Thursday, May 15, 2008

New York as the Center of the World...Not

I've been looking around at sites that list the most expensive cities in the US to live in. No matter which site I've gone to, New York City tops the list. Of course, one of the reasons for that designation is Manhattan, THE most expensive part of the city to live in. But there are other parts of the city that are coming closer and closer to the Manhattan benchmark; they are also more expensive then other cities elsewhere. And then there are the Long Island suburbs and the Westchester County enclaves.

What does this mean for frum Jews? One thing should be fairly obvious; it's going to cost frum Jews more to live in NYC then to live elsewhere. And yet, NYC has become "anointed" as the frum center of the US, with Brooklyn as its hub. Ask someone from Brooklyn where they want their kids to live when those kids get married and the answer is almost always "Brooklyn." And then look at the cost of housing in Brooklyn. When demand exceeds supply, those doing the supplying can charge whatever they want and people will pay the rate. But as we know, paying that rate is becoming more and more difficult, particularly for young couples. Add in the cost of yeshiva tuition here in NYC and you get a pretty good idea why frum families may be having problems economically. Being in debt is becoming synonymous with living in NYC.

They say that "location is everything." Please, please , someone with their eyes open and who might be just a little bit objective, walk down the central streets in Flatbushor Boro Park and really look at those houses. Many of them have had plastic surgery but they are still "old ladies" at heart. Look at the lot sizes. Look at the inconvenience of alternate side parking. Listen to the constant noise level. Look at the crowded streets. Now walk down the streets of a place like Staten Island. Newer houses here, sometimes double and triple the lot sizes here, no alternate side parking, streets that are walkable in peace, and yet Brooklyn can be 2 or 3 times as expensive when it comes to housing prices. And it is not cheap to live in Staten Island.

Some parts of New Jersey also sit on the top 10 list of expensive places to live. New Jersey taxes, particularly for real estate, are sky high. So moving to New Jersey is not automatically a savings, although there are some places that, even with higher taxes, still represent a bargain when compared to NYC.

What to do? The "obvious" answer is to tell parents whose children are grown up, who are no longer using the yeshivas, that they will have to move out to make room for the younger couples who need yeshiva services. Yeah, that's going to work out really well. Some people have provided an answer by moving into areas of the various boroughs that did not only a few years ago have established frum communities in them--Marine Park in Brooklyn comes to mind. But even in those areas, because they are in NYC, they are expensive to live in--maybe a tad cheaper then Boro Park or Flatbush, but give them a few years.

An even more obvious answer, but one that lots of people don't want to hear, is that we need to spread out more around the country. There are beautiful places to live all over the US, places where the quality of life is actually judged better than in NYC and where the expenses are way lower. And by quality of life I also mean frum quality of life. There are yeshivas all over the country. There are kosher butchers and bakeries all over the country. There are mikvaot galore all over the country.

But there is also something out of town that puzzles many residents of NYC. A town may have only one shul and one yeshiva. "How do they manage that?" I hear all the time. In some cities you may have a few shuls and a few schools, and still the NYC residents scratch their heads in puzzlement. How can you possibly live somewhere where you don't have a choice of shuls to go to? What happens when you have a fight with someone in the shul if you don't have anywhere else to go? There aren't 53 pizza shops and 274 restaurants in those towns. What these people want is NYC and all it represents but not in NYC. Not going to happen.

The baby boomers are being surpassed in size by this youngest generation. People are living longer. Both generations and the interim generation all want to live in the same place. How are they going to do that? A scientific principle says that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, never mind three. Yet, in NYC people are attempting to do just that--fit in twice and three times as many people into an area that is running out of space to hold them.

I don't have an exact figure for the number of frum couples who get married every year here in NYC. If I do just a rough count of the number of catering places I personally know of which make weddings and give those places just 100 weddings each for the year, I'm looking at at least 1500 couples. I could be way off in my figuring and probably am figuring too low. If all of those couples want to stay in their home communities, that is 1500 apartments that have to be available for them. Over the course of three years that is 4500 apartments that need to be found. And these couples are in competition with other couples who are not frum or not Jewish in most of the communities. Double the figures or triple them for the number of couples marrying and you are looking at housing for 9,000 to 13,500 couples over 3 years. And before you pooh pooh my figuring, keep in mind that the younger generation is having much larger families then the present baby boomers did. Those couples who will be marrying are out there in larger numbers.

Rethinking geographic location is something that is becoming necessary. Frankly, and to be a little morbid, when the number of those dying does not equal the number of those young couples starting out, you are heading for a non-existent or very tight housing market. Unless you are going to opt for "forced repatriation" and send all the baby boomers to Florida, those baby boomers are going to be around for a long time--easily another twenty years or more.

And then there is the fact I started out with--that NYC and environs is the most expensive place to live in the US. What would you give to wake up in the morning and not be faced with having to figure out if you are going to make it through the day financially, never mind the rest of your life? What would you be willing to do for financial security and financial peace of mind?

A little note: I was discussing this subject with a student on Monday. He agreed that New York is too expensive. He is married with a child, works full time and is going to school at night. When he finishes college he and his wife are trying to figure out where they will go. They can't stay in Brooklyn. The picture of every set of parents being able to buy a house for all their children is inaccurate. This student and his wife don't have those parents. They are living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn for more than the cost of a mortgage in other places. For this student the conveniences of shopping and the communal "aura" are outweighed by the "convenience" of being able to breath financially.


G said...

shut-up, Shut-Up, SHUT-UP!!!
Totally, completely and utterly WRONG.

Hey!!! All you NYers out there, don't listen to any of this!!

NY is great, it's the best place to live on the planet, it is the only place that we know of where it is possible to live as a jew as God intended, it has all the best amenities, the people are clearly superior and let's face it the city rocks.

Don't move away...stay right where you are and do whatever it takes to make it work. Worst case scenario you can move to NJ or at least elsewhere in the Tri-State area. Out-of-Town??? Pfffffffffffft, why would you want to put up with all of the hassles...and the people(!), don't even get me started!

Yes, I think it is clear that the only clear course of action is to remain in NY and preserve the NY Jewish "way of life" NY...not somewhere NY...STAY-IN-NY...capisce?!

Thank You.

ProfK said...

G dear, I do so hate to split hairs on you, but NJ and the tri-state area is out of town. And yes, I do realize that you probably were writing your response tongue in cheek, or at least I hope so.

Anonymous said...

Came to NY to go to school and to yeshiva. I'm looking for a shidduch so I'm staying here because there are just plain more girls here in NY. Problem is though that most of those girls don't want to leave NY and I do when I'm married. Four of us share an apartment in Queens so it only costs us $1600 a month divided by four for rent. It's what the landlord calls a junior 4. We just call it very small. But it's close to the express subway and it's way less then the same apartment would cost in the city. The same cost as an apartment like this would be in Brooklyn, unless we wanted to live in a basement and only pay about 1200-1300 a month. My sister got married and lives in Chicago right now. She rented a bigger 4 room apartment for about 900 a month. And Chicago isn't cheap, just fairly normal for big cities.

Anonymous said...

What's that old saying?--You never see yourself as others see you. New Yorkers are very quick to tell everyone in the world about the problems out of town and about how 'those people' are not as good as New Yorkers are, certainly when it comes to being frum. I don't think that they can begin to imagine how out of towners view New Yorkers.

ProfK has mentioned that she is an out of towner who ended up living in NY. I am also. And when the time comes to stop working and retire my husband and I will be going back out of town. If NYC is expensive for working people, it's totally ridiculous for retirees. We won't be leaving our kids behind here; they are all married and are already all living out of town. It was a financial fact of life that they had to face. We wanted to help them out to buy houses--help is the operative word, not buy--but for what it would have cost us to help one child in NY we helped all four out of town. Yes, they found it an adjustment at first but now you couldn't get them to move back to NY for anything.

Anonymous said...

We read a study in sociology class a few years ago (please don't ask for the exact name because I don't remember) that there is a cycle in communities. It said that communities digest themselves and as they grow older they become a different character. Services that were in place when a community was younger fade away or become smaller because there is less of a demand for those services, like elementary and high schools. It's only when a community loses the older members through death or through retiring and moving out that they can start the cycle over again. Reading this post brought that study to mind.

What's a place like Brooklyn going to do when the number of older people is more then the number of younger people are? The schools won't have students to keep up so many of them. Have you seen any affordable senior housing in the desirable areas of Brooklyn? That means they aren't going to be moving out so where are the younger people going to be living? They'll have to start new communities. Either way the older communities are going to go through the part of the cycle where they become less desireable.

Scraps said...

I was once talking with a friend who grew up in NY and went to a seminary "out of town" (think Maalot, Yavneh, that sort of place). She absolutely loved it there! But she said she'd never consider not living in NY long-term, because she's just too used to all of the amenities being there and so convenient. For instance, in the city where she attended seminary, there are several schools and yeshivas, but there is--can you imagine?!-- only one store that sells clothing catering to frum women. The shock! The horror! Imagine, if she lived out-of-town, she might have to shop at stores that sell all types of clothing and look for the tzanua stuff herself! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I grew up searching the racks at stores for appropriate clothing; I'd get excited whenever a store sold one long skirt and stock up on long-sleeved shirts in the winter when the styles are more modest. To me, it seems so...I don't know...lazy? spoiled? not to live someplace with a vastly higher quality of life (up to and including AIR) just because you won't have as many conveniences as you would in NY. Because that's what all those frummy stores, kosher restaurants, etc, are--conveniences. They are not necessities. But I think a lot of NYers have lost sight of that.

(Btw, ProfK, I think G just doesn't want the NYers moving out of town and spoiling the atmosphere.)

G said...

G dear,

ProfK sweetie,

I do so hate to split hairs on you,


but NJ and the tri-state area is out of town.

That all depends on your perspective.

And yes, I do realize that you probably were writing your response tongue in cheek,

Well then at least we are making progress...slow as it may be.
The truth is that it was only partially written that way. I truly do wish for all NYers to stay right where they are...why mess up more areas than necessary.

or at least I hope so.

Well I hope that it is taken seriously and to heart. Everyone will be much happier that way.

Ezzie said...

Heehee! I'm with G. May all those who wish to stay in the tri-state area for any reason remain there. May those who are desperate to get out spend a couple of years in decompression before joining the rest of the world. :)

Moshe said...

"May all those who wish to stay in the tri-state area for any reason remain there."

This is you, Ezzie, no?

Ezzie said...

No. I wish to leave. I just have certain things holding me back, but that's not what this discussion is. :)

Moshe said...

Yes, but I'd say a decent percentage of people who are here also "wish to leave [but] have certain things holding [them] back."

SaraK said...

It all comes down to what you value more - the amenities and so-called quality of Jewish life in NY, or financial freedom and actual quality of life in places out of NY. It's an attitude that NY'ers are raised with, that this is the greatest place in the world. Most NY'ers have zero concept of what it is like to live in a beautiful, vibrant Jewish community outside of the tri-state area.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm a native New Yorker and even I can recognize that this place is becoming too expensive to live in, really never was cheap. I went so far as to interview for a job in the midwest and they offered it and then my MIL threw a fit and then some and started working on my wife about how you don't take kids to a hefker place and here we are. You want to know what's so funny? They have a place in Florida now and go for a few months in the winter and in the summer. But we aren't allowed to leave. One night I'm going to pack up the house in secret and just take off. Family can be hell.

Ezzie said...

Moshe - I think far less than you think. SaraK says it well.

And Avrom - I love you. Sums it up PERFECTLY.

Anonymous said...

Avram and Ezzie, I'm with you both. We moved finally to NJ this year, not exactly like taking off to Australia. The mothers cried enough to solve the drought in the US for the next 100 years. How could we do this to the family? How could we deprive our children of their grandparents? What kind of a place was a goyish sounding place like Passaic to be frum in?

After almost 2 years of this stuff we finally went quietly and in secret, found a house, bought it, made all the arrangements and first told our parents about 2 weeks before we were moving, and we did it by phone and went away and spent shabbos with friends so they couldn't get to us.

The good news is that the parents had to give in when faced with a done deal. And funny enough, both families came to us for Pesach this year and loved our community. The way they talk now the whole move was their idea.

Sometimes you just have to do what's good for your own little family group. I wish it had been easier but we aren't sorry we did it.

Anonymous said...

Eat your heart out New Yorkers. We bought a house, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a basement and lots of yard and close walking distance to shul. We paid $177,000 for it. Yes, in St. Louis. And our school tuition is nowhere near yours either. Even remodeling the kitchen to make it work better for kosher people is cheaper here. You couldn't get me back to New York for any money.

SaraK said...

Extended family is great, but you have to do what is best for you and your immediate family. If your in laws are so controlling that they threw that kind of a fit when you mentioned moving, maybe you need to get away from them.

Jack Steiner said...

New York is over rated.

Anonymous said...

parents can be a big stumbling block to leaving New York. When we decided to take a promotion that was offered to my husband if we relocated to one of the company's offices in the southwest(a real move up financially so we could maybe buy a house), we did all the research on the city from a frum viewpoint. We called the rabbi of the shul there and spoke for a long time. It isn't a huge community but it has everything we need. Both our parents were impossible when we told them we were moving. But the best was when one of them said "what makes you think you are old enough to be making this kind of decision." married with a baby but not old enough to decide to move?

We've been here a little over a year and love the place. It was so welcoming to us when we arrived. Members of the shul came and asked us what they could do to help. They watched the baby while we unpacked. The situation with our families is still not great--they refuse to come and visit us here, and when we came to New York for Pesach all they did was tell us that if we were really adults we would admit we made a mistake and come home where we belong.

Parents need to learn to let go but they don't always do. If parents not approving is what is keeping you in New York I can tell you that you may never get that approval and you need to think what is the best thing to do for the family that is your husband and children and you.

Commenter Abbi said...

Sorry Profk, tri state are is not out of town. Cleveland is out of town. Teaneck most certainly isn't. I grew up in CT, very close to the city, but was still considered out of town. LI, Englewood, Teaneck, Westchester- not out of town. Basically, anything more then 40 minutes drive from the city is really OOT.

Commenter Abbi said...

Wow, michal I just read your post. It sounds like that's more about an individual situation with your parents then a phenomenon (i would hope) Most parents I know are very happy when their kids make responsible, grown up decisions that allow them to be more independent.

I live in Israel and we lived around the corner from my in laws for 6 years, until my husband's commute got to be too much. My in laws were disappointed that we'd be moving an hour away, but they totally understood why we needed to do it.

Good luck, I really hope your parents change their tune. I couldn't handle that kind of abuse, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Right when you are getting married is a good time to make a move out of NY. Your life is going to be very different anyway so the move is less traumatic then when you have settled in to a community, have made married couple friends, have children in school. And if parents are having a problem with your moving out of home anyway then the problem won't be worse if you are living farther away.

We did it this way and even with adjusting to living in a community really different from the ones we lived in when we were single it was the best thing we could have done. Money isn't a major issue in our marriage and doesn't rule how we live because things are more affordable here and you can make it on what you have and you have to have less. It also helps that the people around us have more practical approaches to money. Not so much competition and showing off here.

ProfK said...

People always seem to start conversations with "Staten Island is really very out of town-ish," and we are part of NYC. "Basically, anything more then 40 minutes drive from the city is really OOT." Even by your calculations NJ is out of town. Late night and absolutely no traffic I can get from Flatbush to SI in about 35 minutes. In good traffic Teaneck is a 45 minute drive from Staten Island, and you can count on traffic never being good. Ditto for Monsey and the rest of Westchester. Never mind the amount of time getting to these places from Brooklyn. One of my friends has a son living in New Rochelle. She can get to Philadelphia faster than she can to her son's home. Ditto the friends whose kids live in Bergenfield and in West Hempstead. Out of town is relative. My favorite out of town line came from a cousin in Williamsburg. She announced that her married daughter was moving out of town. Where? To Boro Park.

Scraps said...


To someone who comes from the non-tri-state area, the whole general NY area is "in town". Yes, including Monsey and Teaneck and Long Island (possibly excluding Suffolk County).

And yes, I have insulted friends from NJ by stating this.

SaraK said...

good for you!

Anonymous said...

Our rule for determining OOT is simple--if we don't pay taxes there then it is out of town. So Monsey would be in town and all of New Jersey is out of town. Connecticut is almost out of this world.

Anonymous said...

I used to use the gas rule when I was dating. If it took more then 5 gallons of gas to get there, date and come home then it was out of town. I also had a tolls part of that rule. If it cost more then just a couple of dollars in bridge, tunnel or highway tolls then it was out of town. Sorry Profk but Staten Island was out of town that way. Your bridge toll is out of sight. Crossing it twice for a date added $18 dollars to the date and I understand it went up again.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one in my town in NJ who keeps arguing against a kosher pizza shop (we're in 'Central Jersey' with no kosher restaurants in the community) in order to keep the NYers out. People think I'm joking...

G said...

You poor misguided souls.

As far as dertermining what is, or is not, "out of town"...if you need to ask, then my friend you do NOT live there.

Ezzie said...

What G said. Perhaps we should show them a map, though...

Ezzie said...

Here is a page with a map. If your neighborhood is on it, guess what?!

Not "out of town".

Anonymous said...

Keep fighting Elitsur! If I'd wanted to live like New Yorkers I would have stayed there. Geesh, they come into our places gushing about how great our communities are and then the next thing they try to do is change us so we will be just like the place they came from. Helloooo!

Anonymous said...

A sad commentary on how we must be teaching geography if people can be defining "New York City" to include in the definition of the city THREE STATES and numerous counties not designated by the State of NY as New York City. Tri-State area may be useful for weather forecasters, people from the areas mentioned may commute into New York City for work, but they live out of town. Ask a native of Brooklyn or of Queens or of any of the boroughs if they think they are living in the same city as I do if I live in New Jersey. If they answer yes then examine anything they are trying to sell you very carefully. If we are not living in the same city, then one of us is living out of town, and I really rather it would be me. Really strange. New York City people really really want to claim north Jersey as part of them, and we in north Jersey so do not want to return the favor.

Ezzie said...

Hersh - who said NYC? I believe people are referring to "New York", and when they say it, they mean just about everything surrounding it. In particular, it's a differentiation between what would be "New York" and what would be "out of town", particularly in terms of mindset and actions.

Send the average person from within the Tri-State area elsewhere and see how long until they get pegged as being from "New York". :)

Anonymous said...

ProfK - I totally do not agree with you.

1. I live in Brooklyn (Sheepshead Bay). Beautiful area. Many trees. We have all the amenities of living in the city plus greenary. We do not have an alternate side parking either.

2. Once a house is paid off living becomes extremely cheap, becaue property taxes are just a percentage of what they are in LI, NJ or CN.

3. Staten Island stinks. Literally. It has the worst area in tri-state area. It's probably as bad as Moscow, Kiew and St. Petersburg. And everytime you need to go somewhere you need to pay for bridges. Very inconvinient.

4. NY Has the best job opportunities in the world. Why do you think it is so expensive. Moving away from Tri State area means cutting down on your job options.

5. NY is a financial capital of the world. Why do you think terrorists want to destroy it so much?

I could go on, but I have many things to do...

ProfK said...

Thought I might drop in and comment. I vaguely remember this is my blog.

My daughter reminded me of two stories I had buried but that apply here. I sent my girls to Prospect Park High School. At that time Prospect also had a fairly decent number of girls who were from out of town, no matter how you define it. The school secretary notified all these out of towners that they were to come to a meeting only for the out of towners with the principal. And yes, all the Staten Island girls (an entire bus load) had to attend. So much for how Brooklyn thinks of us.

One daughter is a journalist and interviewed the managing editor of the Staten Island Advance, the newspaper servicing the Island. His favorite story was when the NY Times, that "holy of holies" printed a map of New York City and left Staten Island off. So much for how the rest of the city thinks of us.

Ezzie, being from Cleveland you should know this, but most people in other parts of the country speak about the country regionally rather than by specific state. When in the west people ask me if I'm from "back east." When I'm down south they ask me if I'm from "up north." We only get into specifics if they want to know where "back east" I'm from.

"Once a house is paid off living becomes extremely cheap"--and given the jacked up prices of the houses, that "paid off" doesn't come all that soon. Mortgages for $500,000 for 25 years with all the attendant interest payments? Not that much of a bargain when you look at the rest of the country. Nor does it really become all that much cheaper. Utilities, food, transportation, etc. are much higher here than elsewhere.

"Staten Island stinks. Literally. It has the worst area in tri-state area. It's probably as bad as Moscow, Kiew and St. Petersburg. And everytime you need to go somewhere you need to pay for bridges. Very inconvinient." I'm afraid you are way behind the times. The City dump, which had been located here, has been closed for many years. The latest EPA findings put our air quality on par with the rest of the city, the exception being one outlying area that sometimes gets the NJ industrial smoke blowing its way. Yup, transportation is not as convenient as having a subway at your doorstep--which is of course why you see a car or two or three in every Brooklyn driveway. The bridge? Much cheaper for Staten Island residents then for others, and if it serves to keep more people away from the Island then great. The spot with the worst emission ratings on the Island is the Staten Island Expressway, used by Brooklynites escaping to New Jersey to work, and used by trucks delivering to the rest of the city and those poor shmos who have to work in Brooklyn.

"NY Has the best job opportunities in the world. Why do you think it is so expensive. Moving away from Tri State area means cutting down on your job options." It doesn't have the best job opportunities, just a large number of job opportunities. In certain areas, with certain expertise. The largest number of jobs in the city are in the service sector--those people who provide the day in, day out things people need, like cleaners and restaurants etc. Those types of jobs are available all over the country. New York is not the largest populated State in the US--California has over double the population of New York and Texas has 1-1/2 times as many people--, nor is New York City the only city with financial markets. All of the major financial institutions have large branches across the country--they have to because of the way the US population is apportioned. Even prior to 9/11. Keep in mind that the computer industry did not begin in NY nor is it centered here. Ditto for other major types of industry. New York City is not growing at anywhere near the pace that other cities across the country are. And where there is city growth comes job opportunities.

It is not that NY doesn't have work opportunities; it is that other places have them as well. And quality of life, and financial considerations are better in lots of other places. Don't take my word for it--the government says so.

Anonymous said...

ProfK said...

Thanks for the links to the OU showcase of cities and the article about the high price of NYC frum living.

I just find it ironic that some of the cities on the list are considered "emerging" given their long histories as frum centers, particularly Seattle, Denver and Memphis. Seattle has for decades had the largest sefardi community outside of New York. It's day school has been around for decades as well. It even has a pizza shop. It's also ironic because Seattle, which truly does offer a lot, is on the top 10 most expensive places to live list, as is San Diego. Still cheaper in Seattle than New York, particularly for basic services, but not cheap. One advantage that Seattle offers is that there is no state income tax. Funny thing is that we know two people who sent their boys out of town to Denver because the yeshiva has a fine reputation. My brother lives in San Diego and, as he puts it, it isn't much cheaper than NY but the life is a whole lot better.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should have posted a warning ProfK that attacking Staten Island isn't something you take sitting down. You remember the question that got asked in class about corner grocery stores and the saying good shabbos to strangers? I remember the answer. Whew!

Anonymous said...

Re the previous comment as well as the post in general -

There is a gemara that mentions a concept of חן מקום על יושביו, meaning that a place has a certain charm, exerts a certain sway, over its inhabitants (other examples of chein cited there are חן מקח על מקחו, and חן אשה על בעלה). So NYC has a certain chein in the eyes of NY'ers (of course there is hatred at times as well. I think many have a love/hate relationship with NYC.).

Perhaps we could say that the chein is not always logical in simple dollars and cents calculations. Also,as discussed above, family can exert a strong pull as well.

That was just in way of explanation to why leaving NY, especially for those for whom it is in the category of לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך as well, can be quite difficult. As an out of towner, you may not fully grasp it. But your post is good nevertheless.

ProfK said...

You are, of course, right that my perspective may be different from a native New Yorker's perspective. But if we are quoting the Gemorah, could we also look at Chumash? When there was famine in the land of his birth, Yaakov Avinu took his family and moved to where things were going to be easier for them "financially," where they were going to be able to live without want. Their intention was to "go home" when things improved, but first they did the practical thing and moved to where they could feed the family.

I'm not saying that there is no "chein" to New York for those who are its native born children, but practicality may have to supercede loyalty to place.

Lion of Zion said...

my take on living out of town:


"Most NY'ers have zero concept of what it is like to live in a beautiful, vibrant Jewish community outside of the tri-state area."

please define "vibrant." having one struggling day school (and a crappy one at that), for example, does not make a make a community vibrant.

Lion of Zion said...


"I live in Brooklyn (Sheepshead Bay). Beautiful area. Many trees. We have all the amenities of living in the city plus greenary. We do not have an alternate side parking either."

the last point is the only good thing about SB. don't exaggerate about the greenery. besides, it is offset by the sewage processing plant that used to stink up the neighborhood (and probably causes cancer/asthma/etc.?). but it's all irrelevant, as the future of SB (at least the part i am from) is with our cousins.

Anonymous said...

Yes, $500,000 mortgage for 25-35 years sounds like a lot. But you are forgetting that as life goes on people get raises, but mortgage payments stay the same. So, you can make prepayments and pay off your house earlier.

Food in new york is not more expensive. We compare prices with other places. Some things in NY are way cheaper, some are the same and others are more expensive.

Transportation in NY is cheaper. You don't need a car in Brooklyn. And with a monthly pass you can go anywhere for less then $100. Once you move out you would automatically need two cars, two insurances, two car maintenances, etc.

Re jobs. NY has jobs in finance (wall street, banking, bonds, insurance, etc) NY has jobs in import/export industry because it has major ports here. NY has jobs in entertaiment:let me remind you about movie industry, music industry, broadway, etc. NY is the city with more colleges/universities then anywhere else in the US. NY has UN. NY has meausiums... These are not all service jobs. These are highly paid specialized jobs that are very difficult to find outside of the city. In addition all of them use computers thus a high demand in IT industry. Regardless of what you say there is no place in US that has as many careers and career choices and available jobs as NY.

Also, please take into account that there are more people living in TriState are then in some other states and many other countries of the world.

Yes, NY is a capital of the world.

Anonymous said...

Lion of Zion - If you don't like SB, fine with me, don't move here. More room for us. I'm not exagerating greenery. There are trees on every block and many front/backyard have trees too. Sewage processing plant is not in sheepshead bay, and it's too far. There is no smell. We also have marine park with marshes and all within walking distance and a nice reconstructed bay/canal too. There is nice shopping and many restaurants for people to eat and enjoy themselves ,ok they are not kosher, but that's a plus too. We don't too many ignorant and uneducated frummies in our neighborhood, so there is no one to judge us or to control our lives. We watch with trepidation as more black hatters move into this neighborhood, we really don't want them to take over.

ProfK said...

It's the US government which does the ranking of most expensive cities to live in. Included in their criteria are food and transportation. They say NY is more expensive when it comes to food. I'll take their word for it. Transportation? Chicago and Los Angeles are also on the expensive cities list, although below NY . Their transportation costs are not more expensive than ours. The only option is not limited to owning two cars. Information below:
$1.70FREE transfer to Local BusDISCOUNTED transfer to Express Bus
CharlieTicket/ Cash-on-board

Monthly LinkPass
$59/monthUnlimited travel on Subway plus Local Bus.

Day/Week LinkPass
$9.00 for 1 day$15.00 for 7 daysUnlimited travel on Subway, Local Bus, Commuter Rail Zone 1A, and Inner-Harbor Ferry.

Seniors and Persons with Disabilities(Blind persons ride for free)
$.60/ride$20/monthUnlimited travel on Local Bus and Subway.Requires a Senior/T.A.P ID or Blind Access Card.

Students(Junior High and High School)
$.85/ride$20/monthUnlimited travel on Bus, Subway, Express Bus, and Commuter Rail Zones 1, 1A and 2 until 8p.m. on school days. Requires Student ID Badge.

Children 11 and under
Free When accompanied by a paying adult.


Base Fare Required for each boarding
Metro Day PassGood for local travel all day; Zone charges may apply on some lines
Metro-to-Muni TransferRequired for transfer to municipal lines; Not valid on Metro Bus and Metro Rail
Freeway Express Add-Ons Bus only on freeway routes
Zone 1
Zone 2
Seniors Age 65+/Disabled Off-Peak Base Fare Weekdays 9am – 3pm and 7pm – 5am;All day on weekends and Federal holidays

Student (K-8 and 9-12) Monthly $24

College/Vocational Monthly $36

Senior/Disabled/Medicare Monthly $14Senior/Disabled/Medicare EZ transit pass $35

Weekly Pass Available in advance starting on Thursdays.
Monthly PassAvailable in advance starting on the 25th of the month.
Freeway Express StampBus only; maximum two zones
$18 per zone
EZ transit passGood for travel on Metro Bus, Metro Rail, Metro Orange line and many additional carriers
EZ Premium StampMay only be affixed to EZ transit pass
$18 per zone
Token Valid for base fare; sold in bags of ten

Two children under age 5 may travel free with each fare-paying adult on bus or rail.

ProfK said...

And while we are dispelling myths, let's look at education. The figures are as follows:

By state, the states with the most colleges/universities and 2-year colleges. This does not include those schools which call themselves colleges but really are technical schools or vocational training schools.

There are 191 Colleges in New York

There are 206 Colleges in California

There are 115 Colleges in Illinois

There are 91 Colleges in Massachusetts

There are 147 Colleges in Texas

There are 99 Colleges in Ohio

By CITY, see the following:

Boston has 53 colleges in the greater Boston area. (About 1/8th the size of NYC in population.)

Los Angeles has 16, counting the city and state universities as one entity no matter how many campuses.(They are less than half the size of NYC in population)

New York has 16, counting the city and state universities as one entity no matter how
many campuses.

With the exception of Columbia University, all the nationally top ranked colleges and universities and graduate schools are NOT in New York City.

We have good educational opportunities here in NYC, just not the best in the US.

Anonymous said...

Please, I'll concede that NY is not the center of the world, but no more statistics, please!

Isn't there anything that New York does right? Surely there must be one thing? If even North Dakota has one good thing going for it then NY has to have at least one.

ProfK said...


As a few commenters on the "good news" posting said, our Hatzalah organization is definitely something we have going for us. And it's almost neutral religiously--even the rightest of the right use its services, as does everyone else. But let's also keep in mind that one of the reasons for the onset of Hatzalah was the poor response time of EMS to emergency situations. So big city but not so stellar city services.

And re those services, is there anyone out there who can verify that the city ever has cleaned a street on its alternate side parking day? In all the years I lived in Brooklyn the only street cleaning truck I ever saw was on Ocean Parkway.

ProfK said...

Oh, and Tuvi, just what is that one thing that North Dakota has going for it?

Anonymous said...

Only about 650,000 people but it's the 19th largest state, so if you have a fight with someone chances are you may never have to see them again. Lots of room to spread out.

ProfK said...

Lol, a good enough reason for living there I suppose.

Lion of Zion said...

"Hatzalah . . . s almost neutral religiously"

unless you are a woman

"But let's also keep in mind that one of the reasons for the onset of Hatzalah was the poor response time of EMS"

someone once commented on my blog that hatzalah is a very expensive waste of communal funds because it duplicates a service that is already provided by the city. i responded that one of the benefits of hatzalah is the faster response time. he said that whlie this was a need at one time, city response times are much improved today, rendering hatzalah irrelevant. i have not idea if this is true, but i do wonder why the need for hatzalah in other locales where there might not be an issue with response time.

"is there anyone out there who can verify that the city ever has cleaned a street on its alternate side parking day . . ."

i do see the streetsweepers, but i don't think they really do much to clean the streets.

Lion of Zion said...


"Sewage processing plant is not in sheepshead bay"

huh? if knapp and x is not SB, then what exactly is it?

anyway, SB is a large area and prices and housing type is very variable depending on the specific area. in the low 20s and v, for example, it is still pretty expensive. it only gets considerably cheaper (but again, only relatively so), on the other side of nostrand ave. and on that side we are talking mostly attached row houses with practically no backyards and frontyards (a patch of grass in the front and a community driveway in the rear don't make the cut)

also, the reference to both marine park (which is not in SB anyway) and the bay as being in walking distance is very misleading; someone who lives by the bay is not within walking distance of marine park and vice versa. (yes, i know it's doable, but you can be talking a walk of an hour or longer.)

"There is no smell."

spend some time in the summer closer to knapp st. the truth is not really that bad any more unless you live right there, but i remember when it would stink all the way to bedford. in any case, stench or no stench, i can't believe that it is healthy to live in the general vicinity.

"There is nice shopping and many restaurants for people to eat and enjoy themselves ,ok they are not kosher"

there are also churches, but ok, they don't have a minyan. what's your point then that there are loads of restaurants?

Anonymous said...

My street and my parents' streets get cleaned twice a week. I've seen the trucks. :)
And I love NY. You rarely get lost because the streets make sense (ABC & numbers, not trees and flowers and people's names in random order), kosher stuff is cheaper than out of town, and I can find a kosher place to eat almost anywhere. Unlike out of town, where if you don't live off main street, you have to drive to get a bottle of milk, cholov yisrael or not.

Lion of Zion said...


"ou rarely get lost because the streets make sense"

yep! (but try queens, it's much more complicated even thnough it's all numbers)

"Unlike out of town, where if you don't live off main street, you have to drive to get a bottle of milk"

yeah, that's what i always say to my suburban friends. but then they respond that they don't mind driving because when they get home they can park without a problem. (which is true. where i live it can take me 45 min on some nights to find a spot, and then i still have a 15 minute walk home.)

ProfK said...

And yet again Staten Island proves that it is out of town--we don't have number streets and alphabetical avenue blocks, just block after block with "real" names.


Response time is still better with Hatzalah then with EMS. The reason is fairly simple: Hatzalah members reside in the community. They are not more than a minute or two from any call. EMS has a central base rather than one in each small area of a community. There's a great film made by Ingenius Productions about Hatzalah of Los Angeles and the EMS person interviewed on the film raves about Hatzaloh. They work together.

Re the women--ahem, in Staten Island woman are a part of Hatzalah; I was in the first class trained as EMTs. There simply weren't enough men to cover all calls. Today the men take all the evening and weekend calls, and it's mixed during the weekdays.

Lion of Zion said...


"Response time is still better with Hatzalah then with EMS."

that's what i assumed. we've called hatzalah a few times and once they were in our apt. within 3 minutes. but i'd be curious to see some official stats.

"They work together."

a few years back there was some tension between ems and hatzalah that was played up a lot in the media. i don't know how prevalent it really was and if it still exists.

"ahem, in Staten Island woman are a part of Hatzalah"

well as you just wrote, SI is out of town, so your example doesn't count anyway. who cares what happens outside of brooklyn. here (afaik) women can't join. worse yet, i've heard (admittedly second-hand) of women calling EMS instead of hatzalah because they didn't want to be treated by frum guys.

rafi g. (on his "Life in Israel" blog) recently had a post about an israeli initiative to have separate male and female ambulance units.

G said...

Isn't there anything that New York does right? Surely there must be one thing?

No, no there is not.

Anonymous said...

I kind of looked at my time in NY like it was going to college. I didn't like all the classes, not all the professors really knew what they were talking about and the cost was way too expensive. But I got to meet lots of new people, got to discover what I wanted to do with my life and then I left and went back into the real world.

Anonymous said...

ProfK – I’m not sure what criteria US government was using, but I’m stating my own experience and observation. When we traveled to Adirondacks every summer, we would schlep potatoes, curbies, and other vegetables with us. They were a lot cheaper in Brooklyn. Eggs in Brooklyn were cheaper, too, but we didn’t want to keep them in a car for a day. Berries for some reason were cheaper in Adirondacks. Meats and Milk were cheaper in Adirondacks too. Fish was cheaper in Brooklyn, but we caught our own. Also, there were other products cheaper in Adirondacks such as pasta and corn. So, if your staple is meat, milk, pasta and corn then yes, NY is more expensive. But if you include more raw fruits and vegetables then NY’s food is not more expensive.

Housing in NY is more expensive, no argument. But if you own a house rather then rent it, you will notice that proportionally your housing expenses are smaller and smaller. Also in combination with higher pay in NY then other places in the country and suddenly your housing expenses are not as great as they seem.

My husband has a good portion of his family living in Boston. We travel there on regular basis. Believe me one needs a car in Boston. Same is true for Chicago and San Francisco. New York is the only city in US where it is common for people not own cars and even not to have a driver’s license.

About colleges. We sat down yesterday and came up with more then 16 colleges in NYC. So whoever published that information is wrong, unless they were only counting Manhattan. And about top ranking colleges, again, I have no idea where you are getting your information. Columbia may be your only Ivy league school, but NY also has NYU, which is ranked really high. NY also has Cooper Union which is very highly ranked, too. I could go on, but you got my point.

Lion Of Zion – Meant Sewage plant does not affect air in SB. We never have any smell because it is too far. Those who live closer may have smellier air, but there is nothing next to the plant except for the 7/11, movie theater, hotel/motel, storage, gas station…

We live 20 minute walk from the Bay and 20 minute walk from the park. I consider that a walking distance. I know some people consider anything more then a block as driving only distance, but then again…

The point of restaurants is too show that SB is a nice and friendly, diverse, safe neighborhood. And you’re right we do have churches as well as shuls

ProfK said...

Sorry but I'm with one foot out the door so let me answer briefly.

The government uses the "market basket" criteria when ranking cities. There are certain items that are included in that "basket," such as basic food stuffs that people use across the country, rents/mortgages, utilities, transportation. The items are all added up and then ranked by total amount. It is possible for one or a few items to be cheaper in what is an otherwise more expensive area, hence your Adirondacks example.

Boston appears in the ranking list for 10 most expensive cities to live in in the US. Not surprised that they spend on cars. They have a tramway by the way.

Still repeat a comment from before--if no one needs cars in Brooklyn because of the subway system, then how come there are so many there? Maybe I just know "car" people, but I really don't know anyone who lives in Brooklyn who doesn't have a car with the exception of one young married couple, and they are presently looking for a car to buy. Perhaps where there are huge apartment complexes you will find less car owners (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens) because there is no place to park them. But where there are houses and space for cars, those cars appear, regardless of the public transportation available.

Re the colleges and universities, for brevity, those on the lists by state were, as I commented, only counted once even if they were colleges with many campuses or universities with many colleges. Thus Columbia University and CUNY get counted only once despite their having many branches. Those who rank and rate colleges/Universities only count in their systems those places that are under one of the regional accreditation associations. My listing included only colleges/universities that were not technical or vocational schools.

I did not say that NYC does not offer good schools, and certainly NYU and Cooper Union are good schools. But you were the one who commented that we have the best schools in the world here and the most. We don't have the best schools in the world or even the country here, nor do we have the most, certainly not when we compare to the total population those schools need to serve.

Anonymous said...

ProfK I said:“NY is the city with more colleges/universities then anywhere else in the US.” I did not say that NY has the best education of the US. We were talking about apportunities in NY. You seem to think that moving away so that people could save on rent will solve most families’ financial problems. I, on the other hand, pointed out that NY has more job apportunities than anywhere else and moving away for the sole purpose to pay less rent is irresponsible.

Then I pointed out various industries available in NY. (finance, import/export, entertaiment, education, tourism, IT) I left out many others such as fashion and publishing, because there are just too many list them all.

Re transportation. Yes, NY has subway but it also has a great public bus transportation. So, one does not need a car here. I do know people who do not have a car. If they go on vacation they rent one. Renting a car for one week per year is a lot cheaper then owning a car. I have no idea why you don’t know anyone without a car. May be it’s because you live only among frummies with entitelement mindset. My daughter has a few friends like that. They drive to school and to the train and anywhere else if it’s more then one block away, and then they complain about lack of funds, go into debt and etc. I do know that in Boston they have a Tram but it does not provide enough transportation to accomplish everything without a car. It provides enough to have one car instead of two.

Below is an incomplete list of NY’s private colleges. As you can see it is a lot more then 16. And SUNY/CUNY are not on this list.

1 Albert Einstein college of Medicine
2 Fortham
3 Monroe

4 Boricua
5 Brooklyn Law School
6 Polytechnic
7 Pratt
8 St. Francis
9 St. Joseph
10 Long Island University
11 St. Johns
12 Alliance Graduate School of counseling
13 American Musical and Dramatic Academy
14 Metropolitan college of NY
15 Bank Street college of education
16 Barnard college
17 Berkley college
18 Columbia
19 Cooper Union
20 General Theological Seminary
21 Jewish theological seminary
22 Juiliard school
23 Laboratory Institute of Merchandizing
24 Manhattan School of Music
25 Marymount Manhattan college
26 New School Universaty
27 New York Academy of Art
28 New York college of Podiatric Medicine
29 New York film academy
30 New York law school
31 New York school of interior design
32 New York theological seminary
33 NYU
34 Pace
35 Pacific college of oriental medicine
36 Rockefellar university
37 School of visiual arts
38 St. Joseph’s seminary
39 Touro college
40 Union Theological seminary
41 Yeshiva University
Staten Island
42 Wagner College

ProfK said...


Let me repeat something I said before. The word college in the name of an institution does not make them a college as commonly understood. Some are vocational/technical schools. I would imagine that the New York school of interior design that you have on your list belongs there. Universities comprise many different colleges and graduate specialty divisions, but they are all linked under the name of the University, even when their separate name is known. You cannot become a University unless you have at least two PhD level majors/divisions, not counting medicine or law. In your list above Albert Einstein college of Medicine is a division of Yeshiva University. The Bank Street College of Education is part of Columbia. Alliance Graduate School of counseling is an interesting one of you look into it further. And it is not accredited by any of the regional associations.

The Alliance Graduate School of Counseling has been developed by The Alliance Theological Seminary as a program offering a biblically grounded Master of Arts, Counseling degree from a historic evangelical Christian perspective. Graduates will be academically prepared to provide professional counseling that effectively addresses the psychospiritual needs of distressed human beings and damaged relationships.

Students choose Alliance Graduate School of Counseling for various reasons. Some intend to pursue professional careers in counseling, while others are seeking to gain personal enrichment and more effective ministry skills. Some reside on the main campus while many choose to commute, taking advantage of the convenient scheduling. Whatever the reason, AGSC is a community of men and women committed to furthering their ability to minister God's healing.
They are a diverse group of qualified individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds and countries. AGSC is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students (F-1 status) and welcomes qualified students from other countries who are pursuing further training and preparation for gospel ministry in their own countries.

In short, just because it says it is a college doesn't make it one.

frumskeptic said...

The point, is that there ARE more opportunities in NY. When it comes down to it, no one gives two hoots if your college was University or a College, as long as you got yourself a degree, even if it is from Touro, or some other crappy religious college (ie AGSC). hehe..

Anyway, there ARE more opportunities in NY. you have to be blind not to see it. In the 50's there was a rise in suburban areas, and that was because living in - or close to a city- was extremely profitable. You lose one job, theres another a block away! And NY is THE city. Its the city that NEVER sleeps. There are more 24/7 stores than anywhere else (more jobs right there), and for heavens sake--- its a CITY. What moron denies the opportunities a city offers? almost 95% of the time if a member of the family is lookng for a job, they move closer to a city!!!!!!

Seriously now... how do you deny NY?? Its the capital of everything.

Do you not watch TV? every decent commercial - filmed in NY-
Seinfeld, Friends, Gossip Girl, Everybody loves raymond (ok, LI, but suburban NY), King of Queens, Jeffersons, All in the Family, Different Strokes, NYPD blue, etc.

All those actors, directors, producers...they need people to support the shows. Not just cooking, cleaning, ironing. They need programmers to help the staions determine times, they need secretaries, lawyers, accountants, real-estate agents, stock brokers, decorators, etc... You're not going to find a necessity for all these people outside of cities...and NY IS the city.

As much as frum people happen to be snobby and annoying in NY, that doesnt mean you should go and tell people that they should move. If the guy is in kolel, he sure as hell should move, no one wants to pay his expensive NY rent bill, but if a guy has a job here, he sure as hell SHOULDn't move. where else would his daughter find someone be willing to pay her $10/hr to babysit? Not in a location where the average salary is minimum wage...
sorry...but NY is awesome. Its to expensive for you? Learn to budget, or stop having kids you can't afford, but don't deny the frikkin purpose of the city.

ProfK said...

Frum skeptic,

Not quite sure which post written by whom you are responding to. This posting said that NYC is the most expensive city in the US, an undeniable fact. It further said that if you can't afford to live here, if you are feeling the pinch, there are less expensive CITIES in the US to move to. I don't remember recommending moving to a commune in North Dakota.

Of course there are opportunities for employment in New York.Just as there are opportunities for employment in the rest of the country.

Re Touro, it is Middle States Certified--same group that certifies Columbia and NYU. They clearly know more then the people who bash it for no other reason than it is under frum auspices. Strange, Harvard and Yale began as divinity schools and still have them.

Re television, we clearly watch different shows, and most of mine are not produced here in NY. And then of course there is the fact that Los Angeles is the movie capitol of the US.

This isn't about a pissing contest between cities for title of "greatest city in the universe." This is about making choices and having choices. One such choice is choosing not to live in NY. Another choice is to live within your means (so not a NY idea).

ProfK said...

Oh, and Frum Skeptic, NYPD Blue was filmed in Los Angeles, not NYC.

frumskeptic said...

and friends was mostly filmed outside of NY. so what?

They filmed enough IN NY, about NY, that it would encourage tourism (jobs right there- graphic designers for brochures, small busienss owners with random chachkes). Its frikkin NY! The entire country doesnt hate NYers b/c they're poor, and they lack opportunity.

Plus, NY got Broadway, the Ballet (American Ballet Company?) Lincoln Center- the MET-

seriously... ever hear "the grass is greener on the otherside?"

You may have it "cheaper" there, but it sure as hell won't be easier for everything else. Esepcially not after you're used to all the availability of the CHEAPER kosher food (yes, kosher food in NY is cheaper!!).

Heck, food in NY is generally cheaper. My moms friend lives in marlboro, NJ, and every time her MIL comes to visit (from Brooklyn) she brings a ton of food with her. And they're NOT kosher. Why? Because she can't bear for them to waste so much money on produce, which isn't only more expensive but is not as good in quality.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever wonder why they call that highway in New Jersey the Garden State Parkway? Because Jersey is the Garden State. It's not the farms in NY that are providing the produce for NYC, it's New Jersey. And Florida. And California. And Mexico. So New York imports all its produce and you seriously want me to believe that it's cheaper in NY then at the source in NJ? So your friends mother got a bargain at a fruit store. Bargains aren't just native to NY either.

Most of the stuff on television isn't worth watching and most frum Jews aren't going to be working in that industry. Broadway at $150 a ticket and up and two-fers scarce is no bargain and not a selling point for frum Jews anyway.

You can love where you live without slamming every place else. For a lot of us New York City is a nice place to visit but we wouldn't want to live there. Like Prof K said, it's a matter of choice.

Anonymous said...

People please, staying or leaving NY has nothing to do with the city. A city is only a collection of cement and steel. It's the people that I wouldn't be able to leave. It's my family and my friends. It's the people I know for years and years and who I can count on if I need them. The city I could leave with no problem.

frumskeptic said...


Ever take an economics coursE?
what happens if there are 10 stores selling apples in one place, and only 2 in another place? Where are the apples cheaper?

The place with 10 stores. Why? Because there is more competition in 10 than there is in two.

Its NY. If my corner store sells apples for $0.50 and the OTHER corner store...2 blocks away sells apples for $0.35 , and the other 4 blocks away is $0.45, I'm gonna go two blocks away, especially if I'm buying alot of apples...its alot of savings! And then i'll be gong to my corner store for the cheaper cereal, and the cheap apple store for the apples, the medium priced apple store for their cheap lemonade...etc.

In NJ the OTHER apple stores are a few MILES away. People who want the cheaper apple have to take into account the gas, the time, the shlep, the other price of products (the lemonade, the cereal), etc, therefore the price of the apples (produce generallY) in NY will be cheaper, because store owners in NJ know that fewer ppl will be willing to drive to their competitors store. So they limit their sales, and they limit things that just wouldn't be practical for NY business men to limit.

This is a fairly simple concept to grasp. really it is. 10 fruit stores ALL competing for your purchase will undoubtedly be cheaper than locations with fewer fruit stores, even if they are closer to the farms as you say.

frumskeptic said...

"You can love where you live without slamming every place else. For a lot of us New York City is a nice place to visit but we wouldn't want to live there. Like Prof K said, it's a matter of choice."

Thats right. But if like Prof K says that NY isn't really the center of the world or the center of opportunity I feel obligated to defend the place.

Its NYC, its the most talked about city in the world, that was just one ridiculous statement for her to make, and then to claim everything here is expensive!! SO and gas is higher here? So don't rent for to long and use public transportation for as long as possible. But e/t else is cheaper.

frumskeptic said...

"Being in debt is becoming synonymous with living in NYC."

No, its synonymous with being an American. Listen to any talk-radio finance show, or read any newspaper, Americans are all, generally, very much in debt. Its not moving that would help frum people, its learning to budget, and learning to say no to the next trend that comes their way. I just read in the Yated how a gemach throws out donated "out-of-style" clothes because no one wants to wear it.

ARE YOU KIDDING? ever hear beggers can't be choosers? You can't afford clothes, take what you can get, don't whine its out of style.

Anonymous said...

Frum skeptic, I think maybe you need to go back and repeat that economics course. Key to sales is also the idea of supply and demand. Your 10 stores will not necessarily result in lower prices in at least one of them. When an item is in high demand that is when a store can make its profit, and it won't make that profit by lowering prices. Gas prices have climbed out of sight. Check all the stations in a neighborhood and you will find that they are pretty much the same in price, any difference amounting to only a very few pennies. Retailers react to high demand by raising prices, not lowering them. They know that people will buy no matter what.

But what about items that are not in high demand? If a store or two in the same neighborhood lowers its price on apples then the other stores have more than one option. They can lower their prices to match the ones in the stores selling for lower. They can reduce prices but not as low as the first store. They can remain the same price. They can offer a different product at a lower price. If they lower their prices, then the first store's advantage is over and customers can then choose by other criteria. If they remain the same they are still not going to be losing money because of the third option. They can offer another item that people want at a lower price than the first store. Customers are then faced with questions of how to continue their shopping. Do they go to store 1 for apples, store 2 for bananas, store 3 for potatoes, store 4 for pears etc., or do they choose one place to shop, take whatever is on sale there and save themselves time and traveling. Close proximity does not change the decisions that need to be made.

Nor are you correct that in a place with only a few stores in the area that prices will remain high because there is no competition. More than one is already competition. Moreover stores that are sole providers in an area are more subject to consumer demand. Taking the "I'm the only game in town" attitude does not result in consumer retention. In areas where getting into a car is second nature there is no such thing as being stuck with only one provider. In the era of the Internet and online shopping, there is no such thing as being stuck with only one provider.

Prices in NY are not lower than other places for basic necessities. It is not only rent that is higher here than anywhere else in the country. So is milk, and bread, and eggs and all the other "little" necessities people require. Can you get a bargain in NY? Of course you can, if you really shop around and are willing to put in the time and legwork, just as in any other area of the country.

Please just note also: being talked about is not always an indication of the "goodness" of a person or place. So yes, people may talk about NY a lot, and a lot of what they say is not positive.

By all means, defend your home town, but please, a little rationality in doing so. No place is all good or all evil, NYC included.

frumskeptic said...

eddie: The rise in gas prices isn't exlusive to NY, its everywhere. And produce *IS* cheaper in NY. I've been out of town quite often. I've been to Boston, upstate NY (not catskills where all frummies drive up the prices in the summer), and I've been to Pa, and other such places. and residential areas not tourist areas. The supermarkets DO cost more money. And it IS for the simple reason that NYers would walk the extra block for the 15 cents, while the guy in Pa wouldn't drive to save 15 cents when it costs him more than 15 cents to get to the next place.

And if you go about the gas prices, then it being "second nature" for someone to enter a car will automatically actually ELIMINATE their chances of wasting so much gas. So there we go...NY public transportation is already better, and cheaper.

"So yes, people may talk about NY a lot, and a lot of what they say is not positive"

What negative? We're rude, snobby, self-centered, modern, rich? WOW...all the negatives.

Its the green monster of jealousy. I wish I was able to have a big house and a lawn, but do I care? NO. because I dont compare myself to other people. THEY do. they've got nothing better on their heads. "Oh look, the nyer is bored, and he has something other to do than prance around the mall like an idiot pretending to shop."

"Oh look, a NY mom doesn't only bake cookies all day for her kids. She's a stay-at-home with a life, she gets to bake coookies and see people, because she doesnt have to spend hours driving everyone everywhere!"

"Darn I hate NYers they're so SNOBBY." negatives. You got me...oh wait...they also think we live like animals right on top of each other. So what? You get used to it. You can actually mind your own business here.

frumskeptic said...

are you people forgetting that NYC doesn't have a tax on food? Or clothing?

Anonymous said...

“Most of the stuff on television isn't worth watching and most frum Jews aren't going to be working in that industry. Broadway at $150 a ticket and up and two-fers scarce is no bargain and not a selling point for frum Jews anyway.”

You have totally missed the point. It’s not people watching these shows that is a selling point, it’s people profitting from these shows that is the selling point. These people are lawyers, accountants, programmers, makeup artists, camera techs, light techs, costume designers, real estate, fornuture...

"Frum skeptic, I think maybe you need to go back and repeat that economics course. Key to sales is also the idea of supply and demand. Your 10 stores will not necessarily result in lower prices in at least one of them. When an item is in high demand that is when a store can make its profit, and it won't make that profit by lowering prices..." I think you are the one that needs to take an economic class. If an item is in high demand and 10 stores sell it and there is a shortage of said item then they will raise the price. But if said item is a perishable good and it's not in short supply then stores will lower prices to attract customers and make sale.

"Did you ever wonder why they call that highway in New Jersey the Garden State Parkway? Because Jersey is the Garden State. It's not the farms in NY that are providing the produce for NYC, it's New Jersey. And Florida. And California. And Mexico. " Exactly so local NJ tomatoes are going to be cheaper, but everything else would actually cost more because it needs a special delivery but in small quantity. NY receives its deliveries in bulk. No small stops that are time consuming (and therefor more expensive to the driver).

Let's take pineapples for example. A large tanker docks in NY with a shipment of pineapples. It's very easy and cheap to distribute part of that shipment among NY stores. Then the other part of the shipment is taken all the way to Marlboro NJ, or Lakewood. It would take that driver a whole day of work to deliver it to NJ. Do you really think that will not be reflected on the cost of pineapples? So, yes, you would end up eating cheaper tomatoes and other locally grown stuff, but then again there is a thing called seasons. So, local tomatoes would be cheaper in NJ store in summer/fall but they would be more expensive in the winter and spring, because they would have to be shipped from afar.

ProfK said...

If you are really interested in what cities cost across the board in the major divisions of the cost of living index go to

If we could tone down the venom a little, this posting was for the purpose of pointing out that NYC and environs is not the center of the known world. Those who are having difficulty making it here have lots of choice for other places to go. Yes, New York has many opportunities in many areas; there is a high cost for access to those opportunities. The higher salaries that are available in NYC in some employment areas are balanced out by the higher cost of living. The problem arises when the cost of living exceeds income.

Where the differential between salaries and outlay is minimum, budgeting, cutting down or back, changing spending patterns may help to balance the difference. But there are some areas where all the good money management in the world won't help.

The consumer index says housing is 29% of the index. Surely no one is arguing that housing in NY is cheap, whether you rent or you buy. Frum Jews are limited in where they can live because of the requirement of a shul in walking distance and fairly close access to kosher shopping and access to yeshivot for children. Since housing is the single biggest chunk of the budgeting dollar, it is also the place where the biggest savings can take place by leaving the area where housing costs are mega high. Nor is housing the only area where NY is higher than other places.

And the key word is "choice." NY is one choice among many. For those who think it is the best choice or the only choice, enjoy the city! For those whose financial concerns/lifestyle concerns preclude their enjoying the city, there are other choices of places to live.

G said...


Keep fighting the good fight...these people just don't get it!

You are my hero and totally represent all that NY stands for!

We know the truth, if they don't want this life...

Anonymous said...

The only answer is to require visas for New Yorkers when they leave the "holy" city. We need a warning when they leave town. The rest of us will need heavy vaccinations for when they come and visit, otherwise we might be exposed to and catch the "gaivah" virus which NY and New Yorkers are infected with.

Anonymous said...

Ethnocentrism and geocentrism is nothing new. People have for centuries become attached to where they live and have been willing to give their lives to protect those few acres. It's one reason why the Germans had so much success with their cry of "Deutchland uber alles." They'll divorce their spouses and leave their families with far less trouble then there would be if you suggest that they leave their land.

Anonymous said...

I don't often comment on blogs, and I usually enjoy reading yours and agree with what you have to say, but I can't help but notice that nowhere in this post do you mention leaving the US. I understand that different people have different perspectives on Israel as a state, but it is certainly less expensive to live here, even without counting the fact that this is our home, not America. Yes, it is difficult, but as you often imply, there are some things worth fighting for. Maybe instead of encouraging our people to populate a country we don't belong in, start encouraging them to fill our land.

Anonymous said...

Mac, you are right that you didn't hear of Israel as an option for moving. Many of us who would like to make the move to Israel but really can't, for reasons that are real, not made up. My grandparents, parents and all my siblings are here in the US. Being a two hour drive or flight from them is hard but it is not cutting myself off. Our jobs are not readily available in Israel. I don't want a husband who commutes back to the States two weeks a month leaving us without him. Children may be at the age where uprooting them to another US city would be hard enough but taking them to Israel where everything is different may be too hard for them. We don't have parents who can bankroll the move to Israel or all the expensive air tickets so we or they can come and visit so we aren't cut off from our families or buy an apartment. Even though Yisroel is our homeland that doesn't always mean that it can be the land where my home is. At least not now.

frumskeptic said...

I know this is an old post, but I was just reading an oped peice in today's post which made me ridiculously happy, as well as made me remember about this post.