NYC: Where Everything Changes, But Nothing Changes

Surprise! I’m back in Manhattan this week. Steven had to be back here for work this week, and I joined him. While he’s at the office, I’m working from our hotel room — and if you know anything about NYC hotel rooms, they’re akin to a bunker. Even a high-end boutique hotel, like the one we’re staying in, is the size of a glorified closet, has roaches (we found one), and only has one very small window that usually looks out onto a brick wall. And it’s probably close to $400 per night. (Thankfully, it’s comped by Steven’s job).

I promise I’m not complaining…I’m just trying to paint an accurate depiction of the current state of things. That and it’s my fourth day in here…so I’m climbing the walls a little bit.

All kidding aside, I’m actually having a wonderful time. I’ve seen a bunch of friends, and have been able to keep up with work, I’ve had multiple auditions, and am just catching up on things that were put on the back burner during wedding season.

But it’s been really interesting being back in the city after moving out eight months ago. For those who may be new here, I lived in NYC for 12 years, and at the beginning of this last year, my now-husband and I moved to Cincinnati, where I grew up. He moved into our new condo, and I moved in with my parents until we got married at the beginning of June.


This is the first we’ve really been back since moving out, and everyone keeps asking us how it feels to be back in the city. Do we miss it? Is it good to be back? Do we regret moving away?

And honestly…the answer is: No, I don’t miss it at all. And in fact, being back just confirms that moving to Cincinnati was the absolute right decision.

Aside from the fact that everything here is so expensive, and you literally cannot walk outside without spending $100 — I’m not exaggerating…I went to CVS for a bottle of water and a few travel-sized items we forgot to pack…it totaled $78. Aside from THAT, living for the week in this tiny, closet-sized hotel room certainly does NOT make me miss the 450 square foot studio apartment I lived in for a decade.

Speaking of…Steven and I walked around my old neighborhood last night in the West Village and we walked past my old building. And the lights were on in my old apartment. One thing they don’t really advertise much about NYC is that at night you can absolutely see inside people’s apartments from the street. I know…a creeper’s paradise. And…not that we were being creepy…but I wanted to see if the new owners kept my beloved chandelier that adorned my apartment. And sure enough…my apartment was completely different.

Walking around the neighborhood, everything was different: many of our favorite restaurants had closed, new ones had popped up. New faces were working at our familiar haunts and bodegas.

But everything was more or less the same, although sadly, the homeless population has grown significantly since we were there. But we still were dodging human pee and dog poo on the sidewalks. Garbage cans were still overflowing. The streets still smelled of gag-inducing odors. People still were rude and in a hurry, men still ogled me during my morning jog, and I even still saw the same exact people on said morning jog — same workout clothes and everything.

Everything was the same…and yet everything was different.

Because I had changed.

My rose colored glasses are gone. My romanticized view of Manhattan: that put up with anonymity and overpriced bare minimum, and dirtiness and cramped spaces and a Godless culture…friends I have seen the light.

New York is just not it.

I’ll close with a story that kind of exemplifies another thing that has become very apparent since moving out of New York.

Checking into our hotel, and making small talk with waiters and cashiers and retail workers since arriving, it often comes up that, oh yeah — I’m just visiting after moving to Ohio 8 months ago. (What can I say, I’m a chatter). But their response is always the same: It’s usually said with a scoff and a smirk: “Why the heck would you move *there?*

You see — there is an arrogance that comes with being a New Yorker. This is true for 95% of New Yorkers…my friends are certainly excluded from this. 🙂 But for the vast majority, there’s this air of superiority, being from New York. And sure, they dodge subway super-rats, and have figured out how to survive in a city that does everything it can to destroy you, but this arrogance has become so gross to witness (and be on the receiving end of), since moving away. The vast majority of New Yorkers see the Midwest as nameless “flyover states” — places not even worth talking about. And in most New Yorker’s eyes, the people from there… are assumed to be uneducated, slow-walking, Donald Trump supporters.

And as my husband and I were speaking with the hotel clerk who was giving us his spiel about how he could never live there…Steven got a video-notification on his phone from our Ring doorbell, and it showed our neighbor, bringing our packages to our doorstep. We didn’t ask him to do that, he just did it out of the kindness of his heart.

And that is what New Yorkers don’t understand about Midwestern people, who they have grossly stereotyped. People from the midwest are kind. They are friendly. They go out of their way for their neighbors. They care about their country, and are humble, good people. Just because we don’t live in Manhattan and don’t walk at break-neck speed, or have a ruthless win-at-any-cost mindset doesn’t mean that we’re disposable human beings. That is what I don’t miss about New York: the lack of humanity amongst its inhabitants.

And sure, I know I’ve made some pretty gross generalizations there too — just like everywhere, you can’t simply blanket an entire group with the worst characteristics.

But I guess all that to say, is that New York is not the be-all-end-all. And at the end of the day, I don’t miss it. I miss my friends, and the people that I love so much that made this place feel like home for 12 years.

But being here this week — makes me yearn for Ohio. I miss being in a place where people know your name. Where people care about you and look out for you. A place where you have room to breathe and enjoy life and spend time in nature. I certainly am singing a different tune than I was even just a year ago. But then, I guess you could say I have seen the light.

And thank goodness for that.

Here’s a sneak peak at one of my YouTube shorts!

To hear my story, click here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is patreon.png

Thank you for your support on Patreon!! You make this blog possible 🙂

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is care-dad-hat-1021x1024.jpg

Yay for cute hats!


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2724-1024x683.jpg

Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!! 


@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram




This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1288.jpg

And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link ( — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help keep this blog ministry going! Thank you!

17 responses to “NYC: Where Everything Changes, But Nothing Changes”

  1. Wow, Caralyn, you have proven me right with this post, I have never had any desire to go to NYC based on everything I’ve heard and seen before the pandemic.

    And the cost of living and snotty people would drive me out quickly.

    I am from a farm town in Michigan and fully understand how we mid-western folks are so much more friendly and chatty. I am very chatty too! Enjoy your very friendly Ohio home!

  2. I think it’s a smug Leftie thing. I’ve had similar reactions from people here in Colorado Springs when I talk about our escaping to the midwest, buying some insulation around our home. Everything here is built 18 inches from its neighbor. Ugh.

    “There are no mountains there.”

    Yeah… and there are no people… hence it’s appeal.

    They all seem to forget as well: the food they eat, the clothes they wear… all that comes from *there* . From people who are so generous they feed the people who treat them with disdain. Cities don’t produce; it’s not in their nature.

    Cheers, Caralyn. Glad you’re not there any more… and even more glad you’re happy you’re not.

  3. I always knew you were going to move back. I was just waiting for you to do it. You’re too good for such a cut-throat place. So glad you moved back before anything bad happened to you!! I was always worried. Welcome back to Buckeye Land!

  4. On returning to my hometown recently I remarked that I remembered my town, but it doesn’t remember me. Things change fast, and it stings the most in places we know and love—because we have a point of comparison.

    Congratulations on your marriage and on your new home in Cincinnati. Many blessings to you and yours!

  5. My first visit to the US entered through NY and all my positive impressions of the US from watching TV were temporarily shattered. Immigration and Customs were the rudest I’d experienced in my travel around the world. Fortunately when we purchased a car to do the full America drive around lasting a couple of months my original impressions were regained as I travelled the normal parts of the US and avoided the large cities for stopovers. America has much beauty to appreciate and people outside the mega cities are the kindest and most helpful people. You did well to move out.

  6. I am from New York originally and have lived all over the world. I am back in NY. You get a different perspective living in different places. Things changed a lot since the pandemic. Many good people left for places in rural upstate New York or a southern state. Everyone who comes back to visit says similar things to you: best decision they ever made, they don’t regret it, people are nicer, things are a lot more affordable, commute is a lot less of your day, less homelessness and less crime, etc. I know multiple people who have been randomly attacked on the street, no reason.

  7. I’ve never lived in The City, but I have been there several times. I know, it’s very different when you are in a semi, but I certainly couldn’t live in that Rat Race. I was born and raised in Southern California so I’m no stranger to large cities, but NYC is just too much for me.
    The City is like being in another country entirely. Then you cross the river to Jersey and it’s another country again. No thanks, not for me.

  8. I get what you mean about the stereotype. Its funny how the people who talk about not stereotyping African Americans, etc., are the very same ones who do it to people from the Mid-West, Asians, etc.
    I have a colleague who migrated to the US about two years ago. He moved to Texas. Now being of Bangladeshi origin and a Muslim, according to what the media portrays Texans, you’d think that he chose the wrong part of the country to move to. His experience was that, most of the so called “red-necks” people warned him about were absolutely delightful, kind people who helped him settle in. In fact, he said had more problems with some African Americans – sometimes calling him names and odd harassment every now and then.

  9. Yes. This.

    As you know, I live about 100 miles from a dirty, sewage-infested, snooty major world city overrun with crime, where the people there have the same smug sense of superiority. I’ve never lived in the city, but I’ve lived closer to it than I do now, close enough to get some of that superiority from the people around me but not close enough to get the rose-colored glasses. I still visit that city occasionally, because that’s where the baseball team is, and many of the touring bands I follow don’t come closer to me than that city. And there are still some things there worth seeing every once in a while. But I could never live there.

    I am currently in a suburb directly adjacent to another large city, but not quite as large. This area has gotten more and more cultural influence from the major city 100 miles away, as things get more expensive there and working from home becomes more mainstream. It’s getting almost as bad here in a way, and the crime and homelessness are a statewide problem, as the people in charge of this state continue to run it into the ground, but telling people what they want to hear in order to get reelected.

    I still believe that God wants me where I am for a reason, even though I don’t really know that reason right now. I’ve thought about moving a lot, and I may have to reconsider as this state moves closer and closer to where I will be unable to do my job without compromising my Christian beliefs. Whether or not I should stay here is a complicated question with many factors in play.

    I thought God’s work for me here was to help some friends start a church. They prayerfully abandoned that project in late 2021 and started going to the church where their kids were already going for youth activities, and I followed them there. But I don’t know what my work is there yet. I know I’m in a much more comfortable financial situation here than I would be if I were to move out of state and get a similar job, so maybe my work here is behind the scenes, to have more money to give to charities and missionaries and such.

    Moving back to where I grew up, also 100 miles from the same major city but in a different direction, isn’t an option. There was nothing left for me there. My mom and dad are still there, but no other family left. The weather is totally different from here, and I prefer it here. And it’s also overrun with crime, one of the most violent cities of its size in the USA.

    Many times over the years, I’ve considered moving back to the city where I was a university student. (I’ll call it “Jeromeville,” because the fictitious city of Jeromeville where my continuing story takes place is based on that city.) For years, I said I always ended up deciding against that, because Jeromeville is a great place for a student, a family, or a hippie, and I’m no longer the first, not yet the second, and will never be the third. I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that, though. It’s not about Jeromeville being ridiculously expensive, nor is it being turned off by the far-left university town politics in Jeromeville. The issue isn’t that I want to live in Jeromeville again in the first place, it’s that I want it to be 1998 again. Life was simple, all I had to do was study hard enough and I’d be on a path to success, and I was surrounded by a diverse population of peers in the same place in life as me. Things weren’t as polarized back then; you could still find conservative Christians on a large secular university campus. I came to Christ in that environment, for that matter. But the world has changed. If I move to Jeromeville now and try to make friends the way I did in 1998, I’d be seen as this creepy old guy hanging around people young enough to be my children. And no one in 2023 Jeromeville listens to Toad the Wet Sprocket, Hootie and the Blowfish, Matchbox Twenty, and Collective Soul while hosting X-Files watch parties with their roommates, then playing 4-player Goldeneye on N64 afterward. I’m not going to find that in Jeromeville in 2023.

    I’m only about 30 miles from Jeromeville today, and I still consider it to be in my local area. I’m there fairly often, so that’s the next best thing in my situation. But nowhere around here really feels like home, in the sense of knowing your neighbors and having people around with similar values. But I’m going to stay here unless and until God calls me elsewhere.

    • (Also, I’m being vague for anonymity reasons; if you’re curious where any of these places are in the real world, and you can’t figure it out, contact me privately. You might have figured it out already, though, since I’ve known you for a while.)

  10. I recall a college chum who was from NY, NY. (Just for the record, the actual name of the city is NOT New York “City!” It is only New York.) Well, the college friend declined to even name “THE CITY.” That’s all he would say, “Oh, I’m from THE CITY,” as if it WAS the be-all-and-end-all; there are no other “cities” in the world?” A couple of my friends had fun with his identity for a while; the “citEEzen” from a city somewhere east, maybe India?😄
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

Join the Conversation!

%d bloggers like this: