NEW YORK - They called it the great migration. During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of lifelong New Yorkers left the city and moved to other places like Florida.
But some of those who packed up and left are beginning to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and some are being drawn back to the Big Apple.
Alex Roy is one of those people. He left the city after living in Greenwich Village for 30 years. He bought a condo in Miami, Florida.
"The New York that I loved was evaporating," Roy says. "And I did not know how long that was going to last. And so I wanted better weather and a better quality of life."
He sold his New York City apartment believing he would never move back.
But now he is having a change of heart.
"There are a couple of things that New York will always have that no other city has," Roy says. "The walkability, for sure. You can walk out your door in New York and everything is 5 minutes away."
He also cites the transit system.
"You don't need to own a car," Roy says.
"All of a sudden you have a complete shift," real estate broker Frances Katzen says. "These are people that thought 'well you know what, maybe it's the time to get out. Maybe it's our calling.'"
Katzen says people looked for tax breaks and places they thought were nicer environments. But then reality set in.
"When they got there they scratched their head and thought 'maybe not'," Katzen says.
While some of the people were gone real estate prices continued to rise in the city, pricing some of them out.
Roy is now giving up trying to afford a place in Manhattan and is now looking in Queens.
"I'm one of those people who is almost certainly going to be pushed further out from the center of the city," Roy says.