What I’m Going to Miss

Ten months after we rolled into New York City, we’re packing to leave.  Or, anyway, we’re talking about packing.  My husband’s finishing his book and I’m hotfooting it to a few Broadway shows.  But we’re scheduled to be out of here on Tuesday, June 15th.

It’s been a wonderful year — one of the best of my life.  I’ve fallen in and out of love with this city over and over; at the moment, I’m bonkers about it.  (Bad timing.  Why couldn’t I be hating it now, tired of the noise and the crowds, ready to flee to a pasture with contented cows somewhere?)

Right now, though, I’m thinking about what I’ll miss the most about it:

1) Walking everywhere.  I love the way it’s integrated into life here in a way it simply isn’t outside the East Coast.  I recently interviewed a woman from Austin who’s currently living in New York.  She talked about trying to walk a few blocks in Austin on a perfectly decent day; several people in cars stopped to make sure she was all right and didn’t need a ride.  This is no exaggeration; walking on streets is a subversive act in Texas cities.  Don’t ask me why.  It just is.

2) Non-stop, direct flights to just about anywhere on earth.

3) Mass transit that works.

4) Movies that have just been released.

A few months ago, I mentioned a movie we’d just seen to our son.  I told him it would probably be playing in Austin in another six months.  Ha, ha, ha.  Now, the joke’s back on us.

5) The real estate section of The New York Times.  I can’t explain why I’m addicted to it.  Why did Pavlov’s dogs salivate?  Some questions have no answers.

6) More than anything, I’ll miss the theater.  I’ve saved every playbill and evidently, I’ve been to more than 50 plays since we got here.  I’ve continued to be astonished at the unbelievable reservoirs of talent here.  Even when a play sucks (let’s use the Addams Family as an example), the sheer talent can make it palatable or even enjoyable.

7) Restaurants, restaurants, restaurants.  We haven’t cooked at home once since we’ve been here.

8.  Half the Sunday paper arriving on Saturday.

9) Overheard conversations like this one from the 1 route on the subway: Some middleaged guy was chatting up a couple of young German women, telling them how he used to cross into East Berlin when the wall was still up.  “One time, I got searched,” he told them.  “This guy stuck his finger up my butt.  I felt kind of violated.  But then I realized — this guy spent his life sticking his finger up people’s butts.  Can you imagine?”

No, they couldn’t.  They got off at the next stop.  By themselves.

Maybe I don’t get out enough, but I normally don’t overhear conversations like this — and I spend much of my life eavesdropping.

10) Our local laundry and its professional folding staff.

11) New Yorkers themselves.  What a fascinating population this is — smart, funny, mouthy, ever-surprising and -entertaining.

I will miss all of this and I’m feeling nostalgic about leaving.  But it’s always been temporary.  This isn’t where I really belong.  It’s time to go home.

(Copyright 2010 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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12 comments… add one
  • And I’m completely annoyed that we did not meet in person this whole time.
    NYC really is an amazing place. I often say that’s where I’d like to retire. The joy of walking EVERYWHERE and just ducking into a subway if it’s cold/rainy is really such a wonderful thing.
    And don’t get me started on the food….

  • Sometimes I wish I lived in a city.  In New York.  There are so many interesting lives one could possibly live.  Sad that we only have one.
    My mother saved every playbill she ever got, along with a lot of other stuff.  If her granddaughter ever wants to document my mother’s life she will have ample documentation  and won’t have to consult any secondary sources.

  • You forgot the experience of having Stephen Colbert sit down next to you in the theater.  That would be right up there if I were writing such a list.
    A shame to hear people don’t walk in Austin.  Maybe it’s too hot?  Here on Cape Cod, we walk into town a lot.
    I’ve enjoyed reading about your impressions of New York.  I never learned to appreciate it, but my mother lived there in her 20s and 30s and yearned to return all her life ….

  • Ruth, I’m with you on every single one of these points (especially the real estate section – don’t know why I reach for it first, either, but I do).  New York City really has a way of sneaking up on you; and although I’m a life-long New Yorker, there’s still so much to discover.

  • Joyce Link

    Re No. 2: Except Austin. Are you stopping off in Dallas anytime soon? Because as you know, you must change planes here. And we need to shop!

  • A year used to seem such a long time — I was sure I would be in NY in time to meet you.

    But 50 plays is also such a lot.  A year seems barely enough to contain them.

    Home sounds a good plan for now, but hurry back soon.  And maybe I will catch you on the return.

  • Cindy D. Link

    I know you will miss New York but those of us in Austin are glad you are coming home.  We have missed you.

  • I need to read the real estate section? I’ve always overlooked it. Ruth, I’m going to miss you living there. I’ve had such vicarious fun reading about your experiences. I love New York  City. I can’t get enough of it.  I also love Austin. Thanks to you and the blog, I guess I’ll survive your next move.

  • Guess this is why they call NYC  “THE City”.  Can’t wait to take it all in on my brief stay in August for the BlogHer Conference.

  • Chris Link

    The non-stop flight thing is fabulous, especially with the proximity to Europe.  We met a woman from NYC on a vaporetto in Venice during our last trip.  She would hop the 7:00 PM-ish Delta flight at least once a month for a few days in Venice.  I was so envious.  It’s not quite that easy from WA State near the Canadian border.

  • Your blogging from The City has been such fun.  Thanks.  Too bad you’re coming home just in time for the 100 degree heat!  That will give you even more to blog about.

  • actually, I’ve always walked quite a lot in Austin…

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