17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Why I miss mothering in NYC

I lived in NYC for 6 1/2 years, had my first baby there and left while 7 months pregnant with my second. We were child free for the first 5 years of our time in NY, but the last year and a half was truly the fun time. We now reside in the Bay Area, and while I am grateful to have my suburban "dream" (garage, laundry, yard, SPACE), I miss my NY. Here are ten reasons why I miss mothering in NYC.

10) Constant Eye Candy. NYC is the most vibrant & stimulating city on the planet and the kids just drink it up. Simon was always content to roll around the city in his stroller watching the people, cars, subways, going in and out of stores, lights, noises. It's an overwhelmingly creative place to live and I loved learning more about my beloved city through my son’s eyes.

9) Strollers. I am a stroller whore. There, I said it. I simply must know about, see, touch and experience every stroller known to man. If it's the latest and greatest, I'm on it. I have owned 12 strollers in 3 years for 2 kids and frankly, I'm disappointed that number isn't higher. NYC is THE place to see all the newest, tricked out and plush-up models. Oh how I miss my daily fix of Bugaboo, xplory and Bumbleride.

8) Central Park. From age 5 months until 17 months (when we moved to CA) Simon was in Central Park at least once a week. Lush grass, endless paths, dogs, playgrounds, lots of strollers (there I go again) and the children's zoo. It was a great place for him to grow up and have many "firsts".

7) "God Bless You". Maybe it's just NY, maybe it's everywhere, but whenever I walked around with my son people always said "God Bless". In the midst of city cacophony it was always pleasant to hear these words directed towards my son.

6) Laundry. In our 6 1/2 years in the city we never had a washer/dryer. We also didn't want to spend our time at a Laundromat. So for a little extra money we always sent our laundry out. Yes, garments too. No, I never had a problem with it. Stomach flu the night before with a 15 month old? No problem. I'd call up Joe, tell him I had a pick-up and he'd be at my door 20 minutes later asking what time that afternoon I'd like everything back. And that afternoon at my door would be a warm bag of clean clothes, neatly folded and ready for my drawers. I now own a washer/dryer (attached to a house), but what I wouldn't give for Joe in my life again. I think I still have his card in my wallet...

5)Fresh Direct. Oh, what a revelation. Pick out your food online, point, click and they bring it to you within a day or two. Up how ever many flights of stairs your apartment is, right into your tiny kitchen. This fabulous service revolutionized my life. I got so addicted that I have carried my online grocery shopping activities to Safeway out here in CA. Mmmmmm, much easier way to grocery shop, especially when you have little kids.

4) Daffy's. Fantastic designer clothes for me and Simon. When I was organizing old baby clothes this past fall, I realized that most of my favorite pieces for the kids were purchased at Daffy’s.

3) Green markets, street fairs and flea markets. One of my favorite things to do with or without kids was to visit the markets and street fairs in the city. They were up nearly every Saturday most of the year all over the place. So much fun.

2) The skyline. When we would take the elevated N train into Manhattan from Astoria, the East side skyline would be spread out before us. I never tired of the view and as Simon got older we would point out buildings and lights. I don’t care how long you live in NY, you are always inspired by the skyline.

1) My village of moms. It takes a village, a city, a group of people to raise a child. I was part of a fantastic group of smart, creative, uncompromising urban women. I couldn’t have been a first time mom in NY without them.

So thanks NYC…and thanks moms. It was a great ride.


  • As someone who is a Bay Area native, I have the same list about there, now that I am not "there"...

    If you are anywhere near the Penninsula or Palo Alto try:

    1. Rinconada park and the childrens zoo- not CP, but fun.
    2. Walk through Professorville in downtown Palo Alto- so many beautiful examples of prairie and craftsman architecture...
    3. Take the Cal Train to the city- the line ends walking distance from Pac Bell Park, Steinhart Aquarium, Union Square and the cable car lines
    4. The duck pond at the PA muni airport and the wetlands & paths surrounding were a fav place to take the kids
    5. The Exploratorium in SF- near the Palace of Fine Arts- fabulous!!
    6.Henry Cowell State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains- I still get homesick when I think of it. Also try taking the Skunk Train, a real steam locomotive through the giant redwood trees. Same place.
    7. Go to see the Monarch Butterfly Migration each spring and fall at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz- Unbeleivable!
    8. The unlimited and fabulous restaurants available- especially now that I am in good-food purgatory up in Washington...
    9. Big Sur and Carmel coast, for your heart, go see it.
    10. The Tech museum and The Discovery Museum in San Jose are both wonderful, depending on the ages of your kids...

    I could go on, but Im getting homesick. It's not NYC, but there are still some pretty fabulous things to see and do...
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 1/23/2006 10:18:00 PM  

  • I'm a Bay Area native too!! Peninsula girl!! I totally second your list. DH and I are always romanticizing the Bay Area now that we're not there (even though we come home to visit every summer). This summer we are going to visit Muir Woods. I haven't been there in a long time and my kids haven't seen it. Another to add to the list is the Children's Discovery Museum in Sauselito. The beaches in Half Moon Bay are good for tide pools. We haven't done Ano Nuevo beach yet, but plan to soon. Monterey Aquarium is also on my list. San Mateo Central Park has a small Japanese tea garden. Pier 39 has all the seals.

    I understand feeling homesick - especially with the kids.
    posted by Blogger meems at 1/24/2006 06:16:00 AM  

  • Ooh, I love the Bay Area. My in-laws moved there about two years ago and I keep wanting to visit while they still live there.

    I personally miss mothering in Durham, NC. It doesn't sound exciting, but it was awesome. I loved hanging out with my baby for hours in Duke Gardens (gorgeous, and free) and going to the Life and Science Museum on Fridays (free, and they had an awesome butterfly house and children's area). I miss total strangers talking at length to me and my baby in gas stations and grocery stores, and the day trips to historic sites.

    I suspect that a large part of what I miss is the freedom that we had, though. A grad student lifestyle is so much more flexible. We were dirt poor, but we could take off for the beach or go to Charleston or DC for a few days almost whenever we felt like it. Now it's hard to even find the time for fun stuff on Saturdays. Things get more a lot more complicated with multiple children, jobs, school schedules, kids' basketball and soccer games, lessons, recitals and actual, you know, obligations.
    posted by Blogger Allison at 1/24/2006 07:09:00 AM  

  • I am homesick for NYC already even though we don't move until Sat. morning.

    I am going to second #4 and add H&M to the list. Everyone knows I love to shop. That is what will bring me back to visit (that and when Kage gets her first role on Broadway).

    Street fairs are also one of my favorite things about NYC. I love it when they just shut the streets down and set up tents where you can buy everything from dental tools, to gallon bottles of cumin, to bonsai trees. And the food! BBQ corn on the cob with mayo, cayenne pepper and sprinkled with cheese--YUMMY!

    And lastly, #1 - tear in the eye. While I am sad to leave, I do look forward to starting my own list of 10 reasons why I love to be a mother in So Cal.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 1/24/2006 07:21:00 AM  

  • I am workin on agreeing with all your reasons... I definately don't have the same enthusiasm. But I have grown to appreciate some of the things you mentioned. As I am in Cali visiting, I made the same list here just yesterday as I was hiking up Bronson Canyon in 80 degree weather, babies in tow with the Hollywood sign directly above me looking more brilliant than I had ever seen it. I realize I am a NY hater, but really there is no excuse for raising children in an enviornment like that if you don't have to!

    chew on that one...
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 1/24/2006 07:51:00 AM  

  • P.S. I just wanted to play devils advocate for a minute...
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 1/24/2006 07:53:00 AM  

  • Great list, chloe!!!

    As another leaving the NYC fold soon....I would add:

    1. Convenience. Life without a car (before 2 children) was great. So are the bodegas....you are always only one block away from a gallon of milk, twinkies and a newspaper...day or night.

    2. Only in New York stuff...how great it was to be able to go to the Macy's Day parade, hunt for Easter Eggs under the Brooklyn Bridge...and of course, there is nothing like Christmas in NY!

    3. Diversity. There are often as many different languages spoken as kids on the playground. On the 7, I rarely heard English at all. Living in Sunnyside was probably our only opportunity to raise our kids in a relatively safe Hispanic neighborhood.

    That said...I won't miss lugging strollers up and down subway stairs, the smell of urine in the city during the summertime and playing "Stroller Frogger" every time I want to cross a street!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 1/24/2006 08:27:00 AM  

  • I miss NY for all the same reasons. I loved the busy city as did my kids. They will always be New Yorkers, in the sense that they will say anything to anyone. The often suprise the people out here in California.

    There a few reasons I do not miss NY; first my second child needs his own outside space and huge playground at school. I since figured out he had not been learning in school beacuseas he has a problem with small crowded spaces. So no that he has a huge classroom and big playground at school he has totally blossomed. My kids now love the beach and the sun, but they still ask when we get to go back and visit.

    So even though I often get home sick for NY and miss all the great stuff, ecspecially the good food.(Of course we do not miss the cray hours Kaimi worked) My kids and I have agreed that moving to San Diego has been quite and adventure. I mean winter out here is warmer the spring or fall in NY. My kids have been swimming in the ocean in January and went Christmas caroling in shorts and sandals. Sullivan even asked someone sitting by a fire what they were doing. Sullivan was puzzled when they said "they were staying warm." Sullivan turned to me and said "but it is warm." The other great thing about San Diego we actually get to see Kaimi a lot. Over all we are glad we have moved.
    But we will always be New Yorker at heart.
    posted by Blogger Mardell at 1/24/2006 09:35:00 AM  

  • Zinone. How we ever became friends is a mystery to me. I am just now realizing that there are so many things about us in common and so many things not. NY for one and Animals for two. Maybe that is the end of the list.

    I love the urban life. Probably b/c I have always been a nerdy allergy girl who associates sickness with the outdoors. I also like a clean house and my small apartment is about all I can clean...I can't imagine an entire house AND yard upkeep.

    Who knows where my path will take me, maybe my kids will beg for a yard-Daughter #1 is already requesting a "house in a neighborhood, not Brooklyn"...but her vote is about 2% of our consideration right now...but for now I am a city girl, and the current city is NY....and I am glad you are here (sort of here) Z.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/24/2006 10:01:00 AM  

  • For the stroller scene in the bay area try cruising down Chestnut, Union, or near the Marina Green. I promise you will get your stroller fix, some great shopping, and good food. I had my first baby in San Fran and loved every moment. You may have to drive as opposed to just stepping out of your door but it will be worth it.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 1/24/2006 10:17:00 AM  

  • I am laughing because I have never experienced the Bay area, or NY, or anything urban, really. I was raised in a small town in Idaho and currently live in Happy Valley (Provo).

    Provo is HUGE to me. SLC? No way! Too many people, too much noise, too many weirdos. I can't even imagine living anywhere bigger. I love to visit places like that, don't get me wrong --it's fun to visit. VISIT. VISIT ONLY.

    Because I married a So.Cali boy, I will never be able to again experience what I love about living in small farm-towns:

    1)You can literally see every single star every single night (minus cloud cover, of course --very rare)

    2) Unless you're driving past the dairy farms, the smell of fresh air permeates everywhere. Oxygen city!

    3)There is nothing so beautiful as the green, green, green hills and fields waving in the air along the Snake River.

    4)You know almost everyone, but not so well that the town is gossip-ville

    5)The community supports everything. Every athletic event, every music event, every rodeo event.

    6)The streets are safe for kids to play in --literally. You can play a couple hours of football in the street without one car coming by.

    7)Night games are encouraged by neighbors and everyone's invited

    8)Driving to the "big city" (Idaho Falls, anyone?) is a huge privilege that all teens aspire (and beg) to do.

    9)Life is slower --people aren't rushing around.

    10)It was my home. I think that's why I miss it the most....

    Here's a shout-out to all rural communities!! YAY!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 1/24/2006 12:40:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the list, it brought back some good memories. I really miss sunnyside (Queens) I miss sitting on our front stoop and drawing with sidewalk chalk and chatting with neighbors. I miss doing my dishes and looking out the window facing the street and having neighbors and friends stop on the sidewalk to chat with me through my window. I miss our private park where the kids could run wild and free and I could sit on the bench and supervise and visit with the Irish moms. I miss mr. softy and his little song as he drove down the street. For those NY moms who didn't live in sunnyside-it was a totally different NY experience and I loved it.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 1/24/2006 05:54:00 PM  

  • Thanks for everybody's comments. Thanks especially to the other San Fran/Bay Area moms - you have given me some new ideas and reasons to learn to love where I am currently living.

    Carrie, such an oversight on my part to ommit H&M. Did you know that there is one coming to your new hometown of Pascedna in the fall?

    Jen, you are SO right about the wonderful diversity. Maybe I just took it for granted or just lived there so long I stopped noticing but it is fantastic.

    Kage, go live in Brooklyn. I need some of my girls back in the 'hood when I come back to visit once or twice a year. Keep the NYC dream alive, baby.

    Zinone, you are truly a California girl. I'm trying to become one, but alas, I am an East Coast girl and its going to take time. Keep working on me, toss out the reasons I need to love it here. I think that in time I will.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 1/25/2006 09:38:00 PM  

  • I've lived in inner city neighborhoods, rural small towns, and suburbs. I hate the suburbs. Cities and small towns rule. Suburbs suck.

    I guess where I live now is very suburban, but it doesn't matter, because it's Surf City, USA. The coolest place on earth! :P Plus I work near L.A.
    posted by Blogger Susan M at 1/25/2006 11:27:00 PM  

  • Susan M, I'm 100% with you. Grew up in a town of less than 1,000, now I'm living back in that area. But NYC was amazing as well. Suburbs give me the MAJOR heebie jeebies.
    posted by Blogger marian at 1/26/2006 05:51:00 AM  

  • H&M in Pasadena. The Lord does take care of his children!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 1/26/2006 06:32:00 AM  

  • I know - isnt' that just the best! For all of you hip Bay Area moms, H&M is also coming to Walnut Creek (Broadway Plaza) in the spring and to Sunvalley Mall in Concord (also in spring).

    posted by Blogger chloe at 1/27/2006 01:26:00 PM  

  • Hallejuiah? That's a new one for me Chloe - is that how you spell it out there in Cali-for-ni-ay? :-) I like it, how is it pronounced? I'll use it in my next sacrament talk... I think it should be "hall-ay-hoo-yah", kind of a cross between praising god and hiking a football.
    posted by Blogger marian at 1/27/2006 02:32:00 PM  

  • I especially like the "juiah". So sweet rolling off my tongue...

    It's my new word and I'm stickin' to it.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 1/28/2006 08:30:00 PM  

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