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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

On Why I moved to New York...

The weather has been very odd today. The rain, through which I trudged to get my groceries because it didn't look like it would let up, finished and the sun came out. So I thought I would take care of laundry because I knew it was going to rain again tomorrow. Well, halfway through the drying cycle I noticed that tons of people were coming into the laundromat that had wet jackets. So I peered out and sure enough it was raining again.

As I was cleaning up today I found a long black plastic trash bag under the sink that has been there for weeks. I used it for something but don't remember what and can't remember why I kept it. I thought about it for a second and with about 15 minutes left on my dryer I ran around the block in the pouring rain without an umbrella to go back and fetch the trash bag and, of course, my umbrella. And voila! Dry laundry despite the rain.

Incidentally, this is another reason why I love, not only my neighborhood and its proximity to everything I will ever need (just about), but also my new lifestyle. That being a car-less one. Yet another reason why I moved to this city. Not only is the public transit some of the best in the world (New York certainly has the largest fleet of subway cars at right around 6,400...more than the combined total of all of the other subway systems in the U.S.), but the fact that everything is so compact and close-knit makes it so that each neighborhood has just about everything you need on a daily basis within walking distance from groceries to laundry to hardware stores to tailors to bakeries to just about any kind of specialty shop you can think of.

I could get into the myriad reasons why this is so important to me to have everything so close and connected that getting in car doesn't make sense, but suffice it to say that it's cheaper to not own a car, especially if your taxes are already paying for public transit, it's more convenient because you don't have to think about insuring, fueling, maintaining and, for the love of God, parking a car every time you need to pick something up from the store and, last of all, it's better for your health to walk everywhere you need to go. I'd get into how bad automobile exhaust is for human health and for the environment but I'd feel like I was trying to shout over a jet engine on that one. We're a culture of Americans obsessed with cars.

Where I've grown up, it made sense to own a car because everything was so spread out but for the above mentioned reasons, I wanted to move somewhere where it didn't make sense to own a car. And I feel so much freer for it. When I have the need for a car to get out of the city or to move some huge piece of furniture, there are tons of options. I feel much safer without a car. And I just feel freer. I forgot to get cheese today and it was no big deal to put my shoes on and walk five blocks to find a grocery store closer to home than my usual stop.

Incidentally, this particular trip turned into a ten block stroll during which I found out more cool things about this neighborhood. Eighth avenue alone has everything I need. I no longer need to schlep it over to 5th Avenue, on the other side of Sunset Park to go to Key Foods because I found a C Town on the corner of 46th street and 8th Avenue. After leaving the store with my cheese, I stood there and peered south down 8th Avenue and decided I was going to extend my trip a little. Beyond the C Town? There were a couple of Polish Delis (which I just think is awesome because I was thinking about Kielbasa the other day and now I know where to get good ones), there's a Thai restaurant that has a buy one get one half off dinner special from 4pm to 7pm and there's a bunch of internet cafes if I ever need to print something. And just Chinese restaurants as far as the eye can see.

I swear one of these days I'm going to have to eat my way down Eighth Avenue all the way to 60th street and beyond.

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