The City That Sleeps Just Fine16

Posted by Deirdre // 02-05-2014

Goin' back to Cali

Goin’ back to Cali?

I’ve read two articles on L.A. recently that made me really stop and think. Like a “wait, what?” kind of think. Like, “is L.A. actually a place I could see us?” kind of think. I grew up a New Yorker and always felt like L.A. was kind of a joke — or at least not really reality. My Dad has lived there since the early 80s and I visited him often, especially when I was younger. Those trips were always filled with Disney Land and swimming pools and tennis clubs and what I considered luxury (what really was luxury for a while after moving in with a girlfriend and her kids to their AWESOME mid-century modern house with a pool in a crazy gated community in Beverly Hills for several years, he mostly lived in more modest places, even though most came with a pool). A few times in my 20s I went there to visit and hung out with friends who lived what would be more of a life I would live there, yet I still never really thought twice about L.A. as a home and when I did move to California for a blip, it was to San Francisco.

But recently I was doing some research on L.A. for a consulting job and came across this article in T Magazine about the new arts and fashion scene there that struck me so intensely that I immediately sent this blurb to my husband, along with the full link.

“Los Angeles’s burgeoning fashion ecosystem — democratic, bootstrappy, upbeat and sometimes wantonly improvisational — seems to be drawing power from several sources, including still-plentiful real estate, a local buzz vacuum caused by the sputtering of the movie industry, creative runoff from the town’s exploding art scene and an emerging sense that sometime in the last few years, New York ceased being a locus of inventive energy and gritty potential and turned into a luxury shopping mall where the proverbial kid from the sticks with sequins in her eyes has to foam milk for 14 hours a day just to make rent”.

First of all, hilarious. But wait…bootstrappy? Improvisational? In the past I haven’t associated this type of artsy, street style with L.A. — I have several friends in the biz there and while it is laid back and more casual than New York in many ways, that seems a stiflingly non-democratic community. But a few years ago some friends moved there (without kids, mind you) to a stunning place in Venice Beach, on a canal, 5 minutes from the beach for like half of what we pay for a walk-up off of 7th Avenue. They’re graphic designers, not producers or agents, and I curse her Instagram regularly. And we’ve met others — both with kids and without — who have a nice, normal, non-Hollywood and kind of awesome life there. But also the sense that “things” are possible — that there is movement and energy and creativity happening, because people can afford to actually make it happen — is exciting and alluring. Honestly, it is the kind of vibe (sans Palm trees, of course) that drew me to Brooklyn in the first place way back in 1999. Read More…


Irvington Q&A with Sheri Silver7

Posted by Deirdre // 01-31-2014


There’s been a lot of talk on the group lately about the River Towns (there kind of always is, in my mind it’s because they have a bit more of a laid-back vibe than the East side of Westchester, but what do I know). So I asked friend of the blog and contributor Sheri Silver some questions about what it’s like to live there.

Where is home and why did you choose your town?

Home is Irvington, New York. My first husband grew up here and when were considering where to settle and raise our family (which was over 20 years ago) it seemed like the best of all worlds. Picturesque, great schools and a range of home sizes and incomes. Knowing we’d never be the “richest kids on the block” we wanted a town that was not so exclusive that we’d feel out of place. At the time, Irvington was all of those things.

What is the commute like into Manhattan during rush hour?

By train it’s a 37 minute express ride on Metro North into Grand Central. By car, during rush hour it would take about 1-1 ½ hours to get to midtown.

What about the schools – you have a pre-schooler and a college grad, so you have a lot of experience!

Main Street School

Main Street School

My daughter went right through the Irvington schools and graduated from college in 2013. My older son is a senior in the high school and just got accepted to his top two colleges (with scholarships – proud mama moment!). And my younger son is in his last year of pre-school, starting kindergarten this fall.

There are a TON of pre-schools in the Rivertowns – from religious to Montessori to co-op. While it’s nowhere near the craziness of the city (you do NOT have to sign your kid up at birth!), if you have your heart set on a particular school you would do well to sign up a year in advance. Class sizes are capped and existing families get to enroll first. Average cost is $5 – 7,000 per year – the range based on how many days per week/full day vs. half, etc. There is no public pre-K in Irvington.

I’ve been – overall – very satisfied with my children’s education. As with any school – and any town – you need to always advocate for your child. But I’ve found the staff and administration, for the most part, to be responsive and supportive. An example would be my son’s art teacher – who, on her own time, volunteered to work with him on constructing his portfolio to apply to college. And I feel that my kids were – and are – prepared for college as a result of their education.

Are there problems with over-crowding?

No – I think there’s a high priority placed on this matter, which is reflected in classroom size across all four schools.

Is the town walkable? What is of interest there?  

Downtown Irvington and the Hudson River

Read More…


Score One – or Two?- for Brooklyn!0

Posted by Deirdre // 01-09-2014


Look at all that green (it’s good)!

Thanks Gothamist, for finally posting something good about NYC! A recent study by Cal Berkeley shows that the city actually has fewer carbon emissions than the burbs, probably due to all that driving people have to do there (a guess) and the fact that this biking thing seems to have really taken off. There’s also a map of the entire country, making South Carolina look pretty sweet (politics be damned).

Speaking of suburban toxicity (or something like that), I came across this from The Atlantic on the new style of road development that’s apparently all the rage in many suburbs, what former street engineer and founder of the nonprofit Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn called a STROAD, “four-and-six-lane-wide thoroughfares, built for speed but also lined with retail and residential developments” — kind of like what they want to do to 4th Avenue!

But in other words, not a street and not a road, or as Chuck says, “the futon of transportation alternatives. Where a futon is a piece of furniture that serves both as an uncomfortable couch and an uncomfortable bed, a STROAD moves cars at speeds too slow to get around efficiently but too fast to support productive private sector investment.” Chuck, you have made me laugh, rethink my move out of the city AND my considering a futon for our tiny office/guest room, so thank you.