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Aspiring New Yorkers Find Innovative Way to Move to the Big Apple

by Stephanie Kuo
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Glyn Lowe, flickr

With New York becoming more costly by the minute, many young transplants are turning to the Internet to finance their dreams of living in the city.

The old adage goes, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” But times are changing; the city is now more expensive than ever. So what happens when making it in New York is largely impeded by not being able to make it to New York?

Many are turning to online fundraising with Kickstarter or Go Fund Me accounts, asking friends, family and even strangers to donate money to their big moves.

Jessica Ann Nail was one of them. She’s dreamt of living in New York since her first visit in the eighth grade.

“The city life was really exciting, coming from a very small town in Texas,” she said.

Fast forward nearly two decades, and Nail is just coming up on her fifth month living in Park Slope in Brooklyn. She launched her “New York Dream Fund” on Go Fund Me in 2012 as a birthday present to herself. She said she managed to raise about $1,425.

“Every single penny went to getting here, so that money’s gone now,” she said. “But it was a really nice way to get up here and get started.”

With the growing presence of social media, these types of digital entreaties are becoming more and more common, with thousands of pending projects on Go Fund Me alone.

Laura Portwood-Stacer teaches media, culture and communication at New York University. She said crowd-funding is a sign of the entrepreneurial spirit that has emerged from economic slumps since the 70s and 80s. She added that over time, people began to rely less and less on institutions for cultivating their livelihood and realized they can and should take initiative themselves. The Internet has now become the medium to do so.

“People see themselves as a project now, as a resource that they can cultivate,” Portwood-Stacer said. “So moving to New York or moving to Los Angeles, it’s just an investment in this project that is me.”

As for Jessica Ann Nail, she currently works as a dance instructor and artist. Like many newcomers, she hopes to stay in New York indefinitely. 

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