Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Can New York City Feel Like Home?

I've been living in the City for four-plus years now, and I'm about to tell you something that will make the skin of real New Yorker crawl--I moved here from Los Angeles...and I still miss California. You have to understand. I loved the visiting New York before I actually moved here. It's an energizing, alive, exciting place, but once I had an address here, it never quite became "home."

My husband--let's call him "City Guy"--loves New York. He's lived here forever, and he can't imagine living anywhere else. We met in NYC, so thank the city for that, but like a lot of newlyweds, we're at that point in our lives where we're wondering if NYC is the kind of place we want to settle down in. Do we really want to pay a million for 800 sq-foot box in Manhattan or move somewhere, like Texas, where we could get our very own McMansion with a pool for that money? Just kidding about Texas, but anyhow...a lot of the friends I've met since moving here have themselves moved away from NY over the years. So I wonder: do most people eventually leave?

I was thinking about this during a bout of insomnia last night, and realized I hated LA when I first moved there, and it took me about four years to "conquer" the city, learn how to navigate the city like a native, find my favorite little shops and restaurants, the quirky little neighborhoods, the doctor and dentist I adored, the friends and neighborhood that felt like "mine"--in effect, to accumulate all the experiences, places and people that made me feel homesick for LA when I left.

So I came to thinking that maybe the same principle works for NYC. Maybe it's time for me to stop kicking and screaming, stop bemoaning my lack of sunshine and warmth (though, yes, spring has sprung in NYC, and I can just feel my brain coming alive again), my lack of swimmable beaches and hikable mountains, my lack of four-wheeled transportation with which to transport my groceries from the supermarket, which I also lack, and really set out to find the New York places, people, experiences, treasures that will make this city feel like home and not just a big, bad indifferent city full of strangers.

So, that's why I'm here. I'm going to give it a real shot. I'm going to walk the streets in search of a sense of "home." Yeah - I should have done this years ago, but there was grad school and work and my nose was so close to the grindstone I couldn't see much. But there's a time and place for everything. Come along and see what I find...

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