When Oodgie and I went looking for an apartment a few years back, we really lucked out.
We had originally planned on finding a nice two-bedroom place in Manhattan, but everything we saw was either too small or too grungy in our price-range. One person had covered every wall and cabinet with mirrors. One place was huge, but missed our baseline threshold for sanitation. It didn't take long for us to leave Manhattan to the celebrities, investment bankers, and Midwestern immigrants willing to sleep nine to a room.
When we originally emerged from the subway in Brooklyn, we were greeted with sun-dappled streets, beautiful brownstones framed by rich green foliage, and a sense of peace and tranquility we thought was only available in the nice part of Imaginationland. There were quaint shops and restaurants, affordable apartments, and breathtaking view of Manhattan just yards away. Our reservations about leaving the city were swept away by a feeling of warmth and...well, home.
For the last few years we've reaped the benefits of living in such a nice neighborhood. Oodgie is always running into friends at playgrounds and grocery stores. My commute is relatively painless. We rarely deal with the slack-jawed tourists you want to punch in the back of the head. And our periodic forays into suburbia usually end up reinforcing our quality of life.
Lately, though, we've had a bad run.
- Our local grocery store, known as much its pervasive stench of vomit as for it's offensive prices, burned to a crisp in the spring. I originally cheered when I heard this, but I do miss the convenience of, you know, BUYING GROCERIES
- The NYC equivalent to ivy has sprung up on every street within a five block radius, effectively turning day into night for blocks at a time.
- The city saw fit to eviscerate our sidewalk so that leaking transformers and incomplete sewer lines could be repaired. And the wholes and construction keep migrating, as if they're trying to booby-trap my path to the subway.
- And in a final stick in the eye, four businesses down the street, including a wine bar and Cheeky's favorite ice cream shop, closed within 24 hours last week due to creative accounting.
This hasn't really spoiled the 'hood for us yet, but it feels a little like its heart has been ripped out. It's hard to relax and enjoy the summer when you start expecting bad things to happen.
I'm a hopeful person in general, so I keep thinking thoughts like "this will be better when they rebuild it" or "at least there aren't pools of acid and blood on the pavement," or even "maybe they'll FINALLY build a Starbucks on the corner." (Doubtful) But it's taking a loooong time, and new stuff keeps happening. It's like we've replaced Florida on God's "most hated" list.
I'm just ranting of course. I'm sure by next spring it will look like Sesame Street again. I'll fit right in.