A short while back I discussed the things I will not miss about New York when we move. Of course, with that list comes the alternate list of things I absolutely will miss when we're gone, because lets be honest, New York is a kick ass city. It is smelly sometimes, yes. It is expensive as hell and drains your bank account faster than you can blink, yes. And it can drive a person to want to grab a tourist by the shoulder and shake them while screaming, "Please do NOT stop in the MIDDLE of the sidewalk to take your pictures! People are walking here!" But I love this city to the core and despite it's shortcomings, I will miss it terribly. The list is long. I could type all night about the conveniences of New York, or the charm, or the hustle and bustle that both excites and amazes me, but I will not make you sit through my long, never-ending list. So, consider this the abridged version.
- Food/Restaurants - S and I love to eat. We like to maintain a healthy lifestyle and consider ourselves well-balanced eaters, but we don't hold back when we see something we just absolutely have to try. Like, for example, when we went for a run in Prospect Park last summer and discovered the Food Truck Rally that had set up shop in Grand Army Plaza. We quickly did our routine loop all the while thinking of those trucks. Mmmmm...Kimchi Tacos, Falafels, homemade ice cream sandwiches. Did we run enough miles to justify such a feast? No. But who cares? Will all these food trucks ever be in one place at one time, ever again, like it is today? Maybe not. So we ate. And we loved every minute of it. We later found out those Food Trucks would become an "every-third-Sunday-of-the-month" set up until late October, so yeah, we kind of chilled out on the face-stuffing after that. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that the food here is amazing. All the restaurants, the cafes the food booths at flea markets around the city, it's all amazing. People aren't afraid to experiment with new and delicious combinations, and S and I love to try them. We will miss just popping into our favorite places for a quick bite or standing in line at the Brooklyn Flea for a People's Pop on a hot sunny day. We will miss sidling up to the food truck on the corner just because it's new and looks interesting. Bottom line: we will miss eating in New York.
- Prospect Park - I mentioned this park earlier, so now would probably be a good time to tell you that it is my all-time, hands-down, most favorite piece of greenery in this city has to offer. When I first moved here, I was a Central Park girl. I ran there, I sunbathed there, I met my friends for picnics there. I loved that park. But then I moved to Brooklyn, and my eyes were opened (by S, of course, since he is the one who introduced me) to a whole new type of outdoor space. You see, Central Park, dare I say, is for tourists. It's beautiful, it's breathtaking and it inspires some of the most amazing photographs and paintings in the world, but it is there, in my opinion, for others to look at. It's not for you to live in, relax in, just...be in. That's what Prospect Park offers and more. From the second you enter, you sense this familial vibe...children riding scooters, teenagers playing frisbee, mothers and fathers pushing their babies in strollers, family reunions being held on the lawn while old men stand around laughing and grilling hamburgers... This is everyone's backyard, and you see that all around you. And I'm not the only one who feels that way. Ask any Brooklyn resident to name their favorite park and most will tell you Prospect Park. And we're not alone. Frederick Law Olmsted one of the designers of both Central Park and Prospect Park, once stated that he viewed Prospect Park as his greater achievement. And I think he was right.
- Bodegas - One of the conveniences of living here is that you can get just about anything you need at your local corner store, or bodegas as we call them. Ran out of toilet paper? Quick, run to the bodega. Need milk for the baby's nightly bottle and the grocery store is already closed? Throw on your flip-flops and pop across the street to the bodega. Sure, other places in the country have their Circle K's or Quick-Marts, but you have to actually drive there 99% of the time and a quick trip can turn into a long one pretty fast. Bodegas on the other hand are on every block. A trip can take less than 5 minutes door to door, and I have never, not one time, gone to a bodega and not found what I was looking for. Sure, you might have to use the generic butter instead of the organic, gluten-free, or whatever, but you will find butter. You will find just about anything. I once had my sister visiting from out of town and she decided she wanted to bake something. We'd gone to the store to purchase all the necessary baking ingredients, only to get home and realize, "damn, I don't own a baking pan." But! I could just whip across the street and get one! My sister insisted I not do that and tried to convince me she really didn't need to bake (all the while making fun of me for not actually owning a baking pan) but I insisted that she did, and that it would be no problem for me to run over to the bodega. 90 quick seconds later I was back and proudly holding up one of those tin-foil baking pans that you throw out when your done with it. She looked at me and asked where I got it. When I told her, she was shocked. "Wow, that was fast. They sell those there?" See? Total convenience. I will miss the heck out of that convenience too. And yes, my sister baked up something delicious that night and we enjoyed every morsel of it.
- E's daycare - When S and I first found out we were expecting a baby, I insisted we hire a nanny. I knew they could be expensive so I started doing my research. I was convinced we could pay for a more affordable nanny (affordable being $600 a week, yeah right!) and quickly learned that, yeah...we're not the Rockefeller's. So we 86'd that idea rather quickly and started researching daycares instead. One option was right down the street from our apartment and our neighbor's daughter, who was one-year old at the time, had been attending since she was 4-months old. So we talked to her mom, toured the daycare, talked with the staff and asked a million and one questions. We were hesitant, not because we saw or heard something that made us question the daycare's abilities, but because E was our baby and we were about to make a decision to leave him with perfect strangers at such a young age (he started daycare at 3 months). Those first few weeks were not fun. I resisted the urge to call and check on him every hour and tried to tell myself he was okay. And he was. And over the last 10 months we have watched our tiny helpless baby grow into a happy, smart, energetic toddler who absolutely LOVES his daycare. He has friends and his favorite teacher is Miss Gloria, who he calls Nana. (Shhhh, don't tell his real Nana, my mom ;)) He has a smile on his face when I drop him off and a smile on his face when S picks him up. He loves it there and we love it for him. We will be sad when we have to say goodbye, but we will always hold Sunshine Daycare in our hearts.
- Reading on the subway - What? Reading on the subway? Yes, reading on the subway. One of the simple pleasures in life is curling up with a good book and immersing yourself in the world of child wizards or romantic dramas involving characters like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. And for me, that place is the train. My daily commute to work is 45 minutes each way, and I spend every second of it with my nose in my book, ignoring the pushing and shoving or talking that goes on around me, and placing myself squarely in the world of imagination. Before I know it I am at my stop and my commute is over. Time flies so quickly and I love it. However, sometimes I want to keep riding the train just so I can continue to read because I am always dying to know what happens next. But yeah, you have to go to work, right? Anyway, this has been my routine for the past 10 years. Reading on the train has always brought me joy, and I will truly miss it when we are gone. I will have to find a new place to curl up besides a hard, cold plastic bench, I guess ;-).
- The Arts - This is a no-brainer, but duh, this city is packed full of fun, artsy things to do. A couple of our favorites are First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum, where the museum is open late the first Saturday of every month and opens its doors to the public for a free tour of the museum, and Celebrate Brooklyn concerts outdoors in Prospect Park. But of course I can't forget the old stand-bys like The Met, The Guggenheim, MOMA and more. Culture and art is around every corner and it gives this city so much life. I know we are setting off on an adventure where living all over the world will bring its own set of cultural rewards, but we will always be nostalgic about the culture we found here. It's like your first love - you never forget it.
- And finally, I will bring this list to a close by saying that above all else, we will miss our friends. We will miss the impromptu brunches on a Saturday morning, and the roof parties, and the kiddie play dates at the playground. We will miss the conversations over glasses of wine and we will miss the community we have become a part of over the past decade. We have made some truly wonderful friends here and we will forever miss them with all our hearts.