I don’t often get to take the long way to work given my school drop-off responsibilities. But there I was, on a bright and crisp morning during Spring Break week, crossing the GW bridge with one colleague and on my way to pick up another colleague for a joint bike commute. Looking out over the Hudson, I thought about how great it would be to cross the river without having to come all the way uptown first. There must be a way.
This is my fourth post in my series on city living. For earlier posts see
A word of warning: I have a lot of weakly related ideas floating in my head these days, and today’s post is more my way of sorting through it than an attempt to convey any particular message.
Staying in the city after starting a family and raising kids may be increasingly popular, but there’s still a fair number of people who end up leaving for the suburbs. Since my wife and I have actually lived in multiple suburban communities, and visited or explored several more, we are often asked what each of them are like. However, looking back at the people we met in the suburbs and comparing them to the people we’ve recently met in the City, I now realize that this information about individual suburbs is far less useful than most people imagine.
Another Sunday, another street fair. This past Sunday’s street fair on 100th St between Broadway and West End was not quite as extensive as last week’s, which closed down half of Broadway for 10 blocks. Nevertheless, it had the obligatory bouncy castle, which of course meant we had to stop while my daughter played.
Walking about in the middle of a car-free street for the second week in a row got me thinking about street allocation space in New York City more generally.
This is my third post in my series on city living. For earlier posts see
It’s amazing what you can accomplish in just one Sunday living in the City.
We headed out early in the morning to a party celebrating the birth of a girl to some friends living in Riverdale. We headed out on the subway. Although the 45-minute trip took considerably longer than it would by car (20 minutes max), it did not feel as long since we were able to eat breakfast on the train and play with and talk to the girls throughout the ride. My older daughter especially enjoyed being able to stand up and walk around the subway car, peering out the windows. For me, too, it felt good to be able to watch her as we went and not have to pay attention to the road ahead.
It wasn’t until I started cycling that I got interested in popularizing and expanding cycling infrastructure. It wasn’t until I started following multiple blogs and news sites devoted to cycling that I started learning about the broader “livable streets” agenda, “new urbanism,” and pedestrian/bike advocacy more generally. And it wasn’t until I moved to the City that these causes became so deeply meaningful and personal.
Our first month living in the city has been quite hectic. Many of the issues raised in my first update on city living remain unresolved. We still haven’t quite figured out how to make everything fit in our apartment [it turns out the boxed set of seasons 1-5 of 24 wasn’t really our main problem]. No matter how hard I try, the girls’ room remains a cluttered disaster site [in no small part due to the counter-efforts of my daughter]. We also haven’t settled on a synagogue yet, and despite going somewhere different for nearly every single Shabbat and Yom Tov, we still have more shuls to try.
After posting my last piece on why we are moving to the Upper West Side, many friends commented that they would like to read a follow-up piece on what it’s actually like to live there. Now that we have been living in Manhattan for exactly one week, I have a few initial impressions and already some lessons learned. There is undoubtedly plenty more to learn and experience, and these impressions may change over time, but for now, here is what we’ve experienced as a family with two children moving into a relatively small apartment after years of living in the suburbs.