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A year ago we moved from New York to Florida: what conclusions did we draw during this time


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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Carol Markovic and his family have been living in Florida for a year now. It was a big contrast to their life in New York, a woman confessed in a column for Fox5. She explained that for a long time she decided to move from her native and beloved city, but he left her almost no choice. The following is a first-person translation of her column.

On January 1, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hokul was sworn into office for her first full term. In a speech that followed, she said, "We must and will make our state safe... And we must reverse the trend of people leaving our state in search of lower prices and opportunities elsewhere."

The governor of New York chooses not to understand why people are leaving her state. But I know the real reason, because I was one of those people.

A year ago, my husband and three kids and I got on a plane, moved to Florida, and never looked back.

My family came to Brooklyn in 1978 from the Soviet Union. I grew up in Flatbush, then in Bensonhurst. After college, she returned to Brooklyn and lived in Greenpoint. I moved to the city when my career took off and lived on the Upper East Side.

I moved to the Upper West Side when I married my husband, also a New Yorker with a similar history and an immigrant family (from Israel).

We eventually moved back to Brooklyn, to Park Slope, and planned to raise our children as little New Yorkers in the dream home we had built for ourselves. Our story was a classic story of the American Dream in New York.

But then COVID happened

We saw many people run in the early days. But we never thought about leaving. This was our home and the fear of the virus would not have forced us to leave. We survived 11/2003, the XNUMX power outage, Hurricane Sandy. We believed that New York would recover. Of course it will recover.

It wasn't the virus that killed our New York dream. It was the political backlash against this virus that killed her. The riots following the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 shocked us. But not as much as the reaction of officials and politicians to the virus. They covered up the destruction of cities across the country with platitudes.

Every conversation seemed to follow the same path. COVID was a huge danger, we were constantly told. Therefore, we must do what they say.

Schools in New York, of course, could not open and work offline. Well, except for private schools. Only children from public schools needed to be kept in high security. And masks had to be worn at all times. It was necessary! Yes, even outside! At the same time, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo was almost never photographed wearing a mask. And his successor Hokul, who made toddlers wear masks until mid-2022, was also rarely seen wearing a mask.

In the summer of 2020, my husband and I sat on a Long Island beach and said words we could never have imagined: “We have to leave.” We need to get our kids out of this.

But we didn't leave. Because leaving the place that you loved for so long, where your family lives and where your lifelong dream was supposed to come true, is harder than it seems. As schools moved from their ridiculous blended learning model to full closure in November 2020, we became increasingly serious about leaving. We rented an apartment in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, an area we had never heard of before. And enrolled our three children in the local public school.

For almost five months we lived a life that New Yorkers could not even imagine.

The children went to school every day. We went to restaurants. We never wore masks outside. Life was normal, and normality was great.

It was there that I first interviewed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He uttered words that New York leaders could not utter. He talked about the fact that children are in the first place for him. That it's personally important to him that schools be open to Florida kids and that he's willing to fight for those kids. Meanwhile, in New York, the politicians were also fighting... to give the teachers' unions whatever they want. To the detriment of the children.

We returned in May 2021. Because they weren't ready to leave New York yet. We had one foot out the door, but the other was in our dream home in Brooklyn. Maybe we can do it?

In the fall of 2021, schools opened for full-fledged education. But masks were required, even on the street. Although Dr. Anthony Fauci himself said that this is not necessary.

My kids ate outside on the ground and were asked to wear masks between bites. And the already elderly Governor Hokul traveled around the state without a mask, and ate like an ordinary person living an ordinary life.

Meanwhile crime continued to rise

But talking about a wave of crime was like talking about COVID, it all came down to correctness and tolerance.

The windows of the multi-million dollar townhouses on my block still had "Defund Police" signs on them.

Talking about crime was racist. Discussing the idea of ​​fighting crime was racist. It was better to be completely silent. Many have done just that. Why start a fight on a Facebook group to say you're worried about crime when people are just bombarding you with numbers saying that the city's crime rate isn't that bad yet... or that worrying about crime shows you're privileged. It was easier to just shut up and leave. Many have done just that.

On the subject: Won a green card and moved to New York: the path from the news of the win to the real move

There wasn't one moment that broke us and severed our ties to our hometown, but a million little moments.

My middle son suffered because of the mask and often got into trouble for having it under his nose. Again, on the street, almost in 2022.

Our youngest was behind in his studies. The mask hindered his verbal skills. He was difficult to understand and had difficulty understanding his teacher.

In November 2021, American Federation of Teachers President Randy Weingarten was photographed indoors without a mask. In her defense, she tweeted: “I wear a mask most of the time indoors. We removed them because it was difficult for people to hear us.”

Well, yes, this is the problem with masks. It was difficult for my son to be heard at school for two years. For years. And she didn't care at all. But again, hypocrites will be hypocrites. We could not bear the silence of my fellow citizens in New York about such things.

We decided to move at the end of November 2021, and in early January we were already flying to Florida

We settled in an apartment on a short-term lease. And children without masks went to school for the second half of the school year.

We were free. A few months later, Governor Hokul urged New York Republicans to "jump on the bus and go to Florida." She added that they were not New Yorkers.

Her evil, hateful leadership made people do just that. Now that the New York Post broke the news last week that more than 2000 millionaires have left New York during the pandemic, she has to beg people to stay or come back. These millionaires didn't leave "in search of lower prices and opportunities elsewhere", they left because of her leadership.

They didn't suddenly realize that there is no income tax in Florida. They just saw the problems in New York. I appreciate the poetics of Hokul's latest comments, and I appreciate even more that I can do this from afar.

I am often asked if I regret moving “now that COVID is over”

In New York, there are still restrictions due to COVID, aimed specifically at children. My Sons' Brooklyn Public School continues to host all school outdoor activities. Recently, one of them took place at a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius. Parents who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are prohibited from being in school buildings.

It is now 2023, we know that the vaccine does not control the spread. And yet, some parents have not entered their child's classroom since 2020. This is crazy and it continues. There is also the added fear that the masks could come back at any moment.

When school masks are discussed in Philadelphia and Boston, New York parents tell me they fear their schools will be next. Miami parents just don't care about it because of Governor DeSantis' stance.

I talked to people from all over the country. I heard about how hard it is for them to leave their families, their hometowns. How they dream of a better life for themselves and their families. It wasn't just New Yorkers who fled. People across the country were leaving for similar reasons. They were not only in Florida. Texas, North Carolina, and many other states have taken in refugees seeking a better life.

Not everyone is completely happy with their move. Some are not sure they are in the right place. But I have not yet heard from a single person that he is going to go back.

The vast majority of people are like us. They are full of gratitude and happiness that they got to sanity, to safety, to a normal life. We will always love New York and wish it returned to its former glory. But we will fulfill this desire from Florida, which has become the home of our family.

Every year our family celebrates the day of our arrival in America. July 20th is America's birthday. On January 3, our family celebrated the year since we became residents of Florida. The concept is similar. Strive for freedom and celebrate where you found it.

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