Dear New York…

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I’ve hinted on social media and it’s been in the works for what seems like a long time, but now it’s really happening. In just a couple weeks I’m leaving New York. We bought a house right outside Chicago and I’m heading back to the Midwest with the hope of creating a happier and easier life for our little family. (More on that, our house, DIYs, pics of it etc!)  I am both excited and heartbroken. I have lived here 10 years, more consecutive years than any other city in my life and it hurts. I thought NYC deserved a little break up letter, so here goes:

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Dear New York,

I love you, but I’m leaving you…classic last words right? After 10 years of calling you my home, my little family and I are leaving for a little more space, a little more quiet, and a little more ease in our lives as a family with small kids.

When I moved here right after college I felt like the world was at my fingertips…. Everything happens here. The energy you gave me from the first day I called you my home thrilled me then, and it still does now.

I love you for the people that you brought into my life. In the last 10 years the friendships I have formed, the dinners out, the Broadway shows, the karaoke nights, dessert eating, game playing, drink having, and park hang-outs were everything to me. I love the excitement of walking out my door, feeling your electric energy in the air, and seeing what exciting things the day would offer. That was our best day. Just you & me, no plans, headphones in my ear, walking to the soundtrack of my own little movie. I will miss those days.

You took good care of me. There were many different jobs, 2 apartments, the right friends at the right time, sometimes the wrong ones. It was here I had the idea to start my blog and the city nurtured and helped that dream grow. You also brought along some heartbreak, so many bad dates, and then just enough good ones to protect me from becoming too jaded and eventually meeting Andy. We fell in love on your streets, and I’ll never forget our first New Years Eve together in Times Square, away from the crowd, in our own little world where we could witness something so amazing and chaotic together first hand. I remember standing there right in the middle of it all and just feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

Here is what I will miss about you: Central Park in the Fall, Broadway shows, progressive dinners through the East Village having only an appetizer and a cocktail at each stop, small hole in the wall treasures you are sure no one else knows about, people watching, the museums, and the people. Oh my people. I could write a whole post about those that crossed my path during the New York years, but I just don’t have the time.

Thank you for welcoming me. For being company even when I felt so alone, for always bringing the right places, experiences, and people into my life at the right time. I will always love you more than any other city in the world. I will always come back to you with hope that you haven’t changed too much. I’ve changed and you haven’t and that’s why I have to leave but I’m glad. Please stay the same forever. (Well maybe a less rats and crowds and garbage heaps? More of that next…)

Here is what I won’t miss: The crowds. Sometimes I loved them, but most of the time I just wanted to get where I needed to go and everyone was in my way. I won’t miss feeling like I’m missing out on all the city has to offer, and yet being too tired and overwhelmed to even try to adventure with small kids.

I won’t miss the lack of green space, the MTA, the stairs, the lack of elevators, and the general “not kid friendly”ness of if all. I think if it were just us I could stay forever, but I am more than just us, and I have grown and need a back yard, and a porch and just more space. Andy and I need more than one room to hang out in after the kids go to bed, and the ability to breathe. I won’t miss the rude people who shove past me without saying sorry, or the annoying people who linger around the streets and ask you “Who does your hair?” trying to sell you a (total scam) spa package. (Trust me- I bought it my first summer here.) Well maybe I’ll miss all of that a little bit…because it makes you you.

I will always love you. You shaped me. Thank you for everything, truly.

Love,

Audra

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We move in two weeks and I can’t wait to start blogging regularly when we are settled. Expect lots of recipes, a house tour, inside looks at all our DIY projects we have planned and Chicago foodie stuff once I get into the swing of things. This blog started with an itty bitty kitchen in NYC, now it will be from a beautiful roomy kitchen in Chicago…thanks for sticking with me!

All photos by Nadia Quinn around Long Island City, D.U.M.B.O, and the Brooklyn Bridge

17 Comments

  1. Yey congrats Audra!! This will be an adventure too :)

  2. awwww this makes me think of when I left and my goodbye letter to NY. It’s funny how that city seems to have its own personhood. It’ll always be in our hearts, but as someone else who headed back to the Midwest–you won’t regret it!! I’m so happy for you guys and I know this change will be so so good for everyone <3

  3. Congratulations to you and your beautiful family and good luck with your move. I am looking forward to reading all about it and seeing pictures of your new home!!

  4. Nicole S, says:

    I currently live in the city of Chicago and am pining to move to the suburbs. less concrete, more trees! Plus, we’re on child #4 come October, so I definitely understand how difficult it is to live in a city with littles. And paying for parking everywhere??? Yuck!

  5. What a bittersweet transition! I did the move from NY to Chicago several years ago and although there was a bit of culture shock, I can honestly say it was a great decision. If you have questions or anything feel free to reach out any time! [email protected] And good luck with the move!

  6. Baker Momma says:

    This post made me cry and laugh and then cry, in that order. All said I’m happy home will be closer to home.

  7. Wow – I’ve gotten really behind on your blog but caught it this morning. What an amazing adventure you are embarking on. Lots of change – and lots of positive energy going into it. Will get back to reading you regularly so I can follow you on this new adventure. Good luck and have lots of fun!

  8. Congratulations! I came to Chicago by way of New York too (after 17 years there!). But I grew up in Michigan and when my husband as transferred to Chicago, it was devastating and exciting all at the same time. I miss my close friends and NY pizza like crazy, but being closer to my family (and four young nieces!) has been beyond rewarding . And after almost four years here, Chicago has become more my home than NY ever was! (Although, I downplay that with my husband because I tortured him to no end when he first told me about the transfer! )

  9. I haven’t been to New York yet, but your letter made me tear up. YOr love and affection for this city shone through your words and it was plain how heartbreaking it is for you to say goodbye to the city you grew to love and be accustomed to in the past 10 years. You are also saying goodbye to young Audra, who came to the big city with the big dreams and excitement of youth, who dated and explored alone. And you have changed so much. Now there are some things, some different things that matter more than the contsnat buzz, energy and the variety of events. I completely get you. We live in Budapest, the capital of Hungary (Europe) with a population of more than 2 millions. And I always considered myself a city girl, loving the buzz, energy of the city that restaurants, museums and bars were always open and people were on the street even at night. But lately, I’ve been thinking more and more of moving to a house with a garden, overseeing green tress, where I doN’t hear the noise of the city just birds and the wind through the trees. I wonder if I would miss the city after 2 weeks of leaving it behind or if I’ve really changed and need something else. Still on the fence, but I can’t wait to have a trial run and move to the suburbs and experience a quieter and more balanced life soon.

    Wishing you and your family all the best, and can’t wait to see photos of the house, porch, backyard!! :-) Good luck to you, I’m sure you’ll make it a very happy home with lots of great memories and laughter! :-)

  10. I wish you the best !!!! I have moves cities so many times and I am also in a new city right now, Santiago, Chile …. kisses…. Ximena

  11. Congratulations and the best of luck to you and your family!

  12. Although I’ve never lived in NY, I’ve visited quite a bit in the past 3 years and can totally relate to almost everything you said here! It was so great to meet you today. It was an awful day but I loved meeting you and your beautiful kids who did such an amazing job enduring the awfulness. “Arriving” 2 times after going absolutely nowhere was cruel for anyone but especially for all the little ones on board. I was so glad to see that you were booked on the later flight with us. And, that we were finally able to actually arrive. My family wishes your family all the best in Chicago. Another great city! I hope to meet up with you again – maybe in the audience of a production with you or your husband! Have a smooth rest of your move, okay?!

  13. I don’t often comment, but I always read your recipes and have made so many of them. I’m so happy for you – to have space to raise your family. I live in the west (Arizona) so I can’t imagine how it is to raise a family with not much space and so much crowdedness (is that a word). I have been to NYC many times and do love it – but it’s like a different world to me!

  14. I can’t wait to see the great pictures and more recipes from your Chicago home! Congrats to you and your family! :)

  15. How do I receive info about your blog or new recipes ?
    I am an instant fan, as I am waiting for your banana bread recipe to come out of the oven, I m trying to find a way to sign up so I don’t lose your awesomeness in the abyss of the web. I just read your break up letter to New York, brilliant! Mybwife and I we’re just discussing how people can deal with living there especially with small children. We have a 3 yr old who loves to help cook. Being from the Boston area We’ve been to NYC many many times and by the 3rd day we end up anxiety ridden and feeling dirty even after a shower. You can’t beat the energy though. We love where we live . A small coastal town called Beverly about 26 miles north of Boat. Anyway, once again, I’m an instant fan and would love to make more of your recipes and maybe share some of my own . I am a musician and a foodie and many people say if I wasn’t a musician I should be a chef. You see, I love cooking for friends and family, and that’s it. Music is in my soul and I HAVE to do it to survive so, because of that, it’s my profession.
    Best wishes to you and your family and I look forward to reading your blogs.
    Scott

  16. Hi Audra,
    I have followed you for a few years on your blog. I love your recipes and honesty! It is so refreshing :). We just moved from the Chicago suburbs to north of Milwaukee, which I know is close to your heart :). Enjoy your new home and much love to you and your beautiful family.

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