Sometimes I wish we had moved to a town with lower taxes. NJ has some of the highest property taxes in the country, and our county has some of the highest taxes in NJ. I’m embarrassed to tell people what we pay in property taxes. It’s insane.
And every time I think, “Oh we should have moved to one of the neighboring towns with lower taxes,” I inevitably end up in one of those neighboring towns and then I am always so glad we are where we are. I don’t want to sound like a snob. But here it goes. It’s gonna be snobby*. Hold on to your pants.
It seems like people from different parts of NYC move to different suburbs. Based on a recent NYTimes article, it seems like the Williamsburg hipsters are flocking to the Hudson Valley river towns. Our town is more Park Slope/Cobble Hill/Fort Greene Brooklynites. Which are the just-twee-enough, just-crunchy-enough, just-hip-enough, just-liberal-enough, diversity-is-a-plus types that I feel comfortable with.
And some of the towns right by us, with lower taxes (but much higher housing cost) are very Upper East Side. And I never felt comfortable in the Upper East Side. And I do not feel comfortable in those towns. The Mommy-and-Me classes there are filled with women in their pastel J-Crew sweaters, stacks of diamond eternity bands, straight ponytails, and Frye boots, and they scare the hell out of me. It all just makes me very uncomfortable, and I end up standing in the corner in my scuffed-up Crocs boots (they are very comfortable) and cat-fur-covered H&M sweater like the weird girl by herself at the lunch table. Except I have a toddler with me.
And then there are a lot of other towns in NJ that are just…I don’t know. Here comes the snobby part, ugh, sorry. They’re kind of strip-mall-ey? The equivalent of Queens, maybe? Or maybe more like the Financial District or Murray Hill– full of people who are kind of scared of New York City and no one has a reason to go there unless they live (or work) there? I grew up in a NJ town like that, not far from West Brooklyn at all. It was a lovely childhood, but my goodness if most of us were a bit boring and sheltered. I am absolutely counting myself in that “boring and sheltered” category. I look back at myself during my freshman year of college up in Boston, completely paralyzed by experiencing all these new things and being so far from home. It seemed like that happened to quite a few people from my high school. I’m not interested in that environment again, for myself or for Clementine.** (Mom & Dad, I seriously did love living there at the time! You did a good job!!!) Also, like half of the housing stock in those towns are split levels and oh my no.
So, every time I think that we’re paying too much in taxes (which we are), I remember why we’re paying so much in taxes. To be happy. I don’t know if we would have been happy anywhere else. And that’s got to count for something. So while we can afford to live here, I think we will.
And I hate moving. So there’s that, too.
*Obviously I’m making blanket statements about enormous groups of people and places here. Everything here should be taken with a grain of salt.
**Reading through my old post about visiting Brooklyn made me realize I am very close to becoming that person from my hometown who is afraid to go into NYC. It’s been 6 months. But I will say here that it’s not that I’m scared to go–it’s that I don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing Clementine in. (Well, I am scared of driving in because I really hate driving in the city). But, yes, this is something I need to do soon. Very soon. Before I get to the point where I just won’t do it.