Atlanta: Seventh Borough? Or Circle of Hell?

Hotlanta? Photo: Getty Images

It's no secret that although New Yorkers are generally self-satisfied, there are a few things that we all long for that the rest of the country has in spades: Bigger, more affordable apartments. A larger selection of potential husbands. Grass. The Atlanta Regional Commission for planning and development probably thought that it would appeal to those desires when they put out the information that, between 2000 and 2005, 40,000 New Yorkers moved to Atlanta. They probably thought that trend stories would get written and that in them Atlanta's new residents would rave about their new homeland, about the space and the food and the kindness of the people, and that ultimately it would encourage more New Yorkers to move to their sunny city. Not quite.

The Sun today went to in search of such expats, and found they were of a certain subspecies of ex-New Yorker: People who move out of New York only to become more New Yorky than they were when they lived here.

"Atlanta is a second-tier city," Jessica Harlan, 36, who relocated two years ago, said. "New York is cooler and more exciting in every respect."

"If my kids have a Southern accent, I will kill myself," Brooklyn native Jodi Fleisig, an Atlanta resident since 1998, said.

"I haven't found a single slice of pizza I have been remotely satisfied with," Mr. Merritt, 34, said. "I am not going to the corner pharmacy and being welcomed by name any longer. It was a culture shock."

"I miss the lawn on Central Park," Simone Joye, 42, who organized the site after moving to suburban Stone Mountain three years ago, said. "I miss pizza — real pizza — and bagels and lox. I miss bridges and the water, which creates a sense of serenity. Atlanta has no beaches."

Beaches? What? Those last two complaints are so outlandish and rose-colored-glasses-y that we wondered for a second if those people ever really lived here or just watched Moonstruck this one time. But their overall crabbiness implies they are in fact real ex-residents. Because while all New Yorkers may long for space, peace, and happiness, what they really want is to have all that here.

40,00 New Yorkers Flee State For Atlanta [NYS]