time there, it is like the city of the world. I also agree with your two points, if you can survive and thrive in New York, you can do so anywhere. And there is mega-culture there. New Yorkers are also amazingly direct and have a great sense of humour. And it’s good to get outside your home town, you gain so much clarity and objectivity.

  6. Funny: I felt a lot like everything you’ve said above when I moved to Melbourne.

    I’ve only been to NY once, for 3 days and I slept for 1.5 of them! But I felt alive there. I’ll come take a walk through Central Park with you Bryony. It’ll feel just like the bajillion movies I’ve seen, only better.

    1. I felt this way about Melbourne too!

      I’d love to live in NY. So many people talk about that energy. I also love love Luxembourg. Like Melbourne’s grandpa.

      Best of luck Bryony – you’ll shine (even more – if such a thing is possible)!

  7. C’est génial ! Et tu as intérêt à avoir un canapé lit ou 2 chambres comme ça quand on viendra à New-York avec Camille tu pourras nous héberger !!!! :-o))
    Cathy Locre, France

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