Many years ago I vowed never to return to Long Island. So after living in various NYC areas, I somehow ended up in Long Beach. I honestly never thought I’d move back to Nassau, but Long Beach was the one exception (and still is). Why did I come here? Well, the beach, the restaurants, the events, City-like atmosphere, boardwalk, lifestyle, access to NYC via LIRR; it’s truly an area that cannot be beat. There is that sense of community factor – I go to local stores and see people I know. I can walk or bike everywhere. There is always something going on that entertains me. Long Beach has a strong sense of being, a place where I belong.
Yes, we do have many issues here in LB. Not everything is awesome. Many folks still aren’t back in their homes or are struggling to get them back to normal, many businesses are struggling to stay open, our downtowns need major love and care and our infrastructure is aging and sometimes falling apart (see – broken water main). The cost of living is increasing, rent is going up (as we learned the other day) making it harder and harder to get by. Yet…. I see friends move to Brooklyn or Manhattan where the cost of living is just as high and is also increasing at an alarming rate. They live in tiny apartments, pay high rent, but are ok with it – as long as they live in Brooklyn or Manhattan. So is the cost of living on Long Island really driving people away? Or is it the Long Island lifestyle that’s doing it?
I keep hearing how the suburban model is dead. Younger people don’t want to live in an area filled with national-tenant shopping centers, sitting-in-a-car traffic and dead space. They want culture, great food, excitement, a sense of being. At least thats the feeling I got when all my friends decided to move away from Long Island so many years ago. There is also the job-factor. Long Island is turning into a service island. Industry and jobs are moving out, retail is moving in. Take Avis Car Rental for example. Their main headquarters used to be in Carle Place off Old Country Road until they moved to Florida several years ago. Now that property has been replaced with the GAP, Starbucks and Shake Shack – in an area that had 2 Gaps (one in the dying Source Mall) and several Starbucks already.
I am babbling and probably contradicting myself, but here’s the Newsday article that got me all fired up (NEWSDAY: Maragos presses plan to counter ‘alarming’ population trends in Nassau) There is not one mention of the Long Island lifestyle as factor, but I truly believe it’s being overlooked.
“Nassau must address “alarming” trends showing the county’s population will decline by 3 percent over the next decade, with fewer children and young adults but a rapidly growing number of seniors, according to a report by Comptroller George Maragos.
……”These are disturbing trends,” he said. “Young adults are going away to college and are never returning.”
The report cited expensive housing and a dearth of high-paying jobs in attractive fields as the key factors in Nassau’s declining population of young people.