Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NYC Desserts: Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie

I refuse to make some desserts. That includes any that requires you to make another dessert, demolish it, and then use the bits and pieces as an ingredient in the dessert you're really trying to construct.

That's why I thought it best to sample Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie before I left New York. And I got in just under the wire. I tried it on the very last full day we spent in the city.

The Momofuku empire is known for many things: Chef David Chang, its pork buns and the crack pie being among the top. We tried the latter two at the Milk Bar outpost on the Upper West Side near both Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

Crack Pie can never be bad. No dessert is bad when the first four ingredients are butter, sugar, brown sugar and cream. But I can't say it left me wanting for more. It's basically a thick, rich sugar pie, with a crust made from a giant crumbled oatmeal cookie.

The pork bun was the real star of the show. The pork was so sweet, I wish that would have been my real dessert.

So for those going to Momofuku Milk Bar, here's what to do. Get a pork bun (available at just some of the Milk Bar's several locations) for sure, and get a slice of Crack Pie if you must. But definitely take a look at some of the other desserts I didn't try. Offerings like cereal milk, compost cookies and cake truffles are surely worth a taste.

Monday, July 29, 2013

4 Reasons I Love Living in Ohio

Ohioans have many reasons to love their state, and I've written variations on this theme in the past. Here are four reasons I was reminded of in just my first week as a returning Ohio resident:

1. The Kindness

After house-hunting last Monday, we went for a short walk in the neighborhood we expect to make our home. It was about 7 p.m., after work, so we weren't the only ones out. We passed maybe a dozen people in about 20 minutes. I'm guessing about half of them said hi. I forgot how nice Ohioans are to strangers.

2. The Calmness

Paul didn't use his car horn once last week, and only got honked at one time -- when he hesitated to turn right on red, a remnant of driving in New York, where it's illegal. By comparison, I'm surprised the car horn didn't wear out in Brooklyn.

3. The Selection

One evening last week I went grocery shopping at Meijer, the epitome of a big-box store that sells everything from Coke to clothes to cat litter. There were so many choices! An entire side of an aisle, head to toe, of just cereal. Another aisle of mostly bread. OK, Brooklyn has aisles of bread and cereal -- but aisles there are about half as long. And not just that, but grocery stores in Ohio have room enough for two ginormous carts to pass each other. To pass each other!

4. The Convenience

I used a washer and dryer without having to go outside! I parked in a normal parking spot without having to spy fire hydrants or gauge the distance between cars parked on the side of the street! I went outside without walking down two flights of stairs! Ahh, the luxury.

Friday, July 26, 2013

NYC Desserts: Victory Garden's Goat Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream

Believe it or not, this wasn't my first run-in with ice cream made from goat milk.

I first tried it as a newspaper reporter in Ohio. If memory serves, the article was about the goat milk ice cream being served right after a county fair goat show. I think I had mint chocolate chip.

But when I visited Victory Garden in New York City's Greenwich Village, it did mark the first time I had soft serve made of goat milk. And it was delicious.

Victory Garden, at 31 Carmine St., is a little hole-in-the-wall in the middle of some very busy streets near New York University. The storefront might be hard to spot, but it's worth the time to seek out. It very well may be the best soft serve ice cream I have ever had.

I'm not sure if that was because of the goat milk, the extreme heat or the flavor I chose. Victory Garden offered four flavors when I visited: tangy goat milk, salted caramel, chocolate victory and -- the one I opted for -- rose petal.

I ordered the mini for $3.99 and was pleasantly surprised that the serving was the size of a baseball. It was slightly icy but mostly smooth and delicious. The floral notes were excellent -- even my burps tasted like potpourri, and that's no complaint.

Victory Garden was the first of nine dessert stops I made during my last week in New York, and it was one of the best. I'm only sorry I didn't discover this gem earlier so I could have had more!

I didn't share with Edith, but that's OK.
She had already filled up on her toes
in the subway on the way there.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New York: The Final Days

Bay Ridge

My last week in New York was alternately fun and sad, busy and relaxing -- but it was always hot.

The extreme temperatures in the 90s limited what I could do with Edith, particularly since Paul was in Ohio and I would be taking her on the subway myself. Nothing like carrying a wiggly baby and a stroller up and down subway stairs in sweltering heat (although I usually got help from nice strangers).

Despite the difficulties, Edith and I went somewhere everyday. We generally waited until the sun started to set, then we went all around town so I could try a different dessert. And two on my birthday. (I'll have separate blog posts about some of those treats in the coming weeks.)

Sunday was Brooklyn Heights and Greenwich Village. Monday was Chelsea and Chinatown. Tuesday was Sunset Park and Park Slope. Wednesday and Thursday we stayed in Bay Ridge. Friday: Back to Chelsea. And Paul returned late Friday so we could pack up our final belongings and spend one last weekend in the city.

On Saturday we had lunch across the street from our apartment. Our first meal after moving to New York was in that same spot, only then it was called Mazza Plaza instead of Al Safa. Then we had a stereotypical New York afternoon and evening: shopping at Century 21, exploring the American Museum of Natural History, walking through Central Park.

Swinging in Central Park

Back in Bay Ridge, we put Edith to bed in the stroller and went to Little Cupcake one last time. After a short walk around the neighborhood, Paul ordered a final meal of halal food at one of the carts down the street. Exhausted, it didn't take us long to fall asleep, despite the fact we were sleeping on blankets on the floor since the movers had come the Thursday before.

Hanging out on the end table until the movers took it away.

All packed up.

Sunday was stressful -- we still had to load the car and didn't end up leaving New York until 1 p.m. I won't lie. I cried as we crossed the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and Bay Ridge below and the Manhattan skyline in the distance slowly faded from view. But I still had some of New York with me. Before we left, we made a quick stop at Bagel Boy, so we had a bagful of bagels and cream cheese, plus my very first Black and White Cookie. About time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hello, Columbus

Wardrobes ready for Ohio

Here we are, our first full day back in Columbus -- or, if you'd rather, C-bus (a nickname I love) or Cowtown (one I hate).

It's a city Paul and I both know well. Paul moved from northeast Ohio to a town on the west side of Columbus before he even started school. I was born and raised two and a half hours away in rural northwest Ohio, but moved to Columbus for college. Paul and I met when we were both students at Ohio State.

We were married in 2003 and spent the next four years on Columbus's west side before moving to New York. And now we're back!

Columbus is often overlooked as a destination in its own right. That's a mistake. Don't get me wrong -- no matter how much I love the city, I still wouldn't recommend that anyone plan a two-week getaway there. But you could easily fill up a long weekend exploring historic German Village, the Short North arts district, the excellent park system and the Ohio State campus. Columbus also has a restaurant scene that seems to be gathering an increasing amount of attention, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has earned raves -- as well as a James Beard award for owner Jeni Britton Bauer.

In addition, Columbus offers an art museum, children's museum, botanical garden and a famous zoo, thanks to former director Jack Hanna. As for sports, there's one team to rule them all: Ohio State, specifically football. But Columbus is also home to professional soccer and hockey teams, as well as a minor league baseball team.

Even I was surprised to learn that Columbus is actually the 15th largest city in the country. With around 800,000 residents, it ranks just below San Francisco and above popular destinations like Boston, Seattle, Denver and Washington, D.C., according to Wikipedia.

I could go on and on -- about how I'm looking forward to attending the monthly Gallery Hops again, or how Columbus was named the most intelligent city in America earlier this year, for example. But there's plenty of time to get into all of that, and lots more.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Goodbye, New York

Statue of Liberty

Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" was one of my favorite songs long before I stepped foot in the city.

It took on a new meaning when we moved here. Especially one of my favorite lines. When he sang "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere," he wasn't kidding.

But we're leaving New York on Sunday after almost six years here: Did we "make it" after all? And what does that really mean, anyway?

Does it mean building a life? Holding a steady job, making friends, getting to know your neighbors? Navigating the subway, jaywalking, avoiding eye contact? Then I guess I can make it anywhere.

Or does it instead mean making New York your permanent home?

I'll admit that a teeny tiny part of me thinks that leaving means we couldn't hack it. Mere disadvantages of living in New York become major obstacles when a baby is involved. By leaving, a little voice says, we're surrendering.

I know that's not really the case. Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a baby in New York: Too difficult. But not only did we do it, but Edith and I both thrived in the process. I know we would continue to do so if we stayed.

But that will also be the case in Ohio. Moving isn't about surrendering. It's about choosing a life in which Edith will see her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins more than two or three times a year.

This is a hard move for me. I proudly call myself an Ohioan and am justifiably indignant when people confuse my home state with Iowa or Idaho. But moving to New York City was a dream come true. And on Sunday I'm about to wake up.

Yes, New York is smelly and sweaty and grimy and rude. But it's also one of the most exciting cities in the world. And I love it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 Things to Expect from This Blog

I've been asked (mostly by my parents, but still) if this blog will continue after we leave New York.

In a word: YES.

Even way back in 2007 when I started this blog, I made a conscious decision not to give it a name that wouldn't travel. I knew we weren't going to be in New York forever, so I knew the blog name and URL shouldn't reference the city specifically. "Pay a Visit," I thought, was a good way to describe what I was doing, and what I hoped readers would do through the blog.

For a long time I was a tourist in the city in which I lived, and I feel that way sometimes still. I think this blog has reflected that.

The blog grew from visits to New York City sites to places far beyond. In a way, Pay a Visit has become a travel log, whether that travel was a 12-hour flight or a subway ride to the Upper East Side.

So while the primary subject matter of this blog -- New York City -- will gradually change, the thought behind it will not. I will still be chronicling the things I do and see that are new or strange or interesting (or all three).

Here are 5 things to expect from this blog going forward:

  1. Profiles of some of my favorite spots, events and restaurants in Ohio, as well as places that I missed the first go-round and those that have opened since we moved away.

  2. Posts that compare living in the Midwest to living in the most populous city in the U.S. There are a few differences.

  3. Links to and thoughts on articles about Ohio and events in the state that have made the national news.

  4. Weekend trips! We made great memories visiting the cities within driving distance of New York, from Montreal to Washington, D.C., to Portland, Maine, and points in between. But there are a surprising number of interesting cities well within driving distance from Columbus -- Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Nashville, just to name a few.

  5. Occasional updates on Edith. Because I can't resist.
Of course, this isn't a comprehensive list. There will always be odds and ends. And there are still about a dozen posts about New York spots that are yet to be published.

Over the next six weeks or so, you'll probably see very few changes. And after that, the biggest change might be a long overdue redesign of the site. Now I really need a new header and tagline at the top!

Anyway, thanks for playing along these last six years in New York. I hope you'll follow me to Ohio ... and eventually see how I react to New York as a former-resident-once-again-tourist.

(PS: Please "like" this blog on Facebook at in order for new blog posts to appear right in your timeline. Thank you!)

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Birthday Unlike Any Other

Summer 2000, near my 19th birthday.

Remember that Sesame Street tune that starts,"One of these things is not like the others"? That's what this birthday feels like compared to all that came before.

Although I turn 32 today, that's not what's on my mind. Instead, I'm thinking about how this is my last week in New York and that Paul is starting his new job in Ohio today. Until he returns to Brooklyn on Friday for one final weekend in New York, it's just Edith and me.

But I refuse to be down in the dumps on my birthday -- or at least I'll do everything I can to climb my way out. So I'm determined to have a different dessert each day this week. Maybe it's one I've known and loved. Maybe it's one I've been meaning to try. Either way, I'll definitely be using lots of chocolate and ice cream to try to smother my sorrows (and you'll definitely be seeing blog posts about New York City desserts well into August!).

I know, I know: Woe is me. Even I can't feel too sorry for myself after six wonderful years in New York. Still, it's no girl's dream to be without her significant other in the middle of a heat wave on her birthday.

By this age, a birthday should be just another day, shouldn't it? And this year it almost felt that way. We've had so much going on -- specifically packing, packing and more packing -- that it only flashed across my mind that my birthday was so soon just a few times this past week.

Ideal or not, it's definitely a birthday to remember.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Video: A Tour of Our Brooklyn Apartment

Less than two weeks after we moved to New York in 2007, this blog was born.

Pay a Visit, I thought, would be a fun way to chronicle what Paul and I were seeing, eating and -- yes -- visiting 500 miles away from our friends and family in Ohio. And, of course, it would be a great forum in which to continue writing until I found a job.

I got a job a month later, and yet the blog continued. And today, after almost six years, I am publishing my 750th blog post.

Thank you all for your interest and encouragement from day 1. I know my life isn't that interesting, but you sure make me think it is.

In honor of this milestone, I have something a little different today: A video tour of our 3-bedroom apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

In many ways it's a typical New York apartment -- compact with no wasted space. We were lucky, however, because the floors and kitchen were largely new when we moved in. Plus the space seems huge to New Yorkers, who are used to living in matchboxes. To Paul and I, coming from a 3-bedroom house in Ohio, the apartment is by no means huge but is certainly adequate.

In fact, I've come to like living in a smaller space because it forces us to keep our "stuff" to a minimum. Of course, when Edith starts crawling, I'm sure I'll appreciate the space we'll have in Ohio.

Without further ado, welcome to our apartment:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Finally Eating at the Restaurant Downstairs

Our apartment, two stories above the awning.

The ground floor of our apartment building was a bar/Mexican restaurant when we moved to Bay Ridge in 2007. It was a happy, happy day when it closed. The food was bad and the crowd it attracted was worse. Middle of the night shouting matches underneath our bedroom window were common occurrences.

The space was empty throughout the summer and much of the fall of 2010, before opening that November as a seafood restaurant.

I was curious about this new restaurant, but also hesitant. The restaurant was completely made-over with lovely glass walls and pleasant outdoor seating. Yet I consistently put off dining there.

"We'll go when it gets too hot to walk to a restaurant further away," I'd tell Paul at the beginning of the summer. "We'll go when the snow's too deep to go elsewhere," I'd say in the winter.

We'd had drinks in the bar area with friends, but we hadn't tried the food. Finally, with our move to Ohio looming, it was now or never. So last weekend we finally ate dinner at Mussels and More.

It was a pleasant night -- one of the last ones before the current heat wave -- and we had Edith in a stroller, so we chose the outdoor seating. Our table was approximately 20 feet from the entrance to our apartment building, and vaguely underneath the window to our kitchen.

We purposefully arrived around 9 p.m., when Edith generally goes to sleep. She was zonked out before the entrees arrived. True to the restaurant's name, we ordered mussels (the classic Prince Edward Island kind) and more (grilled octopus, plus zucchini sticks). The dishes we chose were delicious, as was the complimentary bread that started out the meal -- I didn't expect yummy cinnamon-raisin bread.

By meal's end, I was feeling pretty foolish that we hadn't previously eaten at a place both good and convenient. But whether or not we were patrons, I can definitively say that living above Mussels and More has been a surprisingly great experience. The restaurant and bar added a nice hustle and bustle to the street corner, and a pleasant hum of people enjoying a nice meal out. I'm glad that for at least one night, we were part of it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saying So Long to New York Friends

As we're winding down our time in New York City, we wanted to say a goodbye -- I refuse to say "final goodbye" -- to the many friends we've made here.

So we put together an after-work get-together on the eve of Independence Day at the outdoor Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. It worked very well for my 30th birthday party, plus there is plenty of room for a stroller. Score!

It didn't work out quite as planned.

First, it was hot and humid. All week the temperature had been in the 80s and 90s, and last Wednesday was no exception.

And second, the day was littered with pop-up showers. We thought we had outsmarted the clouds, because the sky was blue when the party started. And even when it sprinkled a bit, the drops felt cool and refreshing.

What was not so refreshing was the torrential downpour that lasted a good 10 minutes. I now know the meaning of the phrase "sheets of rain." Those 10 minutes sitting on an outdoor chair with an umbrella in one hand would have been bad enough on its own, but it was even worse when my other hand was holding Edith and the diaper bag, trying to keep both of them dry.

We didn't get too wet, but we weren't taking any more chances. A few friends went home at the first sign of rain, but a couple more made a beeline to a bar across the street: Live Bait. The rest of us followed when the downpour shut down.

The bar area up front was crowded and not stroller-friendly at all, but there was plenty of room in the small restaurant section in the back. Our group of a dozen or so even got to sit together.

As more and more friends left, it was down to just six of us, one of whom was extremely sleepy and ready to nap in her stroller. So we again headed back to the Shake Shack. I ordered a burger and fries during the first round there. This time I got a concrete -- vanilla custard with Brooklyn's own Mast Brothers dark chocolate chunks mixed in.

Although the night didn't go exactly as planned, it was far from being a bust. The worst part wasn't the heat nor the rain. It was the so longs and farewells. Even though we're still in New York for a little while longer, it sort of felt like the beginning of the end.

Friday, July 5, 2013

9 Things I *Won't* Miss About Living in New York

Paul, unloading the car while temporarily parked in front of a fire hydrant

As much as I love New York, it's not always easy to live here. Personally, I think the pros outweigh the cons, but it's tempting to think differently when it's 90 degrees outside and your air conditioner isn't yet installed.

In no particular order, here are nine things I won't miss about living in New York:

1. The Noise.

Yep, noise was also on my list of things I'll miss about New York. I like the hubbub of living in Brooklyn, but there are certain noises I won't miss at all. At the top of that list is probably car alarms. Especially when they go off for hours nonstop in the middle of the night. And yes, that actually happened once.

2. Laundromats.

If you absolutely have to use a Laundromat, then ours is about as good as they get. Clean, tidy, air conditioned, just around the corner and open into the evening. But no matter how bright and cheery, it's still a Laundromat and we still have to drag our loads of laundry down three flights of stairs and then back up again. Also: No need to save our quarters anymore!

3. Tiny Grocery Stores.

Bodegas are one thing -- they're small, but that's OK because you're only getting perishable items. Tiny grocery stores are quite another thing. It's generally easier to use a basket because the carts barely fit down the aisle. And there's an annoyingly tiny selection of products.

Bay Ridge and the city as a whole do have some larger grocery stores, but these come with other issues; namely, you'll want to stockpile foods when you actually go to one of the nice supermarkets, which means you'll need a car, which means you'll be double parking in front of your apartment to unload the groceries. And all before you go try to find a parking spot.

4. No Parking Spots.

And speaking of parking spots, they can be hard to find. Paul, who has to find a parking spot each day after work, says it takes 5 or 10 minutes on a good day, or up to 25 minutes on a bad afternoon. And on those late nights when we're returning from a long drive from Ohio or a weekend trip, your heart sinks as you keep circling the blocks as the clock tick-tocks nearer and nearer to midnight.

5. Traffic.

The traffic doesn't bother me too much since I rarely drive here, but I hate it on Paul's behalf. Even though Paul drives nearly every work day, he still hates the craziness -- and it makes me nervous when I'm a passenger. Cars are double-parked. Bikes and pedestrians dart into the lanes. Drivers are aggressive, and you better, too.

6. No Free Refills.

I don't like pop, and I don't buy pop, but this still bothers me. It's just the principle!

7. Window Air Conditioning Units.

All hail central air. Window units are loud and inconvenient, and you'd need about five to keep the apartment truly cool. I can't wait to have a programmable thermostat again.

8. Not Being Able to Control the Heat.

And that thermostat will be pretty sweet in the winter, too. Here, we're pretty much at the mercy of our landlord. There's no real way to control the amount of heat -- or lack of it -- that comes through the radiators. And we also don't control when the heat comes on for the season, which can lead to some cold fall days (and, on a related note, cold spring days when the heat's turned off for the year).

9. Stairs.

Groceries. Laundry. Luggage. An area rug. Stroller and baby. A lot of stuff -- and a lot of heavy stuff -- have gone up and down the three flights to our apartment. But it's not just at home that we meet lots of stairs. There's the subway, of course, and almost every building you enter, it seems. New York was built up, and it's obvious by the number of stairs.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

12 Things I'll Miss About Living in New York

I'm going to miss more about New York than I can ever include in any list. And I probably won't even realize half of what I'll miss until I'm already gone.

But excuse me while I put on my rose-colored glasses. In no particular order, here are 12 things I'll miss about living in New York City:

1. The Noise

What many people hate about New York, I love. Buses stopping at the nearby corner. The hum of diners at the restaurant downstairs. Cars splashing through puddles during a rainstorm.

Even better are the sounds that seem out of place in a city. The church bells. The horns blasted by ships in the bay.

When we first moved here I hated the constant noise, particularly the garbage trucks in the middle of the night. Now the noises are a part of life. They remind me that I live in a city.

2. Public Transportation

It's good for the environment. It's convenient. You can read while you're on your way to where you need to be. What's not to love?

Sure, there could be improvements to New York City's subway system -- more frequent late-night service and cell phone signals throughout all of the lines would be a good start -- but all in all, I'm going to miss it.

3. Proximity to Everything

My grocery store, hairdresser, dentist and closest subway stop are all within a six minute walk. (In fact, I can look out my bedroom window to see if my hairdresser is open.) There's a pharmacy around the corner. A giant department store six and a half blocks away.

And restaurants? I can't even begin to guess how many there are within walking distance.

4. Bodegas

It is unbelievably convenient to walk across the street when we need a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs or a bunch of bananas. No need to plan ahead!

5. Walkability

Who cares if you don't have a destination in mind? Sidewalks are ubiquitous, and there's always something new to discover.

6. Culture

This makes me sound snooty, so I'll say this right off the bat: It's more the idea that I'm surrounded by all of the cultural activities that New York City has to offer rather than the fact that I'm actually partaking in them.

We tried to take advantage of the options. We'd visit a museum every few months (pre-Edith, at least), saw a Broadway show once a year more or less and took in the opera and ballet exactly once each.

I didn't become a culture vulture. And, like a fine wine, I can't even appreciate it as much as I should. Nevertheless, it's inspiring to know that some of the best of the arts are in my backyard.

7. Every Kind of Restaurant You Can Imagine

Polish. Middle Eastern. Greek. Italian. Chinese. And that's just a few of the options in Bay Ridge! Further afield, Paul and I tried Swedish, Russian and even Afghan cuisine. The food wasn't always our favorite, but it was always interesting.

8. Parks

I grew up in the country, but I was never an outdoor girl. A good park is just my speed, and New York has some of the best.

Of course, there's Central Park. But there's also Prospect Park, Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, the High Line and innumerable gems tucked away here and there perfect to explore.

9. Brooklyn Blackout Cake at Little Cupcake Bakeshop

Life is unbelievably better with copious amounts of chocolate ganache. I will dream about this cake.

10. Everything I Could Be Doing, Even if I'm Not

As I type this Tuesday night, the U.S. Air Guitar Semifinals have just begun. I'm not there. I don't even want to be there. But it's happening. And every day, every night, events like this are happening in New York and no where else. Once in a blue moon I'm in the crowd, but mostly I just like knowing this type of stuff is out there.

11. The Lights

Times Square is too crowded, and too full of too many people moving too slowly. Still, the neon lights get me every time.

But it doesn't have to be Times Square. It's the street lights, the car lights. The dim lights when you peak in on a fancy restaurant from the sidewalk. The glow of light through the curtains of an apartment across the street in the middle of the night. Someone else, too, is awake.

12. The Sights

It's a cliche, but who cares? I can take a 20 minute walk and see the Statue of Liberty. In less than an hour I can be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge or strolling through Central Park or people-watching in Union Square or looking up at the Empire State Building.

It's an amazing city.

I'm gonna miss this place.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Loving and Leaving New York

View from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Roof Garden

So begins our final month in New York City. There's a knot in my throat even as I type this. I hate when things end.

I hate when things end even when I have so much to look forward to when we move to Ohio later in July. Our families will be a fraction of the distance away -- about 15 minutes for Paul's family, and 2 1/2 hours for mine, compared to 9 or 10 hours right now.

And I'm very much looking forward to reconnecting with my Ohio friends. I've missed them, even as I've made good friends here in New York.

But there's no denying that what has become a big part of my life is coming to an end. A few decades from now, these six years in Brooklyn will seem like just a blip. Right now, however, they make up the majority of what I would consider my adult life. It's been 10 years since I graduated from college, got my first full-time job and married Paul; more than half of that time has been spent in New York. What's more -- excuse the unforgivable mushiness -- it'll be difficult to leave the place we brought Edith home to when she was only two days old.

I've long made the joke that moving to New York City was like the study abroad experience I never had. Every day you encounter new people, new languages, new cultures. It's like traveling the world with a subway pass. I'm glad Paul and I made the effort to seek out foods, festivals and activities from other countries and cultures.

But when we made our list of things we wanted to do one last time before leaving New York, it consisted of the tried and true:

  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • See the views at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  • Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Wander around Central Park.
  • Eat one more piece of Junior's Cheesecake.
  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry.
  • Go to mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
  • Gawk at Times Square.
  • Walk around Coney Island.
  • Stroll down the High Line.
  • Eat at our favorite go-to restaurants: East Japanese, Grand Sichuan House, My Thai.
  • Go to Little Cupcake as often as possible.

Some of these we've already done in the month or so since we knew for sure that we were moving. Others we have plans to do. And still others may have to wait for our next visit to the city.

Visit. The next time I come to New York, I'll be a visitor. In a very superficial way, this makes me very sad.

I've always considered myself an Ohioan through and through, and I don't think that would ever change. But it's hard to deny that I'm proud of the way I've made this city my own, the way everyone who lives here for any amount of time surely does. I may not be a New Yorker in the true sense of the term after this month, but for better or worse the city has played a large role in forming who I am. And in that sense, in some small way, I'll always be a New Yorker. Or maybe a dual citizen!


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