Truly, there is no place like home. I’ve always thought of the importance of home being who you are with. That still rings true and for me, now, home is NYC with every single person in it.
I feel like I cheated on NYC when I left in March with my ex-husband, his wife, her ex and our kids. We were in Vermont and then Maine for almost 6 months all together.
Vermont was really hard. It was at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone and everything was isolated. On top of that our house was isolating. There wasn’t a person to see for miles. Even a walk to the end of the driveway and then on the nearby roads was lonely. There was no one to wave to. There was no one to say hi to. For someone who loves people, for someone who thrives in numbers, I have never felt more alone even though I was in a house full of people.
When we arrived in Maine I felt alive again. We were lucky enough to be living in a small town where we could walk or bike anywhere. A town where, though safe and masked, we could sit outside, go to a beach, bike to get ice coffee and sit and talk to strangers who would become friends. A place where the kids could feel independent and safely walk and bike to get ice cream.
Other than my college years in Boston I haven’t lived in places other than Long Island and NYC. Since I was diagnosed with cancer 4 1/2 years ago I became determined to travel. I overcame fears and certain comforts to live a fuller and more adventurous life than ever before.
I’ve never been the type who “summers.” I don’t have a second home. I rent our home. Since my divorce I’ve moved every 3-4 years to find a better place for me and my boys at a better New York City price. I’ve also always preferred to spend money on travel and experiences than a bigger home and things we don’t need.
I’m sure you’ve all read and seen on the news what is happening to our hometown, NYC. You may have read Jerry Seinfeld’s piece, reacting to James Altucher’s piece saying NYC is dead. You may have read Seinfeld’s piece saying NYC will never die. I’ve had texts and emails from local friends in my neighborhood asking me to speak out, to help and to raise my voice about what’s going on in our Upper West Side neighborhood. I didn’t feel it was right to speak from so far away.
Now that I’m home, I don’t want to contribute to tearing my city apart. I want to help. We did come home to a city that isn’t the same as when we left. When we left my boys could wander our neighborhood alone or with friends. They now can’t. When we left, we thought school closings were temporary. Now, they’ve been delayed once again, and I don’t even think I will send mine to his public school. Culture in the city is still closed. But outside is open.
So that’s what I’m choosing to focus on. I’ve taken a Citibike for rides (donning mask and gloves). I’m dining outside. I’m shopping local. I’m shopping small businesses.
Today I rode down the bike path on the Hudson River to my first NYC outdoor spin class. I’ve spun outside all summer in Maine but this class made me feel more at home than I have thus far. It was the energy. The people. The sign of rebuilding. The vibe in front of the Vessel, a spot we were all just meeting before the city got sick, is coming back. So Seinfeld, COME HOME TOO. We know the clubs are still closed but how about humoring us on a street corner.
We know we have problems to fix. We have streets to save and homeless to help. The city will become alive again when we all come home. I know. Because I finally did.