My life in New York was by any standard (except the billionaire one) a good life. My apartment was small but not cluttered, rich in bathrooms, and wonderful city views.
New York was home. I didn’t realize how comfortable I felt on every street in Manhattan. Having lived in Queens (Sunnyside and Douglaston) for twelve great years—otherwise known as my first twelve years–I had a special affinity for the borough.
But I had worked in downtown Brooklyn during “the bad old days” of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s so….and I loved my twice yearly walk from Sheepshead Bay to Coney Island and back by way of some New York City’s most beautiful beaches. (Later I was to fall in love with the ferry that went to the Red Hook Ikea and Red Hook itself.)
I had also worked in The Bronx during “the bad old days, part two,” otherwise known as the early to mid 1990’s.
I worked at some time or another in every borough but Staten Island and lived in every borough but Brooklyn. (Born in Staten Island where I spent my first three weeks.)
To say I was familiar with Manhattan is a gross understatement. When I lived in rent stabilized near-heaven on East 63rd Street off Fifth Avenue I set out to walk every street in the borough. In those pre-Internet, document every action you take days I didn’t think this a particularly incredible feat nor one that should be recorded for posterity. It was just a way of learning the city and getting easy exercise. Then it became my preferred mode of travel.
I often found myself in The Village where I had friends with clubs. One seminal club in particular where I found myself meeting famous people, refusing advances from incredible men and letting myself fall in love with—well he came well-recommended by a woman who would become legendary for her gravely voice and poetic lyrics.
I had friends and family throughout the city and suburbs. Being a third or fourth generation New Yorker I took feeling comfortable for granted. New York was a very large very small town to me.
I grew older—not wiser and wanted an easier life. I was tired of living like a perpetual grad student. My apartment was beautiful but it lacked space for things I began to consider essential to life—a washer/dryer and dishwasher. Blame it on blogging, I do. I found out that people much younger than me and less established lived in duplexes and houses three to six times larger than my 600 square feet.
At first I thought I would move to Santa Monica or San Diego. They were pricey but if I scaled back my wish list doable. Problem was I didn’t want to scale back my wish list. And I’m an East Coast girl. I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean, and it was the Atlantic that I had confided my biggest dreams to.
I had always thought I would end up in Miami Beach. As my aunt and uncle had moved to Miami in the 1940’s, my cousins were born there as were their children, and I had friends in Miami that seemed reasonable.
I loved the beach; loved the views from the Intercoastal; the intermingling of Hispanic and Jewish cultures (my two favorite); the growing art and design scene; even the buildings.
Miami seemed a perfect fit. But I couldn’t do it.
This is part one of a multipart series.