If I Can Make It Here

I've been in a bit of a funk for about a week now. Not quite sure what it is... but I do know that every time I leave the apartment recently, I want to run screaming back to the comfort of our home. I think that it's truly special when people can create their own little corners of the world that reflect so perfectly who they are. Not showroom images. Not catalog cutouts. Just places where they can peacefully nest and hide from the rest of the world and be totally themselves. Places that are just right, just for them. Barry and I are in a constant process of making such a nest for ourselves here in our little one-bedroom apartment. My love of nesting, my need to nest, is the main reason that I'm an avid reader (okay, an avid lurker) of Posie Gets Cozy and Inside a Black Apple - not necessarily because I'm so in line with the particular nesting aesthetics of either blog author - but because I totally appreciate that the worlds Alicia and Emily have created for themselves seem to suit their personalities so well. Anyhow... I'm getting way off topic. My point here is that all I've wanted to do recently is huddle up in my little corner of the world so that I don't have to face big, bad New York City. Yeah, I love it here. I've chosen to spend the last thirteen years of my life in this city. But sometimes it's just so darn hard to live in this place. There are a few wretched things about New York that I'd like to get off my chest. If you'll humor me, I'd like to share with you:

Things I Loathe About New York City

People engage in far too much grooming on the subway: nail filing, nail clipping, nail polishing, nail polish removing, hair braiding, diaper changing, make-up applying... there's very little that people don't do on our public transportation system.
People of all ages litter. On purpose. Without remorse. Yuck.
People don't move to one side on sidewalks to accomodate others who are walking in the opposite direction.
Car alarms. Sirens. Bus breaks. Stereos. It's a wonder I still have my hearing.
Too many children are unsupervised. They see and hear things that need to be tempered by the guidance of a loving adult, but often there's not one around. One local nightly news program starts every broadcast out with the phrase, "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?" They're not being funny.
Parents listen to music or play hand-held games instead of engaging their children in conversation while riding the subway.
Drivers don't stop for ambulances and other emergency vehicles.
Street harasment is rampant. I can't go running in my local park without getting nasty comments hurled at me.
All of the once great flea markets are being run out of town as the lots they once stood on are being eaten up by uninspiring high-rise apartments that no regular working person could ever hope to afford.
Buildings are poorly maintained. What were once lovely old homes and stores are patched up haphazardly (as my dad always says, no one sands before painting here - old apartments have inches of layers of paint on their walls), or they are torn down to make way for the above metioned high-rises.
We have water bugs, which is a euphamism for roaches on steroids.
Too many people use bookbags on wheels (okay - I know that one's trivial... I just can't stand 'em, and I was on a roll).

Phew... that felt good. Thanks for letting me rant. Okay, chin up and carry on. Oh, yes - I hope you're all enjoying your own little nests. I'd love to hear about them, as well the daily trials from which they shelter you.


Anonymous said...

Well my little nest is rented. So as soon as the lease is up we will have to move again. But I like the current house that we are living in. The walls are painted in bright colours in different room. My Craft Studio is blue so it has this cooling effect to it. When ever i sit in there everything just falls in to place.

Dont worry susan. You will find a perfect spot for you to nest. It doesnt have to be big, just have to be right and when you sit in your nest and look around you will always have this smile on your face.

Unknown said...

you are right.

looking at the glass half full--
NYC has great parks.. huge parks in every boro.
2 great (brooklyn/bronx) botanical gardens + the good one in Queens (which is better than many in other cities, and only rated good compared to Brooklyn and the Bronx)

the Bronx Zoo
the museums.
so many basicly free
the Met, Natural history, Museuem of city of NY, the Queens Science museum, Historical society, MOMA, Guggenhiem, the Whitney, the transit museum, the fire musesum. the 2 branches of the smithsonian (american indian (downtown) and decorative arts (uptown)
and libraries.. starting with the 42nd street one (which is practically a museum as well!)
and that just manhattan.. there is the scupture gardens and Brooklyn museum. and motion picture museum.. and exhibition space like PS1..

there is theater.. the expensive broadway kind, and off broadway and off off broadway--and the free stuff in the park

concerts, too, of every kind, and there are always cheap tickets available-not to mention summer free concerts in every boro.

there are the beaches --every boro except manhattan has some great beaches. and waterside activities.. and bridges to walk over.. and not just any bridges, but some of the best bridges in the world!

and there is culture and cooking. who needs to travel the world? just take the 7 train..every stop is different world.. central america, south america, the indies, (and ireland, too!) russian (in rego park) and all of south east asia in flushings 'china town' that has as much of korea, japan, and indoneasia as it does china!

and if you want to feather your nest, goodness knows, you can find every sort of feather in NYC.

31st (between 7th & 6th,) at the taxidermy store you can buy head and whole animals --or ostrich eggs and peacock feathers..

uptown, by museum of natural history, there is a store that sells skeletons.. human an animal!

Jackson heights in queens? anything it seems from anywhere! african artifacts, indian budhas

and Union Street (not turnpike) and Parson Blvd working your way south from northern blvd? every sort of church for every religious group that exist..
Fancy a trip to india? you could.. or just visit the hindu temple in queens.

Budism more your style? there are several budist temples in queens..
(have you ever visited the indoneasian temple just of queens blvd? Deep blue roof tiles, ornate carving, gilded; pagogo style roofs reaching up to the sky..oh, and you can buy rice there, too!

Prefer europe? there are the channel gardens, and institutes run by missions to the UN. you can go learn french or spanish, or maltese.. or just visit the UN for that matter!
or get old old world, and visit the cloisters.

fledge, and fly from your nest. there is so much to do out side of the nest! Yes it can be overwhelming. but there are quiet places (there is still virgin hemlock forest in NYC, (bronx botanical gardens) and farm (museums, queens) and Japanese gardens (brooklyn botanical gardens, and wild life--the national park in Great Jamaica Bay) or at Udalls cove and alley pond environmental center

there is the Vanderbilt hiway.. (an abandon road made into a bike/jogging trail)
there are boats and water ways to explore..
(and if so inclined, you can visit some 'permenent residents' so many famous people have been buried in NY. queens has the fewest, but Brooklyn and the Bronx have great cemetaries... and its fun.. (ask me about the monument on Admiral Farraguts grave!) of visit LaGuardia grave(i have)or Woolworths (an other noteworthy one!)

how can you not love NY?!

beki said...

I'm just getting back to "feathering my nest", it's one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, I have so much to do! I'm always big on dreams, little on time to carry them out.

Some of the things you mentioned aren't unique to NYC. Just this weekend I watched as someone threw trash out their car window right onto the ground. Disgusting. So many people have so little regard for things anymore.

Anonymous said...

My problem with Wellesley-
People at craft fairs here love my sock monkeys way too much. Like far more than anything I make that is actually creative. After too much interaction with these "sock monkey ladies" at the last craft fair I did, we nearly put our house on the market and moved. OMG! Sock monkeys! They're so cute! Do you have one in green to match my son's room! Blah.

Gloria said...

NY is an exceedingly noisy and dirty city, I have to agree. It does have its own charm, though, hard to see amidst all the ruckus.

(Yet, not enough charm for me to want to move back.)

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

It's a little thing, but has changed my normal pattern. There is a house up the street that is inhabited by I don't even know how many people + White Trash does not even begin to describe them, let's just say that the cops are there on a regular basis. We no longer go past the house on our nightly walks.
They breed dogs + twice have asked us if we want to breed Monk. "No, he's fixed!" and the second time they asked, my boyfriend replied, "No, he's STILL fixed."

Mary Andrews said...

I really enjoyed this post! I like that you are a nester...and that you find comfort in others!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
Sometimes it really does the soul good to just let it all out... to purge :) That way you can move past it!

I so know how you feel. I am an environment girl... I am not happy or comfortable unless my surroundings are just to my liking. And when they are off, I totally feel it.

I hope you start to feel a bit better about your nest...I know it's been something you've been dealing with. Good luck :)

Amanda Jean said...

holy cow, Susan. I don't know how you deal with all of that. My little neck of the woods is the exact opposite of what you described...and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Anonymous said...

Big, bad NYC? My hubby is walking those streets now on a business trip. First time there and he's enjoying it. As he tells me about his experiences, I feel like the little "country mouse" in the children story. It is such a BIG city.
I really enjoyed your rant though. Really about the news at 10pm? My goodness...

Hey, I'll lend an ear anytime you need it!

Erin said...

Glad to listen to your rant, very interesting. I feel so naive in my neck of the woods. Total suburbia but I feel safe! I can't believe the amount of grooming that goes on on the Public transit. It must make for an amusing ride.

I so understand about the nesting thing. I am a total nester. I feel really out of sorts when my house is in chaos!

Thanks so much for sharing with us Susan!

Anonymous said...

I like my neck of the woods just fine. Suburban living smack dab in the middle of a small city. But people here run red lights like crazy and drive way too fast. I just found out we have a registered sex offender living on the next street. That'll make a mom of two little girls feel real good.

Anonymous said...

I can remember the first time I saw someone clipping their nails on a bus--the first & last, thank God. It was terrifying.

The not moving aside on the pavement thing bugs me, too. It's like the pedestrian version of road rage.

I have to say, the lack of litter in Seattle gratifies me.

Anonymous said...

You turned me off from living in a city for just a moment...and then I remembered that I just bought a house in the city...yikes! Ahhhh, the things to look forward to. Although, Toronto is not nearly as busy as New York City, it can get quite dirty, and the same silly people you rant about are here too!
Cheers to living in the city!

Connie said...

get it out Susan, its good to vent. I feel your pain. Trust me, I really really feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

:) venting is great sometimes, giving all the attention, even if five minutes, to all the ugly stuff you want to ignore - makes it go away again and you can get back to the good stuff.

Chickenbells said...

Oh dear...I love NY, and I'm sure you do too, but living in a big city seems a little overstimulating to me. I went to Phoenix this weekend and about did myself in, and I didn't particularly even do anything but visit some people...

I love the pictures you show of your home...it's so very fun, and very you. Feather it up girl...run back to your home screaming and find the peace and joy you alone create just for you!

Robyn said...

Those are some of the things that have convinced me big city living might not be for me. But I do think a vacation, coming soon I think, will do you some good and help you remember what you love about the city. Or it will only confirm your desire to move. Whatever the case, you hang in there. I nest, too! :0)

maritza said...

I have to admit, although I will never miss the smell of mid-town in the middle of August, I do sometimes miss the diversity of (and all the things there are to see and do in) Queens.

By the way, love the little changes you've made to the blog design. Looks great! (Not that it didn't look fantastic before, too.)

mia said...

Today I heard a lament about rude tourist subway riders. And the decided response was "I don't know how they do it where you're from, but in new york we say excuse me".

(the nail clipping kills me a little bit everytime.)

Sonya said...

No one sands before they paint - oh that cracks me up so! And Helen, of course, comes to the rescue of her city. You dare dis NY! Cut you!

The other day, I was thinking about the way the garbage is piled on the streets in Manhattan. I've always found it pretty crazy. I've been in many cities all over the world and no one does garbage like NY City.