Guest post by Alicia Harper
The plan was set. I was to finish my graduate school studies at Columbia University, learn how to drive, and move to a nice little suburban town – all before my 3 ½ year-old son Aiden entered Pre-Kindergarten. The idea was that he and I would have more living space in a great school district, be in close proximity to friendly neighbors, and enjoy all that the suburbs have to offer. A total slam dunk!
“That’s a great idea!” my friend exclaimed when I informed her of my brilliant beyond brilliant plan. “I grew up in the suburbs. The air is clean, the schools are great, and there are lots of activities for Aiden! He’ll love it!”
It was a great idea.
But apparently not for me. Or Aiden.
In theory, the suburbs seem like a lovely place to reside. But right now, it’s not enough for me because it’s not New York City. Chalk it up to my 27-year romance with the city. And truth be told, this summer, I completely fell in love with the fabulousness that is New York City all over again. I experienced a renaissance – an awakening so to speak. I rediscovered the beauty of shopping in SoHo, the sheer exuberance of rooftop cocktail hours in Midtown, and the pleasure of outdoor dining in the Meatpacking District. All good times. All with good friends.
Aiden and I experienced little gems of our own and in our own neighborhood and borough this summer as well – the culture of The Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the history of The NYC Transit Museum, the fun at The Brooklyn Bridge’s Waterpark Pier 6, indoor play spaces, and story time at Barnes and Noble. We even became a tourist in our own city and rode on the East River Ferry for the day, which included a trip to Governor’s Island. All lovely times. All capturing the very essence of why we love New York City.
“What happened? Why’d you change your mind?!” another friend asked when I broke the we’re-not-moving news to her. “The suburbs are great!”
“Well, you know…” I began, “I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and moving would be a huge change for me. And besides, Aiden is a total New York City baby. He even holds his arms out to hail a taxi when we need one! He won’t be able to hail a taxi in the suburbs.”
The fact of the matter is that by the time August rolled around, I could no longer convince myself that leaving the city was our best option. Sure the air may be cleaner in the suburbs, the noise level may be lower, and the space may be more abundant. Sure it may be a “great” place to live, as my suburban friends so kindly pointed out. But it’s not New York City. And to me, nothing quite compares to the energy of New York City.
Perhaps I’ll pack Aiden and my things up, and move us to the suburbs at some point in our lives.
Maybe one year.
But not this year.
This year, we’re soaking up all that New York City has to offer. It’s our life… and our love.
Alicia Harper, M.A., Ed.M. is a single mother, blogger, and recent graduate of Columbia University. Her life is filled with all things pink, except for the one bit of blue – her rambunctious 3-year-old son. Together they make a great pair, and Alicia chronicles the trials and triumphs of being a young, single mother living in NYC at Mommy Delicious.