Escape from New York - with a twist

Let me tell you the true story of a married couple whom I will refer to as Donna and Frank, as they must remain anonymous.  Let's just say that I know them well.  Donna is in her early 30's, and Frank is in his early 40's.

Donna and Frank have lived in various areas of Brooklyn NY for the past five years.  Their last apartment was a one-room concrete "cave" on the fifth floor of a converted warehouse.  It had very little lighting, with two windows that looked out at a bleak, aging wall of neighboring apartment windows.  It had no individual temperature control, so the apartment was stifling hot most of the time.  The elevator continually reeked of urine.

Next to the front entrance of the building, an elevated section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway provided a constant deafening cacophony of diesel engines and honking truck and auto horns.  A depressing amount of garbage covered the sidewalks along Park Avenue and underneath the expressway.  Donna would often walk her dog to a small park several blocks away, where she would be greeted by a group of men who made their homes under picnic tables and park benches lined with discarded cardboard and Styrofoam.

Donna never told me how much she paid for rent, but I would guess that it was in the $2500-$3000 per month range.  She said that they were very lucky to have found such a good apartment in a desirable area of the city.

She made a six-figure salary, which provided them a nearly paycheck-to-paycheck existence.  A long bus ride and two subway changes were required to get to her job in midtown-Manhattan. 

Frank recently got his Master's degree in education.  It took him over a year to finally get his NY teaching certification, as his application kept getting lost in the morass of state government bureaucracy.  After two years of trying, he found it impossible to get a teaching job in NYC because of his race and gender (Caucasian male), and the priority given to previously laid-off teachers (which are legion).  Because of his low priority status, he was unable even to obtain an unpaid intern position.  His status as an honorably discharged veteran was of no use.

They considered starting a small business, but were discouraged by the oppressive city and state regulations, taxes, and fees.

This is the city where 70% of the voters elected an avowed supporter of Communism as mayor.  It is the state where the governor warns those who believe in traditional marriage, the Second Amendment, and the sanctity of life that they are not welcome.  And it is the city where the previous billionaire mayor declares that he will dedicate his fortune to spreading his NYC political agenda to the rest of America and the world.

Last week, Donna and Frank finally left NYC for good. 

It was as if they had died and gone to heaven.  Well, to Orlando, Florida to be exact.  Donna was able to snag another six-figure full time position.  But Orlando's cost of living is about half of NYC's, so she essentially doubled her income.  Frank obtained a Florida teaching certification within three days of their arrival. 

They moved into their luxurious downtown $1500 per month apartment, located in a newly-constructed contemporary-style building, with a brand new washer and dryer in the apartment (as opposed to a coin laundry in a dungeon-like basement in their Brooklyn apartment), a state-of-the-art fitness and cross-training center, and a rooftop infinity pool.  From their balcony, they have a gorgeous view of Lake Eola and the Orlando skyline.

They researched the area for starting a business, and found Orlando to be a very business-friendly environment with few stifling regulations and fees.  Of course, they pay no state or local income taxes there.  Their future suddenly appears very bright.

There is an ironic twist to this story, however.  Frank is a card-carrying member of ISO (International Socialist Organization).  Donna has also been brainwashed by the socialist siren song.  Their library is filled with Noam Chomsky, and radical posters decorate their walls with phrases such as "Turn Off Faux News!"

When I expressed my distain for Obamacare back in 2009, Donna accused me of being a murderer, and asked incredulously, "Why are you against free healthcare?"  I couldn't convince her otherwise.  Their idyllic vision of socialism is where "we will all govern each other".

Frank explained to me that they chose to live in Orlando because that is a part of the state which will still be above water when man-made global warming causes the oceans to rise.

These are two otherwise intelligent, educated, and well-spoken individuals, as are many other left-leaning people.  The only characteristic that seems to stand out in all of them is a streak of apparent emotional immaturity I would describe as "willful naiveté". 

Please do not give me the analogy of rats leaving a ship they helped to sink, only to help sink the lifeboat.  I prefer not to think of Donna and Frank in those terms, as apropos as they might be.

My only hope is that someday the irony will become apparent to them.  That the reason they chose to escape their socialist paradise of NYC is because it doesn't work, and that the personal success and freedom they desire are only achievable in the capitalistic free-market environment they so disdain.

Andrew Thomas blogs at

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