2 Graphic Designers moving from NYC to Chicago (anyone do the same?) (Evanston: homes, neighborhoods)
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Second, passive-aggressive behavior isn't just specific to the Midwest, and I'm sure the OP wouldn't encounter passive-aggressive behavior in their day to day life here. That type of behavior would be more reserved for office type situations.
Anyway, I don't buy into that ____________ is more friendly than ____________ thing. There are nice people, and mean people, everywhere...shocking concept right?
How does this add anything? The OP is looking for something new, the fact that New York has a lot to offer doesn't mean anything...especially from you.
This is a really good post.
I think that people are generally the same everywhere. I have found though, that if an area gets more sunshine or nice warm weather (Texas, for example), the people tend to be a little more laid back. I have also found that areas that are less stressful (rural areas as opposed to urban areas), the people are also more relaxed (but NOT open-minded), for lack of a better word. Stressed-out people tend to be miserable. Older folks, who tend to have a lot of aches and pains, also tend to be grumpy. But again, people tend to be the same everywhere.
When people say things like "People from _____ city/metro are just downright mean or jerky", it usually means that they went to that city, and had a bad experience with one person, and therefore, their judgement of the entire region is based on that.
But having said all of that, I lived in the Chicago burbs for four years, and I left there feeling that the people who live out there tend to be very sour. I generally met a lot of road rage drivers, people with bad attitudes, jerks, really bad, unfriendly customer service, etc. Maybe I just didnt fit in (who wants to hang out with them if they are a bunch of a-holes anyway?), but I can say that I was never really happy living there. But since I moved to the City almost 10 yrs ago, I have never been happier.
About the passive-aggressive thing, yes, that tends to be more in the office environment. I also see it though, on the roads and even in the checkout line as well (I always got that from older people; younger people, not so much), with people trying to cut in line, etc.
I would also like to add, that I have found that people from Europe (particularly from Germany and Britain) tend to be very friendly and personable. I much prefer hanging out with them. Whereas, people from places like the burbs, or Ohio (where I am from, originally), tended to have a lot of people who were difficult to ge along with. So, it could be true that differernt regions have different attitudes towards different things.
Thanks so much for your responses!
So as to avoid any meandering down the wrong path, I should clarify my 4th question/generalization. I believe what I am trying to get at is in regards to getting out of the city and finding activities beyond the normal city offerings. I travel outside of NYC rather often, but it is always a laborious task. The arrangement of the city and general geographical restraints definitely limits the ease in which one can take a day trip to go hiking, or explore a small town along the Hudson. I guess I am curious about the balance between living in Chicago and not being confined by it. Honestly, in my experience, most trips outside of NYC are a rather large hastle.
The problem isn't so much getting out of town on weekends, though you're likely to encounter at least some traffic. The problem is finding something interesting to see once you're outside of town. When Chicagoans want a change of scenery other than cornfields that stretch across endless miles of land so flat you could play billiards on it, most of us head up to central and northern Wisconsin, or if you're from the south side/south suburbs, swing on over to Michigan, and make an entire weekend of it. To get to anything even approximating something like upstate New York, you have to drive a solid 5 hours, and you'll drive through cornfields for 4 of those 5 hours.
BTW, not sure what your issue with PokerPlayer is. His posts are pretty spot-on.
I don't know you all budget but I will recommend three communities.
Lincoln Park - It's close to downtown and it's very busy - somewhat diverse due to the amount of traffic that passes through the community.
East Rogers Park - This is a really diverse community and it's considered the Bloggiest community in the state of Illinois. You can find some beautiful condos here for a bargin. The fifth "bloggiest" neighborhood in America | The Blog | Chicago Reader (http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheBlog/archives/2007/09/17/fifth-bloggiest-neighborhood-america - broken link)
Evanston - Northern Suburb that has access to CTA ; which makes for easy commutes to downtown.
OK, I'll try. I am from the Chicago area, a real Midwestern person, but I lived in NYC (very recently).
1. Chicago is cheaper: Yes, you can live in the center of Chicago for a lot less than the center of NY and SOME areas of BKLYN & QNS. Once outside the center, you can even find little old houses to rent if you want to blast your music and have wild parties, grow pot in the basement - yet still respect your neighbors. I think, however, that there are so many more interesting neighborhoods outside of MNHTN that don't cost as much as Chicago's center. For example, my nephew rents a great 2BR up by Fordham in the Little Italy area of the Bronx. Of course, I am a mixed race so I fit in anywhere where there are minorities. Many people I know cannot stand the Bronx. To me, it's like Miami of the north. I love it. I also adore Ironbound in Newark, Jersey. Sure, long commute, but Chicago doesn't have anything like it - the women of Ironbound, let's just say they are hot. Or Journal SQ in JC, especially when I worked at GS. Easy commute. All of those Brownstones right next to JP Morgan. Astoria in Queens I prefer over so many Chi-town areas, easy commute to Midtown, anyways I digress...but yes, if you want to be in the center - ChiCen is the way to go over MNHTN.
2. Chicago has more green space: The lakefront is a tension easer, and that's what gives it the feeling of space, and for that reason alone, I prefer Chi over NYC - I feel like I can breathe... breathe in the air, don't be afraid to care, leave but don't leave me, look around choose your own gound - Pink Floyd, DSOTM 1973. However, if you take in consideration total parkland, NYC's got more. It's just that it takes a while to get to, since much of it is located in the Bronx and Queens. Once you get away from the Chi lakefront, nice parks start to get quite scarce - although there are a few gems and they are becoming safer by the minute.
3. Chicago is friendlier: This one is funny. Overall, I would say yes, they are less direct/more reserved in my opinion, like me for example - so I tend to call that friendlier. I certainly am quite reserved to people, until I have gotten to know them a little better - but it's hard for me to compare to NY, cause I think the people in NYC are quite different. For one thing, while Chi has an Italian heritage, it is nowhere close to the millions that live and dominate many aspects of life in the NYC metro. The Italian influence in NYC is way more important than in Chi. Being mixed race, I prefer NYC people, cause I love brunettes, and they have hotter brunettes in NYC. In Chi, I love the Polish, Romanian, and Russian girls, they are freakin awesome. In the end, though, it really doesn't matter to me friendly/unfriendly, since I'm from Chi area, I could care less how friendly the people are. But then, I didn't care in NYC. I think everyone has been unfriendly at one time or another in one's life. You know what I mean? WTF? WGAS? Just do your own thing, and don't worry about if someone is mean to you, sob sob, tears rolling down.
4. Chicago has a lot to offer. Weeknights in Chi are the same as NYC, like when summer comes Chi is totally awesome, but anyways get off work, maybe go home, maybe to the gym, run along the lake, bike, play tennis when it's warm, outdoor concert when it's warm, maybe to a bar, maybe to the restaurant, maybe do a little shopping, intellectual conference, etc. and that's just me, I'm sure everyone here has a lot of suggestions for weeknight fun. Oh yeah, Thursday nights at the AIC is cool. HOWEVER, the best thing about weeknights if you live in the Center is that you'll be close by to all of these activities (except tennis, which is packed). There are a lot of weeknight activities that do not involve drinking/bars/hooking up, so that's refreshing. In NYC, you have fun in the City then take the train back to Brooklyn, like Bensonhurst or something, in Chi you can walk home, easy train ride, or easy cab. Since you have a girlfriend, you've got the sex part covered, so that also makes it easier, jajaja. Weekends, I'm originally from the area, so I enjoy going to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan, depends on my mood (I've got a lot of family in Wisconsin), but it ain't the Adirondacks mind you. In NYC, I would get up on Sat morning at 4-5am and drive to Montreal, I love that place. Milwaukee just doesn't compare, LOL. Having said that, I love the Northwoods in WI, the beaches/little towns in MI, and UP in MI is awesome. You really can get away from it all up there - except in the 6 month winter it's kind of freezing my ass off.
So, for me, Chicago > NYC, but that's cause I'm from the area.
But you know, c-d is a nice sociological thing, but really you should just go for it and move to Chicago. Time will tell if you made the right decision. I used to travel all over the place until I realized the perfect spot is where I am at all times, LOL. I ended up moving to Miami. A totally different animal, but I feel quite comfortable here, cause I think it's more minority friendly than Chi.
Last edited by Michael Di Meo; 04-09-2010 at 08:59 AM..
Chicago is home to Luis Gutierrez, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Farrakhan, and most recently the new head of AIPAC. Does anyone here ever think? or just repeat cliches? The racists in Chicago are professionals, and they are not the white people. I used to buy into this idea that there were these mythical middle-aged conspiratorial Archie Bunkers around, but now that I am middle-aged myself, living in Chicago for 20+ years, I can tell you that the racists here are non-whites. My how TV programming has worked. The new head of AIPAC is about my age. He's from Chicago, he's far more plugged into race and racism than your average white Chicagoan, BY FAR.
I'm guessing the difference in cost of living in Chicago might mean that you guys will be able to do more or "better" activities than you would in NYC which by itself might make the whole move worthwhile.
1. Chicago is cheaper: one can have a nicer apartment for less, with amenities that most Brooklyn apartments don't have (laundry, dish washer, more space)
I think you have that in check no matter what style place you choose. 2. Chicago has more green space: NYC may have Central Park and Prospect Park, but Chicago appears to have more parks and greenery distributed throughout the city
I'm not so sure about that, it definitely has a better WATER front though, Chicago does not have an answer for central park though. 3. Chicago is friendlier: this one I'm totally unsure on. NYC is not "unfriendly", but it is hard to meet friends here, people don't go out of their way to hold a door or say "good morning" etc.
Eh I dunno, they are both pretty hustle bustle... People in Chicago seem a little less stressed though.
4. Chicago has a lot to offer. In my experience in NY, daily activities are limited. Weekend plans usually revolve around going out to eat, shopping, hitting a bar, or catching a movie. NYC is very vibrant and active, but much of my social activities revolve around shopping, eating, and drinking. That may simply be city life in general, but I think we are both looking for a "richer" exchange. The usual city draws of museums and galleries are important, but in regards to day to day life, finding fun outlets to balance the stress. We love biking, seeing indie bands, etc. But miss getting out of the city to explore, etc.
I think that is just city lief in general... NYC is definitely more vibrant and active than Chicago, so you are taking a step down, but there is still more than enough to do. It is probably a better city to bike in.
I'll admit, after early non-helpful comments I have avoided checking in on this post- but I was pleasantly suprised at all the helpful information and opinions everyone has offered! Thanks so much!
There's been a lot of talk regarding the "Chicago is friendlier" idea, which I'll admit is totally subjective and difficult to answer. I think this one is hard to describe but I can offer my perspective of NY for reference. Please don't take these as blanket statements, but just as thoughts on my own personal experience:
NYC is not unfriendly, but does not go out of its way to be friendly. People tend to keep to themselves in public settings. Generally, people don't strike up a conversation or smile at a stranger or seem to engage with their surroundings. If you hold the door for someone in New York, often you find yourself holding the door for several minutes as many others rush through. It is a rarer occasion that someone stops and realizes what is going on and allows you to pass.
There is a distinct community feel to neighborhoods, which is nice, but the idea of putting up walls seems to almost permeate the social interactions of fellow New Yorkers. Social groups form, but the friendships are based more on exclusivity and keeping others out than inclusivity and a general interest in making friends. Meeting new people is definitely possible, but I feel that there is a "tough New Yorker" shell that one has to crack through in order to have a more lasting interaction. I think this is largely based on the shear number of people a New Yorker interfaces with in a given day.
I really do respect and appreciate being a New Yorker, but that said, a nice guy doesn't last long here. One has to be a little more cynical and a little more closed off just to feel at ease in a city of over 8 million people. I am guilty of sticking to my group of friends and not being overly friendly and engaging to strangers. The longer I stay the harder it is to think about living anywhere else. Yet, after six years of people rushing through the door, I still do not hesitate to hold it.
I'll make a few short comments. I'm a Chicago resident of 12 years, but have spent quite a bit of time in NYC. I like NYC a lot, but Chicago is better--hands down--on 3 of your 4 criteria.
Chicago is A LOT cheaper. I'm single, live in a three bedroom, 2.5 bath place in East Village with views of the skyline, two decks, a 10 minute walk to the L, and can walk to good bars and restaurants. $1900/mo.
I don't know how the parks break down. Chicago feels a lot greener, mostly because our streets have a lot more trees than New York. (When I say NYC, I mean Manhattan and Brooklyn, not Queens and Staten Island.) Chicago's access to the lake is maybe better than any other city's waterfront in the world. There's not one building on our lake front for 18 miles. Amazing. We also have several *large* parks scattered around the city.
I travel a lot for work and the only time I feel like the people are "not nice" are when I'm in the North East in general. Philly/Boston/Jersey/NYC. People in Chicago are friendlier than they are in New York because New York and the Northeast are just a lot more aggressive and neurotic. It's seems when ever I'm in the Newark airport, some guy in mirrored glasses and an Ed Hardy t-shirt is yelling "F*ck you!" into his phone. There's a lot less of that.
As far as life-style, it's easier to live the life you want in Chicago, I think. Clubs and house music is here, but it's a lot easier to find your own corner without having to feel you've left the city. My lifestyle is mostly shopping, eating and drinking though, just like it would be in NYC or San Francisco or Montreal or London. There's tons of cultural and recreational things to do in Chicago and in other world-class urban areas, but if you don't join a softball team or look for some new band to see in NYC, I'm not sure it's any more likely to happen in Chicago. It is easy to get out of the city in Chicago, but Chicago really suffers from not having a lot of rural charm around it. There's nature and charm in Michigan and Wisconsin; you can find charming old antique shops and historic main streets if you head to old river towns; but within a two hour drive, ho hum. NYC has more and better stuff outside of the city. How can you beat New England for that?
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