Any day now, New York will officially lose its standing as the nation’s third-most populous state to Florida, according to the Census Bureau.
Ten percent of those permanently flying, driving or hitching south are from New York. How do most people decide to abandon our state — and great city — for the land of George Zimmerman and Gov. Rick Scott? After interviews, I’ve discovered it’s usually a three-step process: 1) step outside, 2) fall on ice, 3) head to airport.
Nope, this brutal winter has not helped our standing. Yesterday’s winter storm makes seven in six weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, most of those making the move to Florida are not seniors. Forty percent of those migrating south are younger than 25, census figures show.
Ever been to Florida? Beside the heat and micro-bikinis on South Beach, the next thing you notice are the store names: New York Pizza, New York Bagels. Of course, the bagels and pizza in Florida would make a real New Yorker retch. But I guess over time nostalgia overtakes memory.
If you are pondering the move, here are a few things to keep in mind. As a walking city with 24/7 public transportation, New York is one of the only places in the nation where a car is unnecessary. In Florida not only will you need wheels, but you’ll have to deal with lunatics speeding down I-95 while yakking on their cellphones. Under a very weak state law, Florida drivers can text while driving, if they’re willing to pay a laughable $30 fine if stopped.
As opposed to our strict gun laws, you can stroll in to your Florida Walmart and pick up an assault rifle along with sunscreen and a 32-ounce soda.
Then again, you can swim in the ocean year-round! Just keep in mind that like the wealthy New York “snowbirds” with two homes who fly down for the winter, sharks are usually spotted in Florida waters until about mid-April as well.
Yes, more people perhaps will smile and say good morning to you in sunny Florida. Then again, if you don’t respond properly, they may pull a gun on you, especially if they feel threatened by your NYC accent.
Still thinking of leaving? Proceed at your own risk.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.