July 23rd, 2007
NEW YORK CITY PORT OF AUTHORITY
June 2007; Just Before Rush Hour at 4:10 PM
A Sight for Sore Eyes!
I grudgingly moved from the east coast to California in 1975 having had a wonderful and full life there to that date. Alas, weather conditions argued for a warmer climate when the last straw was breaking my windshield ice scraper, leaving me to sit freezing in my idling car for the defroster to clear a hole large enough to make it safe to drive home from work.
Having had the best of both worlds, I lived in the “country” with relatives in New York city just 35 miles away. Our two families were very reminiscent of the “City Mouse and the Country Mouse.” So, every two weekends we were in the city, and on opposite weekends, the city family was at our home in the country. We children grew up well rounded. And as adults, we continued our established life style. Aunt Theresa in New York showed us everything to love about the city and my Mother showed the cousins everything to love about the country.
I knew as soon as I moved into my residence in Santa Barbara, CA that things were not ever going to be the same. I actually had culture shock for a very long time. The long, warm days were almost boring and each evening the weather forecast was for 72 degrees and sunny.
Having a career, I immediately set out to apply for employment and the first question every would-be employer asked was, “Why do you want to live here?” I never had an answer to suit the question and finally, a wonderful and semi-retired State Senator with whom I became friendly said to me, “Marie, in this town, you have to earn the right to live here!” Wow! I was not running for President of the U.S. My dear friend shared a secret with me and I followed up with the information. Sure enough, I was hired in a “New York Minute” by the new owner of a large business here. He was from New York City. He, too, had culture shock interviewing local people and not having much luck. So, I was set, employment-wise. But I was always asked the same question by those working and those entering my work place, “Wouldn’t you rather be at the beach today?” They were always shocked at my immediate, “No!”
First, I missed the “Fall” of the east coast. It was a physical as well as mental feeling. Something was definitely missing. So, I packed my bags and took a vacation to my homeland. I was in heaven. My food, my people, my life. After my “east coast injection,” I returned to the west coast rejuvenated and ready to cope until the next vacation. And that is how I managed to remain here.
I have not been able to visit the east for 10 years but finally… I just returned from the most wonderful east coast trip and the “injection” is still with me after 4 weeks. I was absolutely thrilled to see in person a city cleaner than when I left it in 1975. Oh I heard, I knew, but to see squeaky clean rest rooms complete with an attendant in the New York Port of Authority Building was so exciting I had to take a photograph. The subways were so clean I was awestruck. Not one inch of graffiti anywhere. No debris on the ground and a very unobtrusive security guard presence. I love the upscale News Stand with the blue lights enroute to the Subways. After all that has gone on since 9/11 (yes, I sadly visited Ground Zero because, after all, I watched the towers being built and visited Windows on the World many times) this was indeed a wonderful experience and a fabulous homecoming.
Back in SB, people are asking “What’s up, you look and sound great?” Right now it is still hard to believe that I left Santa Barbara for two weeks and there was not one single negative from departing to returning to my front door. Everything was perfect and because I expected nothing except to ‘visit home,’ I was rewarded with all the improvements in both the city and the country. Life is still beautiful there and I am so happy that there are no fences between houses in my country town. Finally, the Sabrett Hot Dog Cart still sells the best hot dogs on the streets of the city where Wall Streeters and high end professionals stand in line to buy them all day long. And, it felt so good to see people walking down the streets eating a properly folded “slice” (New York Pizza.) Truly – “A Sight for Sore Eyes!”