The Cost of Living in the Most Affordable City In America

Forbes named Birmingham, Alabama, the most affordable city in America in their list for 2015, and as a freshly-minted Birminghamite, I’d have to agree.

What Minneapolis Does Right

In the March issue of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson writes that young people can find, according to study published by economists from Harvard and Berkeley, upward mobility in “rich coastal metropolises, including San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York City.” One major problem: These cities have also been found to be the least affordable in the country. But in these studies, one metropolitan area stands out as landing in the top 10 in the Harvard-Berkeley mobility study and being generally affordable: Minneapolis–St. Paul.

In Defense of Small Cheap Cities

Living in Hartford, I still see art and music, and I get to live in a city, and my rent is about one third of what I would pay for an equivalent apartment in Brooklyn.

My First Love Was a City: Victoria, British Columbia

I still won’t say I’m over Victoria. Like all first loves, Victoria will always know how to hurt me. When I went back to the West Coast this summer for vacation, I stayed with friends in Vancouver and purposefully avoided it. I still miss the trees and my friends and the life I had there. But I am becoming happy here. I have moved on from just making the best of things. Like the protagonists of a thousand books and films and ballads, I have grieved and I learned to love again.

Welcome to Kingston. Now Leave

Over the course of the past year, at Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan book events for the two essay anthologies I’ve edited about loving and leaving New York City, a good number of people have approached me with the same question: “Should I move to Kingston too?”

A Brooklyn Poet Has Moved To Detroit, Will Die Eventually

Well, well, well. Remember the Detroit Write A House fellowship we talked about, wherein a Detroit organization gives you the deed to a house if you agree to um, live in Detroit and blog about it for two years? Well, according to The Michigan Daily, they’ve declared a winner. That winner is a poet from Brooklyn.

Living Paycheck to Paycheck in Boston on $80,000 a Year

When I emigrated to the United States from England three years ago in an attempt to salvage my first marriage, I arrived with a duffel bag and less than $500 to my name. I moved into the basement of a house belonging to a married couple who attended my wife’s church. They didn’t charge me rent, but would later begrudgingly accept it when I insisted. 13 days after I arrived, I managed to secure a customer service job in a local print shop, a temp-to-perm position that paid a little more than minimum wage.

You Never Leave Houston

Houston, the fourth-largest city in America, has a self-esteem problem. Our local boosters are continuously looking for new branding approaches, commissioning expensive ads and websites extolling our municipal virtues. There was “Houston, It’s worth it;” “Houston is hip/tasty/inspired,” and the latest “Houston, the city without limits.” The city’s younger residents are partial to the more profane “Fuck You, Houston’s Awesome,” in response to criticisms of the city. There are many reasons for this insecurity. For Houstonians, who know of our parks, our museums, our bars, our restaurants, our people, it can feel like the rest of the country has settled on an idea of the city that’s still stuck on fading memories of . There is also the nagging sense that perhaps they’re right; that Houston, for all of its diversity, for all of its affordability, for all of its expansiveness, maybe isn’t that awesome, and that better pastures lie just a plane ride away.

Maybe Pittsburgh-Rich is Rich Enough

Hometown Stories: Rhinebeck, New York

I have left Rhinebeck many times in my life. The first time I left I was in the ninth grade, fed up with the small town and its lack of diversity, aghast at my freshmen English curriculum that trafficked solely in dead white men tempered with a dose of Pearl S. Buck. I moved to California and lived with my mother for the rest of high school and gained the kind of cultural education I never would have gotten in my hometown.