Gifts for the New Yorker Who Fled Upstate and Now Claims the City Is 'Totally Dead'

Gifts for the New Yorker Who Fled Upstate and Now Claims the City Is 'Totally Dead'
Photo:Donell Woodson/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Since the pandemic began, New Yorkers have been treated to a wide variety of articles about the city’s wealthy residents fleeing for greener pastures upstate. Why? Well, more space for one thing, and you can’t argue with that, and what is a Hamptons cottage for if not to become a luxury bunker in the midst of a plague? But quite a few of these pieces have painted the mass exodus of affluent New Yorkers as a move made out of fear and growing boredom, now that the city has ceased to be their personal playground.

“New York will come back on some level, but it’s not going to have that magic that I wanted to pay so much money to live there for,” a 47-year-old app creator told CNN. “N.Y.C. Is Dead Forever. Here’s Why,” some man wondered in a viral LinkedIn post, which I guess should tell you everything you need to know about the contents of the post.

If you live in New York City perhaps you know someone like this and are baffled as to what to get them this holiday season. Let me help!

Driving lessons

Because they can’t rely on Uber or public transportation to go everywhere anymore like a suburban teenager.

Bear spray

Did you know that if you encounter a bear in the wild, you should clap your hands at a safe distance and back away slowly? They live for the applause! But when clapping fails, bear spray will do the trick. Gift your upstate buddies some bear spray and they’ll immediately long for the days when the only wildlife they encountered were bodega cats, subway rats, and roaches.

Ring doorbell

I can see why New Yorkers who packed up and moved did so out of fear. The big city is so scary right now. Public transportation? Scary! Boarded-up Zara? Terrifying. Frequent, peaceful protests in the streets to defund the city’s police department, inspiring mutual aid groups, and community organizing mobilized in the months since the pandemic began? You see what I mean! But if there’s anything horror movies have taught me, a quiet life upstate can easily turn into Last House On the Left in an instant. Get your pal a Ring doorbell, so they can feel slightly safer in their big, cavernous home by surveilling the comings and goings of their front door, and have the peace of knowing nobody has stolen their Blue Apron package.

Zoom subscription

Will you be traveling to visit your friends upstate any time soon? No? Well, neither will everyone else they know. Get your newly distant friend a Zoom subscription for unlimited minutes so they can feel briefly connected to their urban comrades.


So they can feel the (perhaps fleeting) bliss of trying to grow their own garden from the ground up. They own land now, they might as well use that to grow you some tomatoes.

The Contact of a Handyman

No, they can’t take their apartment super with them to New Paltz. For the real cheap gift givers among us, a business card of a local handyman makes a great stocking suffer. They will think of you later as they scramble to find the contact when the heat stops working in the dead of February. Isn’t that sweet?

A Tiny House

You might be saying, wait, my friends already have a house, isn’t that the whole point of this gift guide? True, but do they have a house for you? Surely there’s a scrap of yard on your new homeowner friends’ property on which they can put a tiny home for you to permanently live on. It’s what friends are for.

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