Nick grew up in the Middle West, attended college in New Haven, and went to Europe as part of the American forces involved in World War I. When he returned from the war, he found "the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe", so that a change of location seemed highly desirable.
In looking for a new location and a suitable occupation, Nick realized that "everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man." His family all agreed that this plan made sense and seemed a wise choice for Nick. Because the center of the bond and banking world in the United States at that time was located in New York City, it was a logical decision that this was Nick's destination.