Being home in New York City, redux


September 24, 2013Reflections15 Comments

The Viva la Comida street food festival in Queens, held Sept. 20, 2013, not too far from my house.

The Viva la Comida street food festival, held in my Queens neighborhood on Sept. 20.

Remember when I posted in June about not feeling like I was home?

That’s changing. More and more, I’m feeling like I belong here, no doubt because I’ve spent my first solid 30 days in New York without jetting off to somewhere else. (I had to double-check that on my calendar — had I really not spent a straight month in New York since January? Yes, it’s true.)

In the past month, I have…

1. Gotten off the subway, and a growing number of times recognized east from west. A few days ago I even corrected Crayton: “Are you sure Ninth Avenue is this way?”

2. Got a haircut I liked.

3. Ran into a Queens friend randomly at a restaurant in the East Village.

4. Gotten over my longing to take cabs and walked the streets on purpose, because the city is stunning on summer nights when there’s a breeze. You can look up at the fire escapes criss-crossing the buildings and the skyscrapers all lit up and glowing, and not have to worry about bumping into anyone.

5. Distinguished the sounds of the local and express trains at my subway stop, which in turn determines whether I need to run as I’m approaching the turnstile.

6. Relished how fast New Yorkers walk, and the fact that you can say “Excuse me!” to someone in your way in a loud and urgent tone, and generally no one takes offense. (Or at least I don’t think they do — I’ve been “excuse me”-ed often, so I’m guessing it’s a normal thing.)

7. Had my first Queens Chinese breakfast. Yeah, zhaliang!

8. Decorated our apartment walls, installed a stainless steel worktable in our kitchen, and bought fresh flowers for all the sunny rooms in the house.

9. Attended the Viva La Comida street food festival in our neighborhood, which made me realize all over again why we picked Queens. Thanks for organizing, Jeff.

10. Ate a lovely dinner on a friend’s rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen.

Dining on the roof in Hell's Kitchen, courtesy of my friend Shaw.

Dining on the roof in Hell’s Kitchen, courtesy of my friend Shaw.

I’m excited to be here, and excited about the opportunities ahead. Thanks again for sticking with me.

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15 Responses to “Being home in New York City, redux”
  1. gloria

    Wow, it really sounds great Lesley. I love that dining on the roof, just beautiful. Looks like you are finding a place in this city. Good luck. Enjoy.

    • Lesley

      Thank you Gloria! Appreciate your kind words.

  2. fred b block

    Hi Lesley,
    Thanks for the post. You’ve got your NYC feet back.
    My wife and I arrived on 9/18 and spent two and a half days in Manhattan, and an Italian cuisine experience at Long Island’s Vincent’s Clam Bar & Restaurant-Cafe . Now, visiting Princeton,NJ on route to Costa Rica for 4 plus month’s, I am preparing a Mexican cuisine based lunch for my family there. I looked for a Nixtamatic corn grinder without success. I also need to buy flat corn seeds to plant in the Philippines for our tortillas, masa etc. We utilize dent corn now. Cheers!

    • Lesley

      Hi Fred: Glad you’re enjoying your US visit! Have fun in Costa Rica. :-)

  3. Peggy Bilbro

    ¡Felicidades! You have to make your home, not just find it, and it looks like you’ve done that–or at least have a good start on it! I look forward to many posts about your unique corner of our wonderful world.

    • Lesley

      Gracias Peggy! Hope you’re well.

  4. ale

    When you get a chance stop by taco mix in east harlem(e. 116th between 3rd ave and 2nd ave). It’s worth the trek i promise!

    • Lesley

      Thank you for the tip, Ale! Will add Taco Mix to my list.

  5. Michael Wolf

    Re point 6: do you have to keep rubbing our faces in it?

    • Lesley

      Rubbing your faces in… how fast people walk? Or the fact that they say “Excuse me?” Didn’t realize I had beaten this topic into the ground already.

      • Michael Wolf

        Well, I was being a little bit facetious about your rubbing our noses in it. Still, you’ve mentioned it a few times now, and I’m jealous. Walking quickly in public, and generally not getting in other people’s way, is simply good manners.

        • Lesley

          “Walking quickly in public, and generally not getting in other people’s way, is simply good manners.” In the United States, yes, but not necessarily in Mexico. In Mexico City most people walk slowly on the sidewalks, they take up the length of the sidewalk so you can’t pass, and they are not in a hurry. It’s not good manners or bad; it’s just a different worldview. Whatever is coming in the future can wait. I’ve also found that it’s considered aggressive to say “Excuse me” if you’d like to pass someone — instead you’re expected to walk up right behind them, wait for them to notice you, and then they will say, “Pase” or step aside and only *then* can you walk ahead. Walking ahead quickly or saying “Excuse me!” in a loud tone is definitely considered rude. I’ve attracted strange glances several times when I’ve tried to pass people, like, “Hey, what’s the hurry?” That’s in the residential neighborhoods, though. In the Centro people tend to walk faster, which appeals to my I’m-an-American-in-a-hurry side.

  6. Sally Inman

    Welcome back. You sound so happy !!!

  7. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me!

    Next time you go to one of these let me know and we have to meet soon…love the roof top…

  8. jkang

    what an awesome blog! so excited to read more of what you’ve been up to!

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