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7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!

Between 1915 and 1960, the period known as the Great Migration, Black Southerners packed up their belongings and made their way to the Northern cities to flee Jim Crow and for more economic opportunities. A�The glamour of the bright lights and the allure of economic opportunities and a chance to be exposed to what the world has to offer in 302.6 square miles of concrete jungle still brings thousands of Black Southerners to the Big Apple. Meet 7 A�Black Southern Belles who call New York City home. A�Today we explore the life of 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South. Read why they moved North and their advice for Belles looking to make a similar move to the Big Apple:

Tavia Levy, 29


Tavia-Levy 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South! Where are you from in the South?

Ia��m from Fort Lauderdale, Florida also known as the Venice of America. I moved to the South because my Mom wanted my siblings and I to have a better opportunity, yet still grow up close to her family and in an environment that was welcoming.

What do you miss the most about Southern living?

I miss the amazing Southern food. Ita��s true that New York has some good Southern restaurants, but there is nothing quite like the taste of a home cooked meal. A�

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
My neighborhood of Astoria, Queens reminds me of the South. Ita��s less than a 30 minute train ride to Manhattan, and yet certain sections of it is very quiet and suburban. A�Kids still sell lemonade from stands on their front lawn and neighbors can be seen tending their gardens in the summer. Ita��s a sweet little reprieve from the hustle and bustle of New York City.

What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?

If you don’t already have a job lined up, I’d suggest making a list of all the people you know in NYC and reconnecting with them if you haven’t already. Setup coffee dates, lunch or dinners with old friends to not only catch up, but to find out if they can help you in your job search. If you don’t know anyone and even if you do, you should research organizations you can join in your field that will provide you with the opportunity to meet like-minded friends and network with potential employers.

Brittany Dandy, 29


Brittany-Dandy 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!

Where are you from in the South?

Ia��m from Greenville, SC. I was born in Greenville however, my parents were native New Yorkers, so as a kid I visited often. After my first couple of trips, I fell in love with the rich culture of the city, specifically Brooklyn . I went to Syracuse University for graduate school and decided to move to NYC after graduation to begin a career in media. I’ve called Brooklyn home ever since!

What do you miss the most about Southern living?

The things I miss most about southern living would be the roomy living space and the kind southern hospitality. (I also miss authentic trap music lol)

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
I’d say my neighborhood in Ditmas Park in Brooklyn reminds me a little of the South. Ita��s quiet, and lined with large victorian homes with big front yards. We have a few mom and pop restaurants and coffee shops where the faces are familiar and the service is always friendly. Now that I think about it, maybe thata��s why I chose to live there. A�

What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?


I’d advise a Southern Belle planning to move to the Big Apple to pack light, mentally and physically! The city is a beautiful place but it can be overwhelming. Keep an open mind and be prepared to embrace new cultures, and explore new ideas. Oh, and when it’s time to pack, keep it minimal because walk-in closets are not even a thing here.

Lisa Godwin, 31


Lisa-Goodwin 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!Where are you from in the South?

Ia��m from Suffolk, Virginia. I was born and raised in Virginia. A�

What do you miss the most about Southern living?
Simplicity. Sometimes life is all about the simple things like driving to Walmart and having parking spaces or having access to free tennis courts!

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
Pelham Bay area of Bronx. It is a perfect blend of urban and suburban.

What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?
Your limits will often times be tested because this is the place where its millions of people and everyone has a story. It can easily separate the tough from the weak, stay focused on your reasoning for being here. However, do not get lost in your day to day life in NYC, this is an amazing city with so much to explore and hopefully you will fall in love with this place just as I have almost a decade later.

Alexis Reliford, 23

Alexis-Reliford 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!Where are you from in the South?

Ia��m from Itty Bitty Natchitoches, Louisiana (where Steel Magnolias was filmed!)

Why did you move to the New York?

Small town life isn’t really for me and moving to the city was the best choice for the career I wanted.

What do you miss the most about Southern living?

Definitely the sense of community. I’ll say it’s probably what I took the most for granted. In New York you’re definitely a little fish in a big pond. Nobody notices you. Point blank a lot of people don’t care about you and it takes an extreme amount of time to find your tribe. Southerners have a way of meeting you and instantly becoming your “people.” I guess it’s the charm.

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?

Almost every black-owned restaurant in Brooklyn. In addition to the food being seasoned well, the atmosphere in every spot is always so chill and family-oriented. I’ve had many conversations with the waitstaff and bartenders that made me feel like I’d found a long-lost cousin.

What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?

Don’t let the city change you. When I moved here I was so eager to shed my small town roots that I got lost and broken trying to fit in. City life isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be and you’ll soon be craving things that can only be found south of the Mason Dixon. Sounds cliche, but your Southerness is what makes you who you are (accent and all!) and despite how unfriendly other people might be in the city there’s nothing wrong with smiling at people on the Subway sometimes.

Destinee Swindell, 25
Destinee-Swindell 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!

Where are you from in the South?
Hampton, Virginia

Why did you move to the New York?

For my career. I work in advertising and the vast majority of the industry is based in NYC

What do you miss the most about Southern living?

SWEET sweet tea, fried okra, church (really the old church ladies and all their zeal), driving everywhere, and Cookout.

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
Unfortunately not. The energy of NYC is so infectious it takes over any space. However, most of my friends are Southern and the closest I get to home is when we gather for Sunday dinner.

What advice would you give another Southern Bell planning her move to the Big Apple?

My advice would be to hold onto your Southern ways. You’ve probably heard the stereotypes about New Yorkers and might feel like you need harden yourself to thrive. In reality, while it’s important to be smart and assertive when navigating the Big Apple, there’s nothing wrong with being kind, pleasant and showing good manners. I’ve found that people are often seeking a little light in their lives.

Jovian Zayne, 33



Jovian-Irvin 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!Where are you from in the South?
Born in Denton, TX. I spent my early years in Texas and my more formative time in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


What do you miss the most about Southern living?
Outside of Bojangles…I miss the ease in which many are able to live in the south. Therea��s a genuine kindness that exists within many communities there. The random a�?Hey, how you doinga�? from people on the street, to friendly waves and help from strangers make it an all around nicer place to exist. I also appreciate the more affordable cost of living! And in the summer, I REALLY miss driving around in an air-conditioned car vs. waiting for the subway on a hot platform.

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
Honestly, therea��s not too much about NYC that reminds me of home. Ita��s rare, but I am at times reminded of home whenever I can find a lush backyard thata��s big enough to accommodate over 30 people.

What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?
Ita��s easy to develop a routine in the south and therefore coming to NYC can feel very intimidating and overwhelming. All of the people, the A�hustle and bustle, the loud noises…it’s a lot! BUT, do your best to find a community (within a church, meet-ups etc) and learn from othera��s experiences. Creating a new routine in NYC is NOT impossible, and once youa��ve identified your favorite spots (dry cleaners, restaurants, gyms etc) youa��ll start to feel like youa��ve created a home. A�Give yourself grace to make mistakes, feel frustrated and to learn. This city has a way of kicking your butt in the smallest ways, but dona��t let the missed train, or ranting bum get you down. A�If you can make it here, you can definitely make it anywhere.

Dona��t expect New York to be like any other place in the world, and certainly not like your home down south. Embrace the city, and drop the desire to compare it to your former home. That comparison wona��t serve you, and it will cloud your ability to appreciate the uniqueness of the city and all it has to offer during your next chapter of life.

Netta Dobbins, 25


Netta-Dobbins 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!

Where are you from in the South?

Ia��m from Nashville, TN.

Why did you move to New York?
My focus was public relations and Ia��d always been interested in working in the entertainment industry. In Nashville, I was able to work with a couple Country, Jazz and R&B artists, but continually dreamt of working alongside some of todaya��s top artists.

With this in mind, I started to apply to the top PR firms in the entertainment capitals of the world, New York City and Los Angeles. About a couple weeks after I started applying, I got a call from Sunshine Sachs saying theya��d love to have me intern with them for the summer. Although the internship was unpaid and I had no idea how I was going to survive, I realized that my dreams were coming true and I wasna��t going to let anything scare me into staying in Nashville. In less than a month, I quit my job and set out for a new life in New York City.

What do you miss the most about Southern living?
The thing I miss the most about Southern living is the people. In the south, people will go out of their way to say hi to you, to ask you about your day, to make sure that everything in your life is okay. I miss that a�?over the topa�? type of hospitality.

Is there a place in NYC that reminds you of the South?
I recently moved to Prospect Park South. Literally right across the street from the park. I havena��t lived by so many trees and so much grass since I moved from the South. There are also these huge houses right across the street from my new apartment. They all have wrap around porches, yards of green grass, driveways!! This area reminds me a lot of the South and I think thata��s why I like it so much.


What advice would you give another Southern Belle planning her move to the Big Apple?

Just do it. I know ita��s easier said than done, but sometimes we get so comfortable where we are that when we get a new opportunity we question if wea��re ready for it. Truth is, youa��ll never be 100% prepared for the next phase of your life. Therea��s no amount of money that you can save up, therea��s no perfect apartment or job. Relying on having all these set in place before you move, may have you stuck where you are forever. Take a chance on yourself and when you work hard to make your dreams a reality, therea��s nothing that can ever hold you back again.

eb480bdb7e9ff7fc8cb3668408176a81?s=100&d=mm&r=g 7 Southerners in New York and What They Miss About the South!

Brittney Oliver

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