In NY, particularly on Long Island, it is very common to hear neighbors and friend defecting to the Sunshine State.
“Geez, I can’t take this cold anymore! And my taxes are, like, 16k on my friggin’ house. I can’t take it! I’m soooo moving to Florida.”
Being a popular vacation destination for my fellow New Yorkers it would seem natural to want to live in the paradise that we visit a couple times a year.
Well, about a year ago, my family and I moved to Florida from Long Island, NY which was not a decision we took lightly. The winters had become too harsh and with the cost of living was going up exponentially, so we decided to cut the cord from our Motherland and become Floridians. Aside from the obvious changes, such as climate, we knew that our lifestyle would be altered drastically but there were a few changes that were surprising to this hardcore New Yorker.
The speed is much slower.
Yes, this seems obvious but it’s far more jolting than what you imagine. On Long Island at least, there is an ever present urgency to get things done that I wasn’t aware existed in my day to day life until I moved here. Deadlines, schedules, and specific goals were always present which made everything from driving through traffic to grocery shopping a “gotta go, go, go” mindset.
Was I aware of it? Nooooo. When you’re living in a constant state of urgency you really are not aware that the rest of the world doesn’t roll that way. In Florida, it gets done when it gets done. Though I’m sure there’s exceptions, for the most part, there’s not a whole lot of rushing around to get things done. It took several months to take things down a notch and even then, I’m still “that intense New Yorker”.
Cookie Cutter Houses and HOA’s.
I come from an area where the houses are often unique and personalized. You can have a Tutor home next to a Victorian and down the block a basic Cape. Each of them with their own personality that the family chooses to decorate with. Though there are some areas that have their unique styles (see Cocoa Village) most areas are developments that have near identical houses with very few adornments to separate one house from another. This is often due to Home Owner Association (HOAs) that keep a certain standard so that property values stay consistent.
At first, this seemed very attractive. When you have lived next to a house that had an obsession with collecting beer and soda cans on the side of the house that left a certain aroma on hot summer days, yeah, an HOA would handle that.
However, as time passed, I can’t help but feel like I have been homogenized and sanitized to the point that I want to throw some funky colored paint on my house, put up a Gothic fence and a coffin mailbox just to stand out a little….or a lot. So get accustomed to accidentally pulling up to your neighbors identical house a few times or find areas that are pre-HOA.
Photo credit to David Daniels
The Beaches are INSANE!
I grew up on an island so living near the water seems necessary. Granted, I NEVER went to Jones Beach. The endless and expensive parking lots, the loooong walk to the actual beach (through a smelly dank tunnel), then trying to find a spot that isn’t too close to the overflowing garbage cans….nope. Never appealed to me. Now I live a short trip to Cocoa Beach area. The parking is easy, inexpensive and is within steps of the beach. The walkway onto the beach is like a oasis of exotic plants. Each time I go, I use a different entry and they are all magical. The beach is so CLEAN yet mysteriously, there are no garbage cans in sight….apparently the locals take their beaches seriously. They leave nothing behind or volunteer to clean up regularly. I have gone to the beach about 2 dozen times since moving here a year ago, which is probably more than my entire life on Long Island.
In Florida for a year and I still can’t get away from the black.
People don’t wear a lot of black.
I know, it’s cliche but my entire wardrobe was black when I got here. This is partially because I’m a hairstylist and it’s what we wear but it’s also because I’m from Long Island. It’s a staple to our wardrobe and we have no idea how much black you really wear until you are walking around in the blazing sun. It’s a problem that I am working on. I think I have 5 items of clothing that have color now.
Floridians are crazy friendly.
Hey, New Yorkers have their own brand of friendly. Typically a little more formal and reserved, and only when absolutely necessary but, yeah, we’re nice people, damn it! But here, it’s a whole different level of friendliness that, at first, I felt slightly off balanced. For instance, I go for a walk around my neighborhood, anyone who you cross, whether they are mowing their lawn, driving by or even just picking up their mail, they stop what they are doing and either wave or say hello.
No….I mean, EVERYBODY. It’s weird.
My friend came to visit from NY and we went for a walk. Every time we passed someone they said hello. He would stop talking, give them a suspicious look and say “Do you know them? Why are they saying hello? Do they want something? Maybe we should avert our eyes” .
It’s not that we don’t like friendliness, it’s just an adjustment. A lovely one but going back to #1, we are an intense breed of people and are typically too busy in our heads to say hello to every person who walks by.
I do have some honorable mentions because I can assure you there are more than 5 things that take some getting use to.
The skyline/sky…the sky should have it’s own show. Always changing and just so BIG with nothing impeding it’s view.
Flip Flops. It’s required so get a pedi and get use to your piggy a being free
Publix. One of the greatest grocery stores EVER.
Pop Up Neighborhoods. Just when you think you’ve gotten use to the lay of the land, a new neighborhood was built with a coordinated town square. Weird.