New York State of Mind
by Michele Christopher

I called Turtle about 3am this morning when I woke from a pretty bad dream. We talked a bit and he told me he wrote his farewell to California.

I understand why he's sad to be leaving. I know what it's like to call only one place home. I've lived here - not just New York, not just Long Island, but this particular little town - my whole life. I've moved four times and it's always been within this town. I'll leave here someday. I've always wanted to live somewhere else, somewhere new, and I promised Turtle that when the kids are out on their own (which frighteningly isn't that far away) I'd head back to California with him. Maybe San Diego. I hear the weather is nice there.

I'll be as sad to leave here as Turtle is to leave his home state. It's what happens when you fall in love with the place you live in. Even if you sometimes loathe it, sometimes wish it would sink into the sea, you still love it. It's home. It's my roots. It's for me. Not just Long Island, but New York in general. I'm kind of proprietary over this place.

So what does Long Island (and by extension, NY) have to offer my Turtle (besides me)? I mean, besides serial killers, nutjob teenage sluts, satanic youth and haunted houses? And besides massive traffic jams and too many strip malls and unchecked suburban sprawl?

Hmm. That's not a very good sell, is it?

Actually, I'm not trying to sell him, as this is already a done deal, but I do want to let him know that Long Island has plenty to offer the turtle, based on what I know he likes. No, we don't have the "artsy" things he likes about California, but it's not like the place is devoid of anything cultural. And we don't have that blend of foods from around the world that he's always going on about but, hey, we have Taco Bells and Chinese take out! Multicultural!

There's a saying that goes: When you are on LI, you are always ten minutes from anything you want. Give or take a few minutes, it's mostly true. Unless you're in traffic. Which is probably going to be the case. But turtle should be used to that.

What have we got? Sunsets on the Atlantic Ocean (I don't go to the beach during the day). Wineries, aboreteums, bird sanctuaries and mansions. Cool museums and an NHL team. Night clubs where cool bands play. Sushi in an outdoor restuarant on the Nautical Mile. Parks where the doggie can run around. PGA golf courses. 24 hour diners. A cool aquarium. Apple and pumpkin picking in the fall, building snowmen in the winter and well, lots of heat and humidity in the summer. But it's nothing like the 115 degrees in California this week. Don't give me that dry heat crap, either. Heat is heat when you're talking about those temps. Maybe the best thing about Long Island is its proximity to cooler places. There's some neat records stores in Brooklyn and great restaurants in Queens and a huge zoo in the Bronx. Hop on the LIRR to NYC and get all the culture you want.

Turtle underestimates himself, anyhow. He's the kind of person who can fit in anywhere, be comfortable with anyone. He'll do fine here. Maybe that dictionary of Turtle Talk might come in handy, but he's probably going to need a New York to English dictionary anyhow. Cawfee. Say it with me.....cawfee.

Anyhow, I've discovered that most rock/punk rock songs about New York aren't very favorable to this state. I'm gonna need a bit to find a good song that captures what I feel about this place. But for now, I'll just get the cliche out: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

It's a pretty cool place to live. I'll be leaving it someday, but it's something I'll do for my best friend.

Besides, sometimes it's not the place you live in that makes it cool. It's who you are with.

Some pics I've taken around Long Island:

dark water cliche freshly fallen silent shroud of snow storming the field sea-of-pumpkins sky high adventureland museums9


new york is alright

if you like saxaphones


I knew you were going to do that.


dude i bust on kalipornia because i was miserable there. i was using and i hated everyone. there is no doubt of my part in things.

i've lived all around the country, and i keep coming back to baltimore. i've decided to stop fighting it.

plus, like you say, michele. it has a lot to do with who's with me. my most loyal friends are in this city, and for that alone... i love it.

so for a song? DMX's let me fly from "it's dark and hell is hot"

baltimore -- represent!!


I grew up an Air Force brat. I spent 10 years in the Army. I am now a civilian employee for the Marine Corps. I go where the job takes me.

The longest I ever lived in any one place is the Mississippi Gulf Coast and I still think of that as home. Louisiana is my birth state and my parents are there, but it's only slightly home.

Home is where you make it.

For a song, I'll pick "The Better Life," by 3 Doors Down because they're from the Coast and it really is what we're all in search of now. Isn't it?


I grew up between NY (Oceanside) and LA (South Bay, RPV) and now live in New Mexico, tell ya what, I would never give up growing up where I did, but I will not raise my kids in either place, we travel and visit and do Broadway and Disney, but not for a million years would I consider moving back to either place.


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