Oh how I love New York. It is hard to describe the magic of New York City to someone who has never visited. I have close family who have yet to visit me here, and they always seem baffled that I live here. (“Is it dirty?” “Are there a ton of people everywhere?”) I get it. Parts of the City are dirty. It can smell pretty horrendous in July. It’s crowded, especially in the Times Square area. But New York City is so much greater and better than those momentary frustrations (which every place on the planet has in some respect). There is an intersection of cultures and people here that is so rare. It is amazing how often you turn a corner and spot something completely original, fascinating, or just plain cool.
Piano, in Washington Square Park.
Is that a little apartment built on top of that building? (Chelsea)
Cool, yet spooky, community garden in the East Village.
It’s a clock! Telling us the time, and the time remaining, in Union Square.
A perfect little house wedged in among buildings, East Village
People always think New Yorkers are stand-offish. They assume they are so accustomed to crazy things happening around them they don’t notice other people. I have found the exact opposite to be true. If anything, New Yorkers think everything is their business. They feel that they can comment on anything or interject themselves into any conversation because there is a certain amount of anonymity to living here, but also because it is understood among New Yorkers that we are willing to share our experiences with others. That’s why we live here. To be anonymous, yes, but not to be invisible. I remember when I first moved here my husband and I bought a piece of furniture at Housing Works and as I stood on the sidewalk with it while my husband paid inside, 3 or 4 people stopped to comment on it. (“How are you getting that home?” “You should refinish the bottom part there, it looks like it’s had some water damage.” “Nice Art Deco piece, what did you pay for it?”) I was on the phone with my sister who lives in Wyoming and she said, during the third interruption, “Wow, New Yorkers are bold, aren’t they?” Yes, they are, in such a lovely way.
I have so many moments that flash through my mind when thinking of New York. Like the time I stepped off the subway and saw the little black boy wearing his Jewish friend’s yarmulke and watching them laugh hysterically when people did a double take. The celebrity sightings, which you have to be too cool to acknowledge. The tranquility of the Central Park Zoo in February, or Central Park anytime. The proximity of poverty to grandeur. The constant reminder that our fellow New Yorkers can be obnoxious, but are just as often fascinating and entertaining.
My oldest, demonstrating her New York City attitude
It is so hard for me to leave this City that I have adopted as my own. When I moved here I was a twenty-something following her boyfriend to the City of his dreams. Over the past ten years I fell in love with the City too, married that boy, and had two children. I have found it to be a great place to have small children. I have never for a moment felt isolated or bored because there is so much to do and so many cool moms and kids to hang with. People wonder how you navigate the City with children. That part is easy. My children have loved it too. They have loved the parks, the playgrounds, Have hung with the local wildlife,
Yes, she’s kissing a worm. She’s got a little Wyoming in her after all.
Have loved taking every kind of public transportation imaginable,
Metro North Train
Two old ladies waiting for the bus
Amtrak (don’t try this at home)
Old reliable, the subway
Sometimes they even walk. But, let’s face it, they often end up like this: They have tasted some of the best food on the planet Oysters at Fish (West Village) Grom’s Ice Cream (West Village, among other locations) Pommes Frites, East Village
Baguette from the Silver Moon Bakery-UWS
(It is hard to find a food photo that doesn’t have one of their fat little fists grasping for the food) Cornelia Street Cafe, West Village
And have hung with the coolest cats in town:
Eat your heart out, Williamsburg! (Bohemian Beer Garden, Queens)
But, because of those two rascals, who have done things to my heart I did not know possible, it has become clear that it is time to leave this City. Quite simply, our family needs some things we can’t have here, like affordable preschools and even a backyard! And so I say, with sadness, goodbye-New York for real. But, that doesn’t mean I still won’t love you from afar.