NYC born and raised - 1/23/2008
... And I just love this place. And, no, I didn't come here with a NY job, nor NY money in my pocket. I did come with a family and got a professional job, however. We're doing all right, and I highly doubt I could say the same if we were back in the suburbs of the big town. You want to talk expensive? Taxes? We have it so good here by comparison.
Which leads me to another point.. Try this: open up Google Maps or some such in another window and drift down the East Coast with your cursor. Type in coastal cities on this site and look at the comments. As you head south of here, the money and population density becomes more and more of an issue with posters. Once you hit the South, crime and heat come into play. Then try the Northwest, like Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Folks were generally upset about money as a rule, but climate and crime are big woes (the lack of sun seemed to really depress a lot of posters there). In affordable regions like Utah, for instance, stranger issues arise like closed communities due to religious practices and such. I read also about the influx of Californians and their arrival driving up real estate, goods & services, etc.
My point in this exercise is to illustrate that it is all rather relative. You have to trade one (or two) inconveniences about a place for the positive benefits. Of course, one has to be realistic. You can't live normally in a high crime area if you have a family. You can't live in an extreme climate if you're elderly or infirm. You can't live in a highbrow city if you have no job or job skills that will afford you the cost of living. But here in Portland, we trade a warmer climate and higher cost of living for good schools, beautiful surroundings, safety, green space, an urban trails system, an amazing array of places to eat (per capita, it's impressive!), the convenience of nearby shopping, very little congestion, a steady economy... I could go on with little details, but you get the idea. I came from, and still visit the NYC area frequently, and, though that city is dear to my heart, I'm glad I live here.
Come visit and take this test: Drive to the east end of the city to the Eastern Promenade park. Get out (doesn't matter what time of year it is, honestly) and look across Casco Bay. Ask yourself, "Is there any city left in this country that has this kind of view right in town?" And, if you can come up with one, I'll bet anything that you can't get a 3 BR cape for under 250K in that city. You can here, there's one that just sold 'round the corner from my house. Honestly, there's no cities like Portland left on the East Coast, or maybe anywhere.