I'm fairly certain that if my husband had not gotten together with me when he did (his early fifties, after splitting up from a long marriage), he would have moved back to the Vermont or perhaps Connecticut country. Even though he was born in Manhattan, Peter is not, at heart, a city guy.
I, on the other hand, am a city girl. (My friend Maggie once gave me one of the greatest compliment of my life: she said that even though I'm not originally from New York, I was "a New Yorker waiting to happen.") I love the art and culture and diversity and the food! And I love being the only white person on my subway car. (I should say here, because I can hear his protest, that Peter loves these things too; but there's a city temperament that I possess and a country temperament that he has, and they are just not the same thing.)
We moved from the upper west side of Manhattan to Brooklyn in 2002. I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I loved where we lived, but the landlord would just do these crazy rent hikes on us, and I agreed that we should buy a house in Brooklyn, which seemed like a compromise between Manhattan and the country. People would ask me: Do you miss Manhattan? I did -- for about 40 seconds. And then I became a Brooklyn convert.
We have the diversity of an international city and the luxury of having a garden. What could be more perfect?
But, here's where Brooklyn (at least, my little corner of it, called Windsor Terrace) has failed me: no good neighborhood restaurants or bars. Oh, wait. Let me reclaim that statement a bit. We have a fabulous Dominican/Mexican restaurant on our corner, Elora's, that I hope will never ever ever go away. But that -- until lately -- has been it.
The other week, Peter and I were coming back from a long walk in Manhattan and I said, "My life would complete if we had a really good neighborhood bar." We came up from the subway and there on Prospect Park West Avenue (what we refer to as "Main Street") was a brand new bar: The Double Windsor. They sell fabulous and diverse beers on tap. And it's cozy and it's not some place where females or people of color would feel out of place (which describes the other bars in my neighborhood).
Then, just last week, Peter comes home with a menu for the newest restaurant in our neighborhood: a French bistro!!!!!! Have I died and gone to heaven?
Today we had a just about perfect urban Sunday: the Times and coffee and Don't Cry Over Sour Milk Apple Cake for breakfast (even thought they left out the magazine section when they delivered the paper, grrr!); a little bit of work for me on my magazine and Peter in the garden; then a long six-mile walk from our house through several Brooklyn neighborhoods (where we stumbled upon a craft fair and I bought some beautiful earrings), across the Brooklyn Bridge, to Washington Square Park (where we attended a Meditate New York event at Judson Church); then on the subway back to our neighborhood, where we had a beer at the Double Windsor and ate at the new French bistro (Le P'tit Paris). Mussels and a hangar steak and a lovely conversation with our sweet waiter who is newly imported from Sacramento CA (one our favorite cities in California; he was so delighted we knew it).
I love this city. I love my life.