Friday, October 7, 2011

Four Years in New York

Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of our move to New York. In the same amount of time that we've lived in Brooklyn, I could have gone to college all over again, and in some ways it feels like I have.

I learned more about reading, writing and 'rithmentic as I studied for a bachelor's degree in Ohio, but I seem to have taken upper-level classes in life the last four years without realizing it. If living in New York had its own curriculum, these would be the required classes and course descriptions.
  • Jaywalking 101: Successfully ignore traffic signals and find the exact appropriate distance to step into crosswalks to both avoid getting your toes run over and yet be able to dart across the street in between oncoming traffic.
  • Subway Navigation 101: Learn the difference between local and express trains and what direction you're actually traveling when the signs say Brooklyn- Queens- Bronx- or Manhattan-bound.
  • Subway Navigation 201: Final exam consists of charting three routes from home to work (one that includes at least three transfers), each time entering the subway car that deposits you directly in front of the stairs at your destination.
  • The Art of Not Making Eye Contact 101: Walk miles without actually seeing anyone's face, preferably by staring at the sidewalk. Bonus points awarded for the ability to type out tweets on your iPhone without bumping into fire hydrants, vehicles or other people.
  • Multiculturalism 101:  Practice not being amazed that you live in a Greek-Italian-Arab neighborhood with Scandinavian roots within walking distance of New York City's second-largest Chinatown.
  • Nightlife 101: Once a month visit a (preferably under-the-radar) restaurant, bar, event or art exhibit and then post a comment on your chosen social media outlet, proving that you don't immediately come home from work and put on your pajamas. At least not every night.
I've passed the courses above with flying colors, but  I still don't have enough credits to graduate. I'm not sure anyone ever does. I have, however, taken enough prerequisites to move on to the next level of city residency; instead of planning a new adventure every weekend, taking in a new museum or trying a new restaurant, I often just want to stick around the neighborhood, making return visits to our old standbys.

Maybe I'm just getting older, or maybe I'm just getting used to my surroundings. Probably both

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