POSTS TAGGED ‘Westchester’
Posted by Deirdre // 02-20-2013
Editor’s Note: As you’ll soon learn, I’m on vacation, which is why this post is about a 5-day old article you’ve undoubtedly already read and why the formatting sucks, because I’m doing this all on my iPad. Apologies.
I’m on vacation this week and have hardly launched a screen, I’m proud to say, except to complain about the Downton finale (seriously?!). My sister in law arrived Monday, so did read the paper this weekend and said, “Did you see that article in the Styles section? It’s your blog!”
Of course I immediately sort of panicked that I had missed something major, but then I really enjoyed snickering at most of the piece, Creating Hipsturbia, while sitting on the beach, screen in hand. First of all, it’s not totally the blog but it is a part of it, about making a scene your own where you land, even if it is in suburbia. The rest of it hit a bit close to the cool vs uncool discussion from a few weeks ago, with talk of tattoos and mutton chops and made me feel embarrassed to have ever made that what-is-cool-type commentary. It is also at times so obnoxious that it might make you embarrassed just to live in Brooklyn, or to be one of the people who moved from Brooklyn to one of the River Towns that make up most of the content of the piece. Whether they’re talking about how Brooklyn is so over, like “the last three days of Burning Man” or how these towns have become so “Brooklyn” because of things like farm to table restaurants, vegan bakeries and name-dropped cocktails (I looked up Fernet Branca for anyone, like me, who didn’t know what it was). It was a bit much. Read More…
Posted by Deirdre // 01-30-2013
Now that I’ve had some time to breathe, read a few good comments and reflect on yesterday’s post about Westchester vs Brooklyn, I feel the need for an addendum. It’s a great discussion – certainly worthwhile and fun, and I want to thank Lexi (a contributor, not an owner as I’d previously posted) and A Child Grows for bringing it to my attention and for the comments that followed. And while I stand by what I felt, I may not have expressed it so well (my husband did tell me I sounded like a bitch). I did know when hitting ‘publish’ that the post would ruffle some feathers – the city vs burbs discussions often do. I have no interest in writing a completely innocuous blog and do have a distinct point of view I want to express, but I also recognize that it may have been too much and I’m sorry if I offended anyone tremendously.
First of all, the “cool” discussion, as I said in one of the comments, is just annoying and I somewhat regret using that word. The thing is, cool is different for everyone and that I recognize. And what you wear or have on your body does not make you cool or not cool, of course, any more than where you live.
Second, Westchester is a big place and certainly the entire county does not dress the same or even like the same things.
Third, I didn’t mean to single out Rye or the people who live there. The Starbucks comment came about because one Sunday we stopped there on the way home from a weekend away and literally every guy I saw had on a pair of khakis and a polo shirt of some sort, tucked in. Literally every one. Now does that mean all those guys are dull and all alike? No. Did it give me and my dirty jeans and t-shirts wearing husband pause? Yeah. It just didn’t seem like our scene – it felt monied and country-clubby. Doesn’t necessarily mean that all of it is, or that none of those guys – or women – are “cool” and we certainly couldn’t have judged it perfectly from a passing coffee.
As I said, one of the things I like about Brooklyn (and the city for that matter) is that I do feel that we have a lot of variety in types of people, including the way they dress. We have more choices and are exposed to more just by walking down the street (which one does so less in the burbs – reality). I have to agree with “Snowy” who posted in the Wee Westchester comments that, “The mix of people in the city, including the fedora-wearers, makes things interesting! If everyone looked the same and wore the same hats life would be boring.”
That said, does almost every mother in Park Slope – including yours truly – own Hunter boots or some sort of clog or both? Uh huh.
Personally, my husband and I decided a while ago that the burbs were not for us, because we have careers that don’t require being in the city every day for the long term. In addition, neither one of us ever lived in the suburbs, so it feels more foreign. So if we do move eventually it would likely be farther away, or somewhere in Brooklyn less onerously expensive as our elementary school zone. But again, Brooklyn isn’t perfect and if it was there would be no blog.
I get that the burbs are likely a destination for many of you for many reasons – close to family, close to the city, and for some of the things that Wee Westchester points out. Or maybe you just like it! All of which are reasons why I’ll continue to post about Westchester et al., and the things that many Brooklynites who have posted here and on the group are looking for – green and open space, a walkable downtown, diversity and culture.
Thanks for reading and keeping the (positive) discussion going!
Posted by Deirdre // 09-10-2012
By Bklyn or Beyond Contributor Maggie Kemper
And for my next move…the turtle pulls a rabbit out of her hat.
Let’s see, where did we leave off? Oh yes, I was a turtle happily carrying her home on her back, finding inner serenity wherever my journey took me – be it the gritty energy of Carroll Gardens or the nostalgic ease of a tiny town in Westchester County.
My journey has taken a sharp left turn.
Having bought a house and spent five years creating a life in Pleasantville, my husband and I decided to move to his hometown of Seattle - mere weeks before my oldest was to enter Kindergarten and finally take advantage of all that property tax we had painfully forked over year after year.
I guess in the end a move from Brooklyn to Westchester wasn’t “beyond” enough for me. I’m a mover, it’s how I grew up. When I was a kid, my favorite film was Running on Empty. The only thing that could have topped moving every three to four years, like we did, would have been running from the law under cover of night (with River Phoenix) These past five years in Pville mark the longest I have ever lived in any single abode.
I thought attaining homeownership would scratch that itch forever but it turns out, when presented with the opportunity for change, my body automatically breaks out into hives (both real and metaphoric), and I could not rid myself of our beloved home fast enough.
Hubs had to be the turtle this time, hauling everything we owned that fit into a sixteen-foot rental truck and making his way, slow and steady, from sea to shining sea.
For myself and our two young daughters, I booked three one-way plane tickets, which proved quite a thrill in and of itself. Other small, unexpected delights: changing my weather.com homepage, unsubscribing from NYC-based emails that always taunted me with events I could no longer reasonably attend, and ridding ourselves of 40% of our belongings.
Two weeks ago I landed with my girls in the middle of the night in a city I have only ever visited twice before. We had no home, no schools, no cars – just the graciousness of friends and family, two suitcases, and a file folder containing every essential document of our lives, which, in a total mom-move, I clutched obviously to my breast.
Within forty-eight hours I had secured exciting schooling and cute shelter.
With no one to survey and no time to dilly dally, decision-making became my drug of choice and my gut served as my spirit guide. For the first time in a long time, I looked for validation after the fact, and the trees, the water, the mountains, all told me I was right, right, right.
Adrenalin was pumping. The only two needs I missed were a shower and a preschool. But as soon as I sniffed those out, I turned in the panic for chi and took care of the latter in half the time of the former.
Oh, and can I tell you the absolute utter joy I felt signing a one-year lease in five minutes in a charming coffee shop a block from my new home that I had decided on ten minutes prior? I felt twenty-five again signing that rental agreement I felt like, well, I was back in Brooklyn.
It helps that I am in one of the most beautiful places in the country during its most glorious month of the year, amongst some of the nicest people you can imagine. Seriously I’ve had to dial back the NY intensity on more than one occasion.
The teller at the bank examined my ID and asked me how long I was in town. I barked back, “I am entitled to my money no matter which branch I use!” Undeterred, he forged onward with the transaction. It was only after he introduced me to everyone behind the counter that I realized he was simply trying to be nice.
Seattle is nice. My husband’s new favorite activity is driving us around from one jaw-dropping sight to the next, seeing if he can illicit bigger sighs from me and the girls with each one. It doesn’t seem real: the white majestic mountains against the pure blue skies, the exotic flora bursting from every city yard, or the simple fact that I get to live here.
And city life? I did not realize how much I had missed it. The daily encounters with the off-beat, the tiny commute, the bounty of interesting food and drink, the brushing up against people, myriads of people, people you don’t know, who just smile, and move on, and you just admire their dog or their summer scarf and you too just keep going, going, going.
The kids are doing great. Sure my three-year-old probably believes that we are on some sort of extended vacation. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad way to live, so who am I to burst her bubble? My five-year-old, Alice, seems to have inherited my wanderlust. Just a few days after we broke the news to her of the move back in Pville, she announced, in a tone that would make the original Alice proud: “I’m bored of this world. I want to go to the new one.”
I don’t like the packing. I don’t like the unpacking. I’m really dreading all the address changes and missed mail. New doctors, new dentists, new dermatologist, oh my.
Mostly I do not enjoy saying goodbye to cherished friends. I have shed more tears in the past month than I care to mention. But in her early record “Making Time,” Gillian Welch sums it up perfectly for me: “Oh ain’t it hard to go? But it’s so much harder standin’ still.”
Growing up, my dad had a favorite ironic phrase he would utter routinely once he had finally gotten the whole family out of the house: “Off like a herd of turtles.” It did take awhile for all six of us to ever get into the car. But looking back, we somehow ended up covering a lot of ground.