I Love New York 

Ex-Atlantans Dish on life in New York

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Many of the single women living there share a similar complaint: Despite the glamour of "Sex and the City," New York is a difficult place because single women outnumber men. "In Atlanta, you hear women complaining that there's no eligible black straight men," Tate says. "In New York, it's the same thing. New York is a singles city, and dating is great. But if you're looking for a lifetime partner, it's not a place to be. Men have the pick of the litter here. New York is not the place to come to find a husband."

Which is one reason she plans to eventually return to Atlanta. "When it's time to slow down and be grown up, I will move back," she says. "After all, Atlanta still feels like home."

It's easy to find Atlantans who have been-there-done-that when it comes to New York. Who still cringe when they mention seeing a $19 hamburger on a restaurant menu, who had their adventure, and then were ready to come home.

After Dave Poston got his law degree, he moved to the Big Apple to work in a big firm, only to return to Atlanta in 2004 to start a PR agency. "I missed having a dog and a back yard," he says. "In Atlanta, friends come over on a Friday night and hang out. That doesn't happen in New York."

Keneesha Hudson moved to the city in 2004, only to come back to Atlanta two years later and open the Urbanella salon in Buckhead. Though she loved New York, there was much she missed in Atlanta. "You can't get sweet tea up there," she says. "I'm very Southern and love soul food. I never found good soul food in New York."

She liked New York so much, she probably wouldn't have returned to Atlanta if she hadn't decided to open her own business. Her husband also pushed her to return because he never warmed to the city.

"My husband is so funny," she says. "If we're walking around Virginia-Highland and somebody waves, he says, 'That's what I love about Atlanta. We wave at total strangers to make them feel welcome.'"

So welcome, it turns out, that some New Yorkers have given their old city the Bronx cheer. In fact, some of the most stinging reviews of New York come from former New Yorkers.

Sarah-Ann Soffer grew up in the Big Apple and, after college, decided she wanted to get out of her element and experience new things. Since she had friends in Atlanta, she decided to move here. It was love at first sight.

She spent two years in Atlanta before she moved back to New York in 2007 for family reasons. "I lived right by Piedmont Park, and thought it was so great that I could live by the Central Park of Atlanta, and actually afford it," she says. "My studio apartment was the size of a one-bedroom in New York, and cost under $900. And I had a walk-in closet, central air and a dishwasher."

Soffer also found it easier to meet people in Atlanta, and to find eligible men to date. "In New York City, everyone avoids eye contact," she says. "And dating was so much easier. In Atlanta, guys were actually gentlemen. They would pick you up from your apartment for a date, open doors for you and bring flowers. That's just unheard of in New York City."

She plans to return to Atlanta. "I miss it terribly," she says. "I miss Whole Foods on Ponce and the drive-in movie theater. I miss Kevin Rathbun's restaurants; he's the Mario Batali of Atlanta. I miss the way people in Atlanta are able to balance work with life."

Sabina Carr doesn't want to leave Atlanta, a decided change in attitude from when her husband landed a job here 10 years ago. "I came kicking and screaming because I'm a New York person," she says. "I'm a 12th-generation New Yorker on my dad's side."

Now the marketing and communications director at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Carr never expected to someday be reluctant about a return to New York. "I would not love to move back, but my husband is a cable television executive and if we had to go back, I would," she says. "Now that I'm older, it would drive me crazy to hear the rattling of subways, buses, people screaming, horns, jackhammers, all the lovely sounds that you get. I don't miss the noise at all."

Carr's husband did just take a job in D.C., though, and they're preparing to leave Atlanta. "When I moved here, some of my New York buddies in Atlanta told me I was going to like it here when we had kids, and I kept laughing," she says. "Then we had kids. And now it's become, 'Oh, I really don't want to leave."

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