They had reason to leave town. So why are their friends crazy?

“There was a real feeling that they felt betrayed,” said Dr Frey, who is now on staff at Erie County Medical Center and who recently launched The Prudent Plastic Surgeon, a counseling website. as an investment intended for his medical colleagues. “We have a lot of, ‘How can you leave? New York is in trouble and you need to stand together. And it was clear to me that I was not doing that. Our way of handling this was to point out to our friends that we love New York City and don’t give up when needed. But we still felt judged.

Of course, moving is always a big deal, and not just for people who pack their belongings. The ground also trembles under the feet of the friends who remain, and who could be forgiven for feeling like U-Haul is breaking down the old gang.

But when the city that remains is New York, the level of annoyance seems particularly high; it sounds like a personal insult to the friends of the future ex-resident. Now take the pandemic into account and the distress begins to move into the red zone – outrage.

“People who left New York during Covid decided the city was not safe enough, was not attractive enough, was not good enough, was too expensive,” said Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor at psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center. “And their friends may see this as an indictment of their own choosing, especially if they are ambivalent about their choice. A defense could be: “I am a loyal person and I am loyal to my city, and you are all abandoning it.”

The accusation of abandonment was particularly painful for Joel Schnell, 72, a longtime New Yorker – that is, until last year, when he lost his income and was also became increasingly concerned about her 97-year-old mother living alone in Florida.

“So: pandemic, no income, my mother … We thought it was time to go to the beach and hide,” said Mr. Schell, who works in women’s fashion. “The truth is, we were afraid to be in New York.”

The pandemic was raging in November 2020 – as were, in fact, some of Mr Schnell’s friends – when he and his wife, Lynne White, a former news anchor, sold their co-op on the Lower East Side. and lighted up for a two bedroom rental in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

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