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Cooped up in tiny apartments, rattled by disease and demonstrations, and worried about their children’s education, hundreds of thousands escaped from New York this year — and not just for nearby suburbs.
The post office received 295,103 change of address requests from March 1 through Oct. 31, according to data The Post obtained from the US Postal Service under a Freedom of Information Act request. While many city dwellers decamped to Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester and Connecticut, others scattered across the country.
The Postal Service data shows only the destination ZIP codes and counties where more than 10 New Yorkers forwarded their mail — and it points to places like Park City, Utah; Jackson, Wyo., and Brattleboro, Vt.
The Post talked to five New Yorkers about why they made the move to far-flung places. While they are happy where they landed, most said part of them still yearns for the Big Apple.
“I miss the vibe. I miss the people. I miss the pulse of the city,” said Sarah Platt-Finger, who moved from Brooklyn to Boca Raton, Fla. “It’s noticeably absent here.”
Alyssa Miller: From West Village to Santa Monica
When Miller took a break in June from the city and the long lockdown, she flew to Los Angeles to visit friends.
“They picked me up from the airport and our first stop was the beach for sunset. It was in that moment that I realized that I wasn’t going back,” said Miller, 45, who runs AM Mediaworks, a global PR firm specializing in education and online learning. “After that everything magically fell into place.”
By August, Miller had given up her West Village rental and moved to a bungalow in Santa Monica just three blocks from the beach, where she enjoys the sunshine and ready access to hiking and surfing.
Miller said being able to be outdoors now, as COVID-19 cases spike again, was “fueling my sanity.”
Sarah Platt-Finger: From Williamsburg to Florida
With her ISHTA yoga studio shuttered and the business moved online, and her family stuck inside a small Williamsburg apartment, Platt-Finger said it made sense to look to live elsewhere.
Her husband longed to go to Florida and his sister found them the perfect house in Boca Raton in a good school district for their 9-year-old daughter.
“I couldn’t talk myself out of it,” Platt-Finger, 42, said. “If it wasn’t going to happen now it wasn’t going to happen.”
She said she will return to the city for business and, although she misses it, her days of living in the Big Apple were done “for the foreseeable future.”
Tom Haley: From FiDi to Vermont
As COVID-19 cases started to surface around the world, Haley, 57, did a quick calculation about his life in Manhattan, where he’d lived with his wife for six years.
“What makes that wonderful city work so well is that vertically you use elevators and horizontally you use subways. When both those elevators and subway cars become high-risk areas, that started to concern me,” said Haley, who works in sales.
He left his FiDi rental in February and moved to a house the couple owned in Pawlet, Vt. He said he misses his friends, but when he returned in late March, he felt he had made the right choice.
“To see tumbleweeds blowing down the street, so to speak, that was sad,” he said. “We feel very fortunate and very lucky for our situation.”
Francie Webb: From Harlem to Virginia
Webb, 39, spent 65 days hunkered down in her family’s 750-square-foot Harlem apartment with her husband, two children and another on the way when she realized she’d had enough.
“It just got old. I felt really bad for our kids. I felt like they were missing out,” said Webb, a doula and lactation professional.
The family went to visit relatives in Virginia in May and decided to stay, easily securing a house outside of Richmond. She called the quality of life “wonderful,” but says she has conflicting emotions.
“We miss the city so deeply,” she said. “We take some solace in the fact that people keep saying, it’s not the same or it’s not the city you know.”
Jessica Moy: From Williamsburg to Hawaii
Moy loved her Williamsburg apartment, but the warm beaches of Waikiki, Hawaii, beckoned. She left for the Aloha State in October where she is living with her boyfriend and a friend in a short-term rental.
“I always wanted to work remotely in a different area,” said Moy, 28. “I chose Hawaii because It was safe enough where I was still in the states, but it’s very different.”
Now she has to wake up at 4:30 a.m. for her job at the FiG advertising agency, where she is the delivery manager, but she is enjoying the change of scenery. She plans to come back to the Big Apple next year and is already monitoring falling apartment rents.
“If there is a good opportunity, we’ll just nail that down come January or February,” she said.