In 1998 I had been in Manahttan for almost a year, freed from Queens and an expired relationship. Not even the best Indian restaurants in the city or my two-bedroom apartment with a sunken living room and skyline view was incentive to remain in exile across the East River. Twenty minutes from the mainland might as well have been Utah, as far as my friends were concerned, and my building, and person, seemed to have become a featured destination on the itineraries of a few burglars and otherwise evil people. Two robberies didn't convince me to leave, but the guy who pushed himself from behind into the lobby and then into me (aside from terror, no harm done), which I remember from the strange vantage point of the ceiling, having had a sort of fear-induced outer-body experience, finally convinced me to get as far from Jackson Heights as possible.
That was to the Upper West Side, a full two hours away by subway on days with smoke conditions or sick passengers.