Welcome to Kingston. Now Leave

Over the course of the past year, at Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan book events for the two essay anthologies I’ve edited about loving and leaving New York City, a good number of people have approached me with the same question: "Should I move to Kingston too?"

You Never Leave Houston

Houston, the fourth-largest city in America, has a self-esteem problem. Our local boosters are continuously looking for new branding approaches, commissioning expensive ads and websites extolling our municipal virtues. There was "Houston, It’s worth it;" "Houston is hip/tasty/inspired," and the latest "Houston, the city without limits." The city’s younger residents are partial to the more profane "Fuck You, Houston’s Awesome," in response to criticisms of the city. There are many reasons for this insecurity. For Houstonians, who know of our parks, our museums, our bars, our restaurants, our people, it can feel like the rest of the country has settled on an idea of the city that’s still stuck on fading memories of . There is also the nagging sense that perhaps they’re right; that Houston, for all of its diversity, for all of its affordability, for all of its expansiveness, maybe isn’t that awesome, and that better pastures lie just a plane ride away.

A Brooklyn Poet Has Moved To Detroit, Will Die Eventually

Well, well, well. Remember the Detroit Write A House fellowship we talked about, wherein a Detroit organization gives you the deed to a house if you agree to um, live in Detroit and blog about it for two years? Well, according to The Michigan Daily, they've declared a winner. That winner is a poet from Brooklyn.

Maybe Pittsburgh-Rich is Rich Enough

Further to Mike’s post about how much money people think they need to feel rich, and my own recent suggestion that we learn to be content with more modest artistic achievements, here is a synthesis of reasons why maybe you shouldn’t move to New York or San Francisco.

The article’s a little bit scattershot, and it gets confusing when comparing Austin, New York, and Pittsburgh while quoting Richard Florida (whose name is a place!), but here’s the TL;DR: Brooklyn and other traditional go-to places for those in search of artistic ferment are so expensive that creative people are finally willing to settle for a place like Pittsburgh, “where you can have a part-time job at a coffee shop, still afford a mortgage payment and be able to go out once a week.”

I’m guessing that bit about the mortgage is hyperbole, but the point stands: New York-poor is not just Pittsburgh-rich, it’s practically-everywhere-else-rich. So the questions that remain are, (1) is it enough to flourish creatively in Pittsburgh? and (2) are Pittsburgh, Hartford, Omaha, and all the other as-yet-ungentrified, small, post-industrial cities simply farther down the list of places that capitalism will ultimately embrace, devour, and make inaccessible to people of modest means?

Living Paycheck to Paycheck in Boston on $80,000 a Year

When I emigrated to the United States from England three years ago in an attempt to salvage my first marriage, I arrived with a duffel bag and less than $500 to my name. I moved into the basement of a house belonging to a married couple who attended my wife’s church. They didn’t charge me rent, but would later begrudgingly accept it when I insisted. 13 days after I arrived, I managed to secure a customer service job in a local print shop, a temp-to-perm position that paid a little more than minimum wage.

Hometown Stories: Rhinebeck, New York

I have left Rhinebeck many times in my life. The first time I left I was in the ninth grade, fed up with the small town and its lack of diversity, aghast at my freshmen English curriculum that trafficked solely in dead white men tempered with a dose of Pearl S. Buck. I moved to California and lived with my mother for the rest of high school and gained the kind of cultural education I never would have gotten in my hometown.