As a native New Yorker who left for North Carolina when I was five months old (that’s how long I spent in the orphanage my parents adopted me from) and then subsequently moved to Florida when I was eight, I get Karol Markowicz.

For who would intentionally live in NYC today? What kind of masochist do you have to be, what kind of sadist do you have to be to your kids, to inflict that city upon them? Thank God Karol Markowicz isn’t one of those people. She loves her kids too much to do it. Details follow.

Markowicz: I always hated the “Goodbye, New York” genre of writing. “Good riddance,” I’d think. “More room for us.”

I was raised in Brooklyn, my husband in Queens. Our three children were born in Manhattan. I was a New York supremacist. Your city is fine, really, it’s just that it’s not New York. It’s not even close. I’ve been to your city. Yes, I’ve been to that deli or that restaurant. That one street, it’s wonderful. But it’s not comparable to the greatest city in the history of the world. It’s just not.

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So it’s with some sadness and a lot of anger that I feel our family now needs to leave the city we’ve loved for so long. We’re going to Florida, a state we’ve come to regard as the beacon of freedom in this country. It wasn’t that we suddenly realized Florida was sunny or had no state income tax. It isn’t because, as the Onion joked years ago, that as New Yorkers we woke up one day and realized it’s a horrible place to live. Not because of New York’s increasingly leftist politics, though obviously that didn’t help.

It was because they took away school during the pandemic and not enough of my fellow New Yorkers cared. I kept looking around at a civilization that does not value education. Or worse, values it for their own kids, in the form of private pods or putting them into open private schools, but won’t fight for their less fortunate neighbors to have the same.

And then, when schools finally reopened there was no discussion about the broken system that had kept them closed. The very same people stuck kids in masks indefinitely, even outdoors. But the worst part was that New Yorkers quietly accepted this. At least schools were open, they said. We were a city of strivers! We were never a city that accepted the bare minimum, that was for … other cities, and here we were imposing just that on our children…

When World War II began, my grandmother, her sister and their mother left their town of Gomel and ran east. My grandmother’s two brothers had been drafted to the front. Her father had died in a gulag several years before. They didn’t know for sure that times were about to get very bad. That’s the thing about fleeing somewhere – you usually don’t know what will happen or if you’re doing the right thing. It’s hard to leave your home before things really come to a head.

I’m not comparing NYC in 2021 to Belarus in 1939. But the idea of doing what is necessary for your family is one that my family has lived in a number of variations. We can’t stay somewhere that treats children as an afterthought. We can’t stay somewhere that doesn’t fight for their own kids and the kids of their neighbors. We can’t wait for kids to get their childhood back and just hope for the best. We saw something we can’t unsee. It’s time to go.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on December 8, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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