I was born in Newark and grew up in Union City, It was the best 16 years of my life. We had some 60 kids all within 5 years of each other, living in a 5 block radius. We earned  respect for who we were as a person. We had everything we needed within walking distance and many times we walked out of that distance to explore the great beyond, like Jersey City, where I worked washing cars. Or West New York where I walked every morning during my freshman year at St Joe’s on 54th street from my home on 14th because of a public service bus strike. I am who I am because of what I learned growing up there.

When I was sixteen, my parents very much against my wishes moved the family to Marlboro which at the time was a growing development housing mostly transplants from Brooklyn. I absolutely hated it. For me, Marlboro in the seventies was more about how much money you had than who you were as a person. I babysat for families who had elaborate landscaping and swimming pools outside with lawn chairs and junk inside.

I went from having the world within walking distance to needing a ride everywhere and I was too young to drive. Add to that the fact that my parent’s refusal to ever let me visit my hometown and it did not make for good times. When I finally got my license I used to sneak back to Union City and swap cars with a friend of mine so that I could hang with my friends and not get caught by my parents who still worked there.

Now it’s looking like the trend is shifting from people moving out of the suburbs and into the city.

Thanks to the economic downturn, it’s more cost effective to live close to our job. Your rent may be a little higher but you’ll be able to afford it with the money you’ll save by not needing a car or spending on gas and tolls to commute. You’ll also be more rested since you’ll be closer to work. It’s probable that when the times get better and young people are farther into their student loans and relationships that they’ll want to move back to the suburbs. At this point in my life, having gone through the city experience, I prefer to raise my children in the town that I’m in. Having said that, I think everyone should live in the city for at least some part of their lives. There’s something there that you just can’t get anywhere else, like everything,  for example.

But if you were given the choice, regardless of your current situation, Would you rather live in the city or the suburbs?  Please take our poll.

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