More of the Same, and Better

People, I just spent three and half hours helping a friend paint her apartment. Once upon a time, I used to have stamina, I used to be pretty strong, and manual labor was fun, but within mere seconds of rolling the paint onto her walls, I started to feel the burn. I said to myself, “Self, are you kidding me? How did you get to be such a wimp?” But we caught up on each other’s lives and finished two coats on the girls’ bedroom and one coat in the hallway. My friend is pretty tall, at least 5’10”, so she reached up high while I stayed near the baseboards. Anyway, I just wanted to warn you: I’m going to be sore tomorrow, and I’ll most likely complain about it. That’s not to say I didn’t have a great time hanging out and helping a friend; I’m just getting old and crabby. This body just ain’t what it used to be.

What I’ll miss: Hip neighborhoods
My friend whose apartment I helped paint just moved to a cleaner, safer part of town, near Columbia Medical Center. They have quite a bit more space and more closets in which to store their things. It seemed really family friendly and quiet, and they also happen to live near quite a few members of our church. The area isn’t necessarily hip, but it’s nice.

Upper East Side: Not hip, but also nice. Clean with wide sidewalks and nearby grocery stores. Stores close relatively early as more families lived there than the likes of me, single and a hearty partier. Yeah. That’s me.

Washington Heights/Inwood: More of the same family-ness. Many nearby parks and relatively peaceful when the kids are at school. When the kids aren’t busting open fire hydrants, they’re standing in line for Mister Softee and swinging on swingsets or jungle gyms or trying too hard to look like thugs. Amusing.

Greenwich/West Village: Busier singles scene, but also an increased likelihood of flirting with a gay man. Fun, but futile. Really great places to eat and listen to music; and walking around at Washington Square Park is always entertaining. Oh, a friend and I used to read the mailing labels on newspapers left on stoops to see if famous people lived there. Not my best stalking technique, but fun.

East Village/Lower East Side: This is where I first lived when I moved to the city. I fell in love with it instantly. Maybe I appreciated the struggle establishing a new life from virtually nothing. I loved how stores and eateries were open until 3AM, whenever clubs and bars had their closing time. I loved the easy access to live and phenomenal music, especially up-and-comers who’d soon take the music world by storm.

Upper West Side: Make sure to stroll through Riverside Park
Williamsburg: Some really great live music, some interesting neighborhoods
Prospect Park: Where you’d most likely run into a lower-profile celebrity
Brooklyn Heights: Quiet, pretty; lovely promenades. Where I almost snuck into Norman Mailer’s house
Bensonhurst/Coney Island: If you like Russians and good hot dogs, you’ll appreciate this neighborhood

What’s most impressive is how much a neighborhood can change within a few blocks, or even the next block. Hipsters, oddballs, artists, etc., they all seem to flock, to form communities, and I’ve loved walking down certain streets and sensing the “feel.” I don’t think it’ll be the same in Provo. Maybe it will.

What I won’t miss: Certain drunks
I’m not sure why I decided on this pairing. I just know I’ve seen too many drunk people on the subway or out on the street, and I’ve caught whiffs of their breath so saturated that I would have failed a breathalyzer just from that split second of sharing the same air. Hopefully you’ve been fortunate enough not to experience that. Totally not hip.

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