While some flee, one lifelong New Yorker returns | New York Today, Tomorrow & Beyond

Maureen Cross, a New York City accountant, packed up her bags and left her rent-stabilized Upper West Side apartment… only to find herself right back in the city that never sleeps.

“I came back after three weeks, and it was like, I really miss New York,” she recalls.

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, Cross watched in awe as the busy streets and big crowds disappeared overnight.

“It was like, ‘What am I doing here if there’s nothing to do? I’m left with all the bad stuff,’ so, I just decided to go to Burlington where I had lived for 22 years,” Cross says.

In Vermont, Cross was greeted by sunsets on Lake Champlain and a more affordable cost of living.

The New York native also had more space to walk her two Siberian Huskies, Lady and Blue, but it didn’t take long before she started to miss the big city.

Cross says she was drawn back by the restaurants, the arts, and the diversity.

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“I never put away any of my New York stuff. I had my four museum memberships, I had my Playbills. I had my bag from the Met,” she explains.

Cross had to find a new apartment but has quickly readjusted to life on the Upper West Side.

As many flee the neighborhood due, in part, to a recent uptick in crime and temporary homeless shelters, Cross tells us she doesn’t regret her decision to come back at all.

“Someone asked me, ‘If we had a second lockdown, would you ever go back to Vermont?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, no. I’m here for keeps.’”

After all, Cross argues, New York isn’t dying, it’s being reborn.