Our recent story about why people choose to move away from Palm Beach County proved one thing: Whether they love it or left it, readers are incredibly passionate about the area.
“I’m a native Floridian. I lived in 7 different states but ultimately moved back home,” wrote reader Valerie Lacey Edwards. “It’s not for everybody but it is for me! Like I always tell the naysayers, 95 runs north and south!”
Alternatively, a reader who goes by the name DLang61 responded, “I was born and raised in Palm Beach County and at 63 I left. I couldn’t stand the way things are happening, tearing down places I grew up with and (the) price for living and eating was too much! I moved to Oklahoma and love it here! I am never coming back!!!”
In the original story, former Palm Beach County residents spoke of what brought them to the area and why they eventually headed elsewhere. Although most of them admitted to still loving things about the county, particularly the weather and the water, they ultimately wound up leaving for reasons including the decline of the local economy and housing market, wanting to be closer to family and not feeling connected to community.
“I love the natural beauty of south Florida and being in it, but it’s one of the hardest places to have any sense of community,” wrote Ashley Satterfield. “People are so wrapped up in the struggle to just get by that it’s hard to have time for anyone else. The cost of living here combined with the stagnant, abysmally low wages means a second or third job for most (including myself). It’s hard to make friends.”
“I’m convinced that we simply tend to prefer the place, or at least the kind of place we grew up in, and the kind of people that we grew up with,” wrote reader Jeffrey Buszynski. “I feel like Florida is a totally alien place, for me, because I grew up on Long Island, NY. Florida is never going to feel like home, to me. The most comfortable I ever get in Florida is when I’m around people who are from the Northeast, and even then only when they also really don’t like Florida.”
Reader Stephanie Dietz said she is “looking forward to making my grand exit from this beautiful paradise of superficiality that is South Florida.”
On the other side of the issue were several fiercely proud area residents, some of whom took offense to the entire premise of the story. TripleThreat wrote: “So what was the purpose in writing a negative article on Palm Beach County? Why dig up 4-5 people who had a bad experience, moved away and are no longer part of our community?”
Others were more direct about how they felt about those they saw as complaining, particularly those from a certain northeastern state.
“Good! Last thing we need are more New Yorkers! #byefelicia,” wrote Elena Maysonet Gozlan.
“Get out! And take all the New Yorkers with you,” wrote Joel Eyres. “Take your whiny, complaining, me, me attitudes back to where you came from.”
Some responders were more esoteric, agreeing with Philip Henry, professor of counseling at Palm Beach Atlantic University that moving doesn’t guarantee happiness.
Nancy Josephs agreed. “True, but it’s very difficult to work on yourself while sweating to death just to walk to your car from the grocery store.”
A few took issue with the suggestion by some who left that Palm Beach County has a diversity issue. “Atlanta more culturally and racially diverse than south Florida? Are you blind?,” wrote Daniel Pili, while commenter Orwell84 wrote that “neither place is diverse. Both are segregated.”
Reader DeeDee Bogoff said she’d faced issues like how “you make friends and then they move away, too many snowbirds, too many vacationers (who think this is a party town and treat it as such).”
But then she summed up her conflicting feelings about life here: “I love it in spite of it.”