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Also born and raised in NYC but moved to Denver 14 years ago. It is fantastic here and I can’t see ever leaving. Although I do miss the city from time to time (I just re-watched The Warriors last night and despite the content, it made me nostalgic for the city since I was a kid there in the late 70s early 80s).
The whole “native” and “visit, but don’t stay” thing is very overblown. People here are very friendly and welcoming, even to asshole New Yorkers like us. People move here because of the jobs, climate, scenery, and, yes, affordability. While rents and home prices have gone up a lot, they are nowhere near the levels of NYC or SF (where I also lived in the late 90s). There is a building boom going on right now in Denver, especially for rentals. In a couple of years, there will be glut of rentals and prices will come down. I always say to people that the price of a good economy is that people will want to move here, and would you really prefer the opposite?
RTD, the local transit authority, is undergoing a massive build-out. In about 9 months I will have train station within walking distance to my house. As someone who grew-up riding the subway and did not own a car, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.