How We Live Now
Not making it
“Nate, a midlevel Wall Streeter, and his longtime girlfriend, Emily, are effectively evicted from New York City when they find they can no longer afford their apartment.”
So begins the description on the dust jacket of a novel that arrived at The Observer offices earlier this summer. It’s called The Exiles, and its author is a former Manhattanite named Allison Lynn who has since fled the city, according to the press materials.
The good news is that New York City is still, in some sense, a land of opportunity. There are jobs to be had here—New York lost fewer jobs than any other city during the recession and the employment growth has been steady these last few years. The bad news is that many of those jobs are scarcely worth having—yielding less than $27,000 a year, which isn’t really enough to live in on New York.
While rents have continued their relentless climb (ever skyward!) wages for low- and middle-income New Yorkers have not followed suit. Moreover, the disparity between pay and the cost of living in our metropolis is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon given that a significant proportion of job growth has been in low-paying occupations, according to a new study from the Center for an Urban Future.