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New Yorkers Discover Rural Life Isn’t ‘Greener Grass’

During COVID-19, New York City residents started moving into the country. The 13,000-plus member Facebook group “Into the Unknown” unites people “who have decided or are considering to join the exodus from NYC to greener pastures.” But the grass has not been greener on the other side of the fence. According to one report, “City dwellers, who retreated to rural areas in the pandemic, now see drawbacks, from pests and social isolation to the difficulty of finding day care and health care.”

For instance, Tara Silberberg, 53, moved from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley and was knocked back by the feeling of alienation. Born in New York, in May 2020 Ms. Silberberg and her husband left the city and moved to the small rural town of Gallatin, New York. She told reporters, “I was not quite prepared for how lonely it was going to be, and I’m very social.” In the first year of her family’s Massachusetts sojourn, the 1930s gravity-fed water system broke “and nobody knew how to fix it and we didn’t have water for a year,” she recalled. “I understood that the country doesn’t mean it’s always picking daisies.”

No wonder, then, that many of these rural dwellers pulled up stakes once again and returned to the city—or are hoping to do so. But that may pose some new problems because New York’s real estate market is once again booming.

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