The Big Commute, in Reverse
By FORD FESSENDEN
ON most days, Matthew Davis, a 28-year-old portfolio manager, can count on spending about two hours getting to work and another two hours getting home. That's going against the tide of commuters going into New York City for work. Mr. Davis, who rented an apartment in Park Slope in Brooklyn when he landed a job in the securities industry in New York, found himself not on Wall Street, but in Ronkonkoma, working for a financial services management company.
He starts his morning with a stop for tea and a bagel at his neighborhood delicatessen, and walks 30 minutes or takes the subway to the Flatbush Avenue terminal of the Long Island Rail Road. In Jamaica, Queens, he changes trains and settles in for a 60-minute ride to his company's office near MacArthur Airport, deep in Suffolk County. There, he keeps a car for the last leg of the commute, a total of two hours each way. "Usually, until I get to Mineola, I have to stand, but then I find a seat and read the paper," he said. "I tried to find an apartment closer to work, but after 20 minutes of driving, I still wasn't anyplace that was close to anything. I really like living in the city."
Mr. Davis is among the some 300,000 people who live in New York City and make their way to jobs in the suburbs every day, part of a fast-growing segment of the work force that has turned the traditional idea of bedroom communities on its head. The group includes young workers in high-skilled professions, as well as tens of thousands of others up and down the income spectrum who prefer city living or cannot afford the suburban dream.