Saturday, January 07, 2006

Goodbye, Manhattan

You know... just because you've lived in New York City, doesn't mean you're interesting and cool. It's something I thought you should know. I just finished reading the Real Estate section of January 8, 2006 weekend New York Times and am rather annoyed by it. The article, "Goodbye, Suburbs" was telling the story of several couples moves away from Manhattan only to find the suburbs a complete dissappointment and the need to return to Manhattan within as little as three months.

Both my husband and I grew up in semi-rural areas where our homes were on at least a couple acres. Once we graduated high school, both of us were drawn to cities (me to Seattle and LA, Paul to Chicago, New York & Paris). We met in Seattle in the mid-90s and lived there knowing we both loved New York so we moved to 24th & 6th and have also spent a couple years in Chicago on 1254 Bosworth. We reached our mid-thirties and thought about what we wanted - Paul a music studio and me, a garden where I can grow organic food for my family and friends (if the damn deer don't eat it first). So, we rented in a town we thought would be nice. We spent a year there and drove around looking at different towns trying to figure out what we wanted before we decided to ease into suburban life by buying a house that 1) we could afford and 2) is walking distance to the downtown area 3) wasn't a piece of crap that required constant upkeep. One of the benefits of living in the city is that you can walk everywhere - this was our way of keeping something we love while still getting everything else that we wanted.. So, back to this article and our topics, Anna Hillen and her husband, Gerry McConnell and one year old son moved out of TriBeCa after 9/11 - fair enough. But what they did next is made a mistake, they bought a 6,000 square foot mcmansion on three acres in Pound Ridge, NY. Which is a town, if you can call a collection of 1/2 dozen buildings consisting of a deli, inn, museum and a couple other non-descript buildings. Suddenly, they found themselves bored and isolated. As their kid would probably say: "well, duh!" Just because I put on a glass slipper doesn't mean Prince Charming is going to come to take me to the magical ball. This stuff takes work and they had no idea what they were doing. The article fails to mention this but only talks about what the couple gave up by leaving New York City (friends to go out with at night, late night food delivery). What should they have done? Well, researched the towns, made sure there were social things to do in a close proximity and promised each other to get their asses out and make friends. In New York, it is difficult to live there but once you get the rules, it is easy - stand on the near corner of the street to catch a cab, don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk because it is a traffic arterial for people, etc.. But once you understand them, the mental stimulation is easy: walk outside. There are things happening ALL around you and you just have to walk down the street to find something exciting going on. That's what is great about it. Well, in the suburbs, you need to go out and actually find things that are interesting to do! It is here and there are LOTS of people that are very creative and interesting but you need to make an effort to find them (just on my block is a painter and a New Yorker cartoonist!). The catch is though, is that YOU will need to be interesting too. This means you can't just go out and expect people to entertain you because just being from Manhattan, doesn't make you automatically interesting.


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