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