WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT THE ‘BURBS?

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I’ve been a snooty New Yorker for 26 years now and I want to talk about it. For some reason, I’ve always had a stereotype about people who leave NYC to live in the ‘burbs. Whether it was New Jersey, Westchester, or even Connecticut, it always felt kind of like selling out to me. I’ve heard countless people say “we moved to the suburbs ’cause the public schools ar better” or “we moved out of the city because you can’t raise a child in an apartment”. Newsflash, I did it and thousands of people do. In fact, I think I’m better for it.

BUT, that’s not the point of this story. This weekend, my RoRo and I went to his parents’ house in Tuckahoe, which is in Westchester…or so they tell me (once I’m more than 20 minutes outside of the city I never know where I am). We had a lovely dinner in their newly renovated, gorgeous apartment. It’s the kind of apartment you dream about owning when you picture your life 20 years from now. It has giant windows facing two directions, high ceilings, beautiful wood floors, and marble everything. The apartment complex also includes a pool, a “media center” and tennis courts among other pleasantly bouge-y things you can only dream of.

Following dinner, we took a walk over to Roman’s sister house where she’s just moved with her husband. On the way, we had to step over a cluster of ants and walk around a fallen tree as if we were traipsing through the woods. I’m really in the country now! Their house is lovely with a beautiful patio, a hot tub, and space for days (I’m not kidding…they have a guest room).

On the thirty-minute train ride back to the city, I had to take a good hard look at myself and my judgy-ness. What’s so bad about the ‘burbs? It takes less time to get to parts of Westchester than many areas of Brooklyn. You get infinitely more space, better amenities for less moolah, and significantly fewer homeless people asking you for money. So why the judgment, Emma Rose?

In all honesty, I’m a city girl through and through. You can take the girl out of the city (briefly) but you can’t take the city out of the girl. I’d like to raise my kid(s) in an NYC apartment and have them fall asleep with the bustle of the city all around them.¹ I love (almost) every aspect of the city, both good and bad. BUT, I can no longer fault people who choose to live a different way. I get it! It’s awfully tempting to hop on that Metro-North and arrive at your pleasantly peaceful house in the ‘burbs. So for now, whenever I need a break from the Big Apple, I’ll just jump on the train to take a dip in the Palylyk’s pool or the Andersen’s hot tub², and look longingly at all the closet and counter space that I’ll never have.

¹Footnote ’cause I’m fancy: I’m a girl who likes extremes. I EITHER want to grow old in an apartment in NYC OR in a cabin in the woods in Maine. So you CAN in fact, take the girl out of the city but only if it’s to drop her in the country.

² I also frequently enjoy finding a moment of relaxation at my parents’ house in Connecticut. However, this story isn’t about people who take refuge from the city in the country on weekends. Perhaps that will be a whole post in itself!

5 thoughts on “WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT THE ‘BURBS?”

  1. Emma,
    Your footnote #1 is SPOT ON. You’re more than a “city girl,” you’re a Manhattanite. I left Manhattan after twenty-something years for the rural woods of central New York. I could not, and still cannot, bear the burbs. When you’re in Manhattan, you’re in the center of everything. When you’re in the rural woods, you’re in the middle of nothing. When you’re in the burbs, you’re near it all, but in none of it. I think of the Manhattan as a forest. The people are trees you navigate around, and once in awhile you bump into someone you know. The rural woods are the same. You’re equally alone, surrounded by trees, and once in awhile you bump into someone you know. I’m sure I could have articulated that more eloquently, but I wanted to write to support your “extremes” footnote!
    Best,
    Dan

    1. Thanks Dan!! Yes I’m an extremes kind of gal. Although perhaps if I was in the woods for too long I’d go crazy…who knows. Thanks for reading!

  2. Sometimes I feel Manhattanites need to make themselves feel superior by looking down on the suburbs. My husband’s mother used to say, “If you’re not in Manhattan, you’re camping!” It’s a trade-off like anything else. There are great pros and cons to both. I adore that I live 30 minutes away and can be in NYC in a flash. I adore even more the fact that I can leave the city and enjoy my leafy green, quiet suburban home every night. I love that my children didn’t have to audition for every school, I don’t have to fight for a parking space and I don’t get mowed down at the grocery store. I love the city. I am there every day. I love the ‘burbs BECAUSE I am in the city every day. It’s heavenly to feel my shoulders relax when driving out. I don’t want to go to out the country and be alone. Too far from the city. I want to be close, enjoy and leave. Repeat.

    1. Yeah I’m not really sure where the superiority thing comes from. Maybe it’s just because it’s hard to be a New Yorker sometimes and so people feel very proud when they feel like they are authentic New Yorkers. Anyway, I’ve learned the error of my ways and am now a recovering judgy manhattanite! I’m glad you found a way that works for you, Broadway would be lost without ya! Xoxox

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