Sometimes it’s hard even to believe that me, a small-town girl from Boston, have spent almost half of my life in New York City. I vividly remember my first trip here as a little girl visiting the Statue of Liberty and feeling the energy for the first time. It’s that constant buzz that truly makes it “THE city.”
In my 20s, it was a place that brought fun, adventure, amazing experiences, and, ultimately, love. No area was too far or out of our way from uptown to downtown to Chelsea to Alphabet City. There were nights that turned into mornings, late morning brunches, newspaper reading (NY Post forever), grad school paper writing, and carefree hours of roaming the stores, museums, restaurants, and parks.
As the next decade entered, the city was there for me in a different way. From my wedding shower at Gramercy Park Hotel to working with the best team on the UWS at Columbia Grammar and ultimately closing on our new apartment on the UES, which we watched them build from the ground up and met neighbors who turned into beautiful friendships.
It was here where I naturally birthed all three babies at Cornell, even once walking to the hospital while in active labor. Central Park became our kids’ playground (nothing like it), and mommy friends and groups became the new normal. It was no longer how can we get a reservation but now can the doorway fit a stroller?
Of course, there were still those fun and late nights because, after all, it is NYC, but now it had the bonus of paying for babysitters, Ubers, and exhaustion the next day that even the energy from the city couldn’t match.
I have loved watching my babies take their first steps in NYC, run around the playgrounds with all different types of kids, walk to school and shul together, and shlep home bags of groceries (because if you know me, you know I’m walking home) and growing lasting friendships. It has all been part of the experience.
And since we stuck out it here the entire pandemic (humble brag), I think I have earned the right to say that the energy is still and forever will be here. It’s not going anywhere. Sure, some issues and hardships come with having small children in a city that’s been through quite a time.
But to me, I believe that shows the kids and us adults what true grit and resilience are all about. And if that’s not NYC, then I don’t know what is.
So now, as I enter my 40s and have certainly been through many of life’s ups and downs, surprises and disappointments, greatest loves, and hardest losses, I’m hesitant to say I’m ready to go. Is anyone ever really able to say goodbye to the City? A skyline I was so happy returning to after traveling to so many others…
Now the shlepping will be from the car and no longer down the city streets. The playground will be in the yard, and at the school, the restaurants will be mostly generic, and shopping will be subpar.