Jeffrey Jablansky grew up wanting to write about cars, and moved to Michigan to do it. After graduating from New York University in 2010 he relocated to Ann Arbor. An earlier summer internship at Automobile Magazine turned into a full time job. But Jablansky went back to New York last August, saying Michigan just didn’t feel vibrant enough to keep him here.
“Manhattan is attractive because of what it promises,” he said. “Chicago has its problems but it seems very honest about them. Michigan just felt immature in terms of what it offers. I just felt a little depressed out there. I’ve never been depressed.”
Jablansky, 23, says many people he knows who lived in Ann Arbor or went to school there disagree with his assessment of the town. He said he thought it was beautiful and that the people were friendly. He still feels confused about why he felt he couldn’t build a life there. “I paid the same for a two-bedroom apartment I lived in by myself as I’m paying now for half of a room,” he said, his voice full of disbelief. “There are moments where I really still appreciate what I had there.”
Despite the high cost of living, Jablansky thinks he’ll stay in New York. He’s now working as a grant writer for a nonprofit and still freelance writing about cars. If there is any place he would think about returning, it would be Detroit.
“I have never driven through anyplace as empty and beautiful as Detroit. If it’s still a city in 20 years it will be magnificent.” Asked why he wouldn’t live there now, he said, “Detroit needs industry. I would love to live there, but I’m afraid to live there.”
Jablansky would be interested in visiting Michigan again, and is thinking about coming back. “But,” he said, “I have nobody to visit.”