Part Time Gotham-ite

I am a hardcore suburbanite.  I mean, as hardcore as suburbanites get.  So sort of a soft fuzzy non-confrontational core.

I like lawns, drive-thrus, Target, and readily available parking.  Fresh air, clean streets, trees, and wide aisles in the stores.

Many days I look very much like that poor woman over there – except with more dogs, older kids, and no urge to touch a vacuum cleaner.

I don’t like crowds, noise, being pushed, weird smells, or public transportation.  It weirds me out to walk out a door and immediately be in a swarm of people.

I could never live in a city.  I have never felt the urge to work in the city.  New York scares the bejeezus out of me.  Even Philadelphia is over my head.

I picture the women who fit in in the city like Carrie Bradshaw.  Although I never actually watched Sex & The City, the whole confident, fabulous, fashionista thing always stuck in my head as what city girls are like.

I am so not that girl.

For one thing, I can’t wear high heels.  I mean, I probably could. Once.  And then I would immediately plummet to my tragic death.  I’d rather not, thanks.

I don’t do designers.  My wardrobe is almost exclusively from Target and Old Navy.  And I like it that way.

And yet, I am now a girl who works in the city.  Me.  In New York.  Voluntarily.

I just returned from my second solo trip to New York.  I took the train.  I hailed cabs. I fought my way through crowds.

And it was totally awesome!

I wore my best gray and black – to blend.  I did not wear heels.  And really no one around me was either, except for one woman in Penn Station who had on shoes that even Lady Gaga would look at and say “I think not”.

When the cab driver had no idea where 19th Street was (between 18th and 20th would be a good starting point) I did not panic. I walked 3 blocks to find a Dunkin’ Donuts and found my way back without incident.

I walked down the street to look for food in the afternoon and I was like “Dude (I call myself Dude sometimes), I am on 5th Avenue!”  Even I have heard of that!!

There were a bajillion choices of what to eat, and all sorts of alluring shopping.  It was tough to haul myself back inside, in spite of the fact that it was raining quite profusely.

I was walking around New York…alone…in the rain.  And I totally didn’t hate it.  What on earth is going on???

Of course at the end of the day I was relieved to jump back on the train, and get back in my SUV, and drive back to my suburban abode, and walk my dogs, and hug my kids.

But DUDE…I get to go back to New York next week! And I am actually looking forward to it!

Maybe I should wear this.

With black?

About Kristen

Me: Kristen, slightly more than 40-something (don't make me face the number), suburban mom of 2, working girl, therapeutic writer, proprietor of an emptying nest Addictions: Iced Coffee, FOMO resulting in twitchy compulsion to check FB/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest in an unending loop, texting, hugging my one child while Snapchatting the other, probably annoying my BF, yelling at my dog

10 Responses

  1. Gman

    I hate the city. Hate it. Last time my wife dragged me there for “recreation,” we got stuck on an L train in Union Square. A Con Ed power plant had a huge fire, so all the subway switches were out. Track crews were walking ahead of the the train to throw switches by hand. The sardine-jammed, non-air conditioned train we were on was the last train the MTA would run to Brooklyn until power was restored.

    It took 30 minutes to go from Union Square to Third Ave., which is about a 500 foot distance. I told my wife that she could go on to Brooklyn to see her sister if she wanted to, but I was getting out at Third Ave., walking back to Grand Central, and coming back to Waterbury.

    I’ve been back twice since, but only because I was oversold on a famous-name cancer hospital, which also turned out to be an overcrowded POS.

    Nope. Stick me in the middle of the woods with a bottle of water, a compass and a map, and I’m pig-in-shit happy. But put me in a concrete environment where my well-being is dependent upon too many other people, and I am a very grumpy man. If the city were any great shakes, LL Bean wouldn’t be in Maine.

    1. Phyllis Alberici

      I second the hate. The place terrifies me. I look furtive, like a small animal being hunted, a sign on my back that says ‘mug meeee!’ Now, put me in a snowbank in some tree infested landscape with a pair of Merrill’s on my feet, some maple syrup, and my dog….ahhhhh.

      But, hey, have at it, Kristen. “You’re a braver woman than I”, said I (me, whatever).

      1. Gman

        Speaking of muggings…I was walking in Times Square one day in my mid-20s, back when it was still full of tawdry establishments…but it was lunch hour so it was jam-packed. Some young sport sidles up next to me and says, “You like you could use a nice stilett-.o.”

        “What?”

        “A nice stillett-o, a nice knife. I’ll show it to you right behind that building over there.”

        I advised him to hie away quickly, lest I beat the living shit out of him with my umbrella in front of a thousand stockbrokers. And he just melted away into the crowd.

    2. Kristen

      I am in no hurry to move there – and I will not ever walk alone at night. But it feels more like an adventure at this moment in life than it has before. I’m going with it!

  2. The first evening Marcia and I spent TOGETHER (in the capital letter sense, namsain?) was in New York City, after being “just friends” for nine months or so, so it does have some emotional resonance for us . . .

    I’m very comfortable there in terms of knowing where to go and what to do, and I feel safe, but after a few days, I am definitely ready to beat a retreat back up the river . . . . and to take a nice long shower to wash the residue of Manhattan from my body . . .

  3. kirsten

    What’s going on is your natural coolness coming to the fore! Enjoy it! And one of these days I’m going to ride up there with you, shop, meet you for lunch, and go to a museum, because you shouldn’t get to have all of the fun! :)

  4. Marcia Brom Smith

    I was raised in a city, but a Midwestern one so it had more in common with the suburbs than New York City. I started taking day trips to The City (which is what we upstaters call it) for work in the late 90″s. I have had good trips and bad trips. I enjoy the shops, museums, restaurants and night life. Especially the restaurants.

    We eat out a lot and after 19 years of living here have found a core group of restaurants that we can trust to have a nice dining experience. I try a new restaurant pretty much every time I go to New York and each time the food, atmosphere and service are all wonderful. Sometimes we have done our research and checked the reviews on Trip Advisor, but other times we just walked into the place because it was nearby when we decided to have a meal.

    I have always thought of New York as a place that only the strong can survive. I admit to being a little proud that I can navigate the subways and know which direction to walk when I emerge from underground. I know how to walk through the crowds and can flag down a taxi. I bet you will feel the same way Kristen after a few more trips. Enjoy.

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