snow. Just walked home from the pub, and it’s completely amazing just how covered in snow Brooklyn is right now. My hair plastered with white, my coat with a thick layer, sometimes closing my eyes as I walked to screen out the semi-harsh, semi-frozen snow crystals. It’s a beautiful snow, falling over the residual snow from a week ago that had turned hard and grey, now a powdery cover of white. By tomorrow, it’ll be slushy evil, but tonite, it’s gorgeous, if kinda insane. Brooklyn’s street grow quite, cars and trucks and buses kinda surf down the main roads, each person is an intrepid voyager in this urban snowscape. It’s been constant this winter, everytime we get a second to breathe, more snow.
I’ve got to admit, no snow in New York just means a terrible winter. At least snow is pretty, even if it turns to grey slush so quickly. But if a New York winter has no snow, it’s just biting wind, the type that makes your face want to fall off just going to the train. When I did grad work at NYU, the corridor of the buildings would make wind tunnels in Manhattan, at least in Brooklyn, you see the trees with you, wonderful Brownstone architecture. I don’t miss Manhattan at all, Brooklyn is full of trees and wonderfulness. The snow piles up on the ironwork that’s been there since the 1870’s. Manhattan is an inhuman place, but Brooklyn is warm, the scale of humans, and snow looks pretty, settles on windowpanes, gargoyles, churches.
When I got home, I opened the door, and my dog ran out into a crazy world of blizzard. We ran around the side yard, with him bounding belly deep in the drifts. He was crazy, more of this, and falling from the sky, again?!
In the pub, all we did was wonder, and we all live here why? This is at least the third blizzard this winter. I spent most of the last few weeks in the house, editing the manuscripts, hiding from the weather. But now semester has started again, and the short trek to school in all this becomes kind crazy. Those people who’ve done it everyday for the last few weeks? Egads.
I’m not sure why we all stay in NYC. Asking ourselves this is a spectator sport here. Of course, we’d grumble in most other places, at least most of us would. Freezing winters, and insane summers, with the tiniest bit of rainy transition in between. I remember growing up, we had spring and fall! Global warming took care of that.
Of course, we all stay for real reasons. None of them seem to be museums, galleries, symphonies, ballet. I don’t know anyone who goes to that stuff! I mean, I go to museums when I visit other cities, and when friends come visiting from out of town. Like most New Yorkers. And everyone knows Broadway theater is for the tourists. Real theater? The only time I go to that is when I know people in the performances. I guess I like to stay home, read books, visit my friends at local pubs, travel, play with my dog. If I were hetero, I could live anywhere.
Why do I stay? My family is here. I grew up in the NYC suburbs. But fundamentally, it’s an inhuman place to live, NYC. Thank goodness Brooklyn is infinitely better than Manhattan. But tonight we went out to a restaurant in Brooklyn, and the food was mad expensive. I eat a lot of pizza, at least it’s affordable on a professor’s salary! And I’m thrilled to have a job. But I know that I make as much money as starting salary for a NYC Board of Education Elementary School teacher, with no more than a bachelor’s degree. And I’m soooooo lucky to have the job of my dreams, and I can pay the bills and have tons of academic freedom. It’s just academic and financial reality.
A lot of why I stay here is my family. I’m really close to them. I’m Sicilian, you don’t move that far away from family for too long. And I have very old Grandparents, and it makes me so happy to see them on a regular basis.
But everyone I know says living in NYC is just harder than elsewhere. You need massive amounts of money to live here with what anywhere else would be considered a reasonable standard of living. No-one has a car (and thank goodness, no-one needs one), but it does make you feel semi stranded on this odd island. But it’s amazing when you visit people from out of town, they have houses and real lives and stuff! So odd!
Much to be thankful for here. Snow falling makes you pensive. But it is a strange, strange place.