Sunday, December 14, 2008

Parting thoughts on the Upper East Side

Yes Virginia, there are bathrooms
bigger than a closet in NYC.

When I first thought of myself living in NYC, I pictured living on Gramercy Park with one of the exclusive keys to the park. The apartment in my dreams looked a lot like the apartment my Aunt used to have on 24th & 3rd -- Alcove studio with a walk-through closet to the bathroom. Separate kitchen. Lots of windows. Separate kitchen.

I never thought about the Upper East Side. Now it's hard for me to think about living somewhere else! Over the past year and a half I have really come to love the area. The shopping is amazing; the park is close; you have tons of great groceries and markets and Museum Mile is only 2 Avenues away from me. Did I mention Madison Ave? Or Carl Shurz Park? Or John Jay Park (with the pool)? The neighborhood is a mix of private townhouses, brownstones and high raises. The people are a mix of young and old from every country under the sun.

Oh sure it hasn't been perfect -- the 2nd Ave subway line won't be done until 2015 if it gets completed at all, meaning you're stuck on the 6 with 1,000 of your closest friends in one car. And it's not exactly a hopping bar or club scene up here at nite if you're into that kind of thing. And you may get run over by a Park Ave mommy or nanny. But it's been a wonderful first NYC neighborhood.

Five things I'm going to miss:

5. Being so close to Central Park. I spent many days sunning, walking and taking pictures in the park. I haven't even come close to exploring all of it yet. You can't underestimate the value of having huge amounts of outdoor space nearby. It really does make a difference.

4. National Jean Company, Marimekko, Lucky Brand Jeans, the 86th St line of stores, Jubilee shoes and Free People. All of these stores are within 10 blocks of me. They're not the only places I shop at but I wasted plenty of Saturday afternoons cruising up and down 3rd Ave for fun. Marimekko is probably the store I'll miss the most.

3. JG Melon, Atlantic Grill, T Bar, PJ Bernstein, Ray Bari Pizza, Totonno's, Gracie Mews Diner. Most of these restaurants have other locations in the city but some are only up here on the Upper East Side. I'll miss Haru's and my regular delivery places too. I was finally getting to know my local eateries.

2. The 6 train subway stations. Among the newest and best-kept; they are gorgeous. My 77th St station has a lovely mural when you walk in. I won't miss the crowding but I'll miss being on the line I've taken since I was a little kid.

1. My apartment. Yeah, despite everything I'm gonna miss it. It's such a cute little studio. I packed a ton of crap in here and decorated it well (if I do say so myself). It had everything I needed except for a dishwasher. It was brand new when I moved in. I was an uptown girl and that was pretty frickin' sweet.

Five things I don't think I'll miss:

5. My backyard. I really thought outdoor space was going to be key but I didn't really use it as much as I would have liked. I never had a real party out there due to scheduling conflicts. I sat out there but wasn't really able to enjoy it as much as I would have liked because the other buildings had outdoor space too and there wasn't enough privacy. But my foster dogs loved it!

4. Taxi rides up here. Man, I thought the fare from Flatiron was a lot but the few times I've taken a cab from work in Soho up here it's been over $20. That's at least $18 more than the subway ride and they both probably take about the same time. Cabs might even take longer. And catching a cab sucks in the morning.

3. Only 1 subway line. If you live in between 59th St and 86th St you can't take the 4 or 5 and this area is too densely populated to be served by only the 6. If Mayor Bloomberg really took the train to work every morning he'd know how much it sucks. In my completely biased opinion the 6 is the most crowded subway line and I'm glad I won't have to ride it anymore unless by choice.

2. The snotty people. OK, I get it. We're uptown. Upper crust and all that. Much fancier than the Upper West Side. Old money. Yeesh. Whatever. Can you please get the hell out of my way now?

1. My neighbors. Just to beat a dead horse a little more, I hope karma kicks both my next-door and upstairs neighbor in the arse with an equally bad neighbor moving into my apartment. Like maybe a cop who doesn't take any bullshit. Or a druggie party-addict who is up at all hours. Or a band member who holds practices here. I know it's evil. I don't care. They've burned all their empathy hours with me.

Five things I already know are gonna suck at the new place:

5. Getting to Yankee Stadium. Yeah, I'll still be near the 4 train, but I'll be about 40 minutes away. Yuck. Can't even think about this.

4. Far away from Central Park. But near Battery Park. Not quite a fair trade-off...but I'll make do.

3. No grocery stores in the Financial District. Apparently this is a hold-over from FiDi's reputation as a 9 to 5 neighborhood. Someone should really capatilize on this. (Hint, hint, D'Agostinos or Whole Foods.)

2. Doing my own laundry again. I got really used to sending it out.

1. Getting my friends to come down to my new place. It's kind of out the way for most of my friends...kind of like the Upper East Side has been. Oh well. You win some and you lose some.

The movers are coming at 9 AM tomorrow morning. I doubt I'll sleep much tonight. Too sad (to be leaving) and excited to be arriving at the new place. Parting is such sweet sorrow, Upper East Side.

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