Friday, July 25, 2008

What I'll Miss

It’s not a fear of change that’s kept me in the same neighborhood for 11 years, while my friends have moved to outer-boroughs, or outer space. I commute against the tide every day, uptown to the Bronx. I shop in Flushing, Belmont, Park Slope. In fact, just the other day, I bought a sausage from Arthur Avenue and barbecued it in Prospect Park.

I leave my orbit plenty.

But I’ve always liked coming home. Here’s why:
  • The high life, for free.
Every summer I enjoy a picnic and a free concert on the Great Lawn, courtesy of the Philharmonic or the Met Opera. Or I wake up at a perfectly humane hour to wait in line for comp tickets to see actors from Law & Order perform Shakespeare at the Public Theater. Or I swing-dance, offstage, at Damrosch Park.
  • The high life, for cheap.
Okay, so the summer is special. But sign up for a few of your favorite Upper West Side cultural institutions’ e-mail newsletters and you will be on your way to year-round, medium-cost, high-brow entertainment.
  • Smoked salmon.
Lox is not free or cheap. At Zabar’s, it’s $30/pound. Zabar’s, by the way, hands out coupons for Symphony Space, where I like to join the geriatric crowd for dramatic readings of short stories in wintertime.
  • Zabar’s Cafe.
Okay, so now I’ve mentioned Zabar’s three times in my post. Getting the point? But it’s not just the groceries here that I love. Good grocery stores are a staple of the neighborhood, and I was deliberately trying to avoid singing Fairway’s praises for fear that one more person will stand between me and the cheese.

But I digress. The café is where I once had a conversation with two old hippies about the war. “Today’s young people don’t understand the meaning of revolution. They don’t make time to protest….Have you tried this chicken salad?”
  • Golden-doodles.
Where else but the Upper West Side would a poodle and a golden retriever find each other irresistible and mate? Visit Riverside Park’s 72nd Street dog run to see their offspring, who I deem the neighborhood's mascot. Then make like a doodle and romp.

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