They took off in a hurry — but these New Yorkers are on the express line back to the city.
When the pandemic hit in March, Zachary Thacher packed his suitcases and joined the record-breaking exodus of city folk leaving town.
“I was feeling cooped up and thought I wanted to have a more rural life that was more in tune with nature,” said Thacher, who gave up his one-bedroom apartment in the West Village in April. “I thought I wouldn’t come back.”
Turns out, not all New Yorkers are cut out for country living.
“I was definitely not in farm-shape when I got there,” said Thacher, who briefly volunteered at a friend’s organic homestead.
And so after testing out life in Massachusetts, Vermont and Beacon in upstate New York, Thacher settled on, well, Brooklyn.
“I missed the diversity and my Jewish community,” said Thacher, who runs a digital marketing company.
“It’s just so easy to walk places without having to plan things out. You can stumble upon bars or restaurants and not be on a script here.”
It’s not just the boonies that are turning off city slickers.
New Yorkers have been snatching up real estate in the suburbs, as well as smaller regional cities, where they can get newly coveted amenities like outdoor space.
“I got a driveway, a yard, a washing machine and an eat-in kitchen,” said Maureen Cross, an accountant who earlier this year gave up her rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side.
On June 1, she signed a lease on a much bigger three-bedroom flat in Burlington, Vt., where she moved with her two Siberian Huskies.
“After two weeks I was like, ‘Is this all there is? Where is everybody?’ ”
Cross was soon browsing StreetEasy to move back to the West 80s from her new digs in the sticks and ultimately scored a duplex with a backyard.
She was happy to return to the churn of fast-paced city life — and soon found herself back in her old routine of visiting museums, walking through Riverside Park and volunteering with the Wild Bird Fund.
“I moved back right in time for the Met re-opening,” said Cross. “When I walked into the room with the Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko paintings, my cells fell back into place.”
Of course, not everyone can just pick up and move back to NYC.
Earlier this year, Jenn, who works for a radio station and declined to give her last name, moved out of her apartment on West 87th Street with her husband and two daughters, ages 4 and 8.
“When June came, I lost my mind and agreed to buy a pool that came with a home in Albany,” said the 44-year-old, half-jokingly.
The former Upper West Sider said she “misses everything” about the city, but agreed to stay put considering her husband loves the ‘burbs and her kids are “thriving.”
Someday, when she and her husband are empty-nesters, she hopes to return.
“I just can’t believe that I have to wait that long,” she said.
Others have managed to hold onto their places in the city while they hide out elsewhere.
Noelle, a 32-year-old commercial real estate developer, recently decamped to Whitefish, Mont., with her partner and their two young children.
Thankfully, they still have the keys to their Gramercy place.
“I miss talking to the doormen in the morning when I walk my dog,” said Noelle, who declined to give her last name for privacy reasons. “I miss going outside and being able to talk to people.”
While hiking, swimming and sledding are nice, she said they don’t hold a candle to visiting the Central Park Zoo with the kids or date night at Casa Mono, one of her favorite neighborhood restaurants.
Even her toddler can’t wait to return to his cosmopolitan routine.
Said Noelle: “My son looked at me one day and said, ‘Mommy, I miss sushi.’ ”