Heart and home – are they always in the same place? Maybe not. When we understand the difference, we can enjoy our homes more while accepting that we need to nourish other parts of who we are. Here's how I reconnect with the city where I was born because everyone wants to go photos of fun doors.
Born in New York City, I think a part of me has remained there forever. When I was younger, I dreamed of living in NYC for a few years. So far that hasn't happened but who knows, we keep moving so you never know. Don't get me wrong. I've lived in so many places even I'm amazed – New York, California (twice), Connecticut, New Hampshire, summers in Nantucket and lots of visits to Florida where my granddaughter lives. In my former life working for IBM, I lived in Tokyo and traveled extensively. I worked in Japan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong plus short trips to China. Vacation trips included Bali, Vietnam and New Zealand.
Today my home is in New Hampshire and my heart still yearns for that New York experience. So here are a few of the ways I've found to spend more time in NYC to explore heart and home, and what makes me happy.
Heart and Home: What I Love About New York City
In many ways the photos tell the story of what I love about NYC. My lifestyle involves working hard and to balance that, playing hard. However I don't like having to spend a lot of time planning my play. Rather I like having lots of options at my fingertips when I'm ready for some downtime. In New York City, all you have to do is walk out the door and down the street (taking photos of fun doors), with many choices within a few blocks away. You can decide to see a Broadway show and a half hour later (we walked) you're at the box office and often, you can get great seats at the last minute.
Bryant Park – green space in summer, ice skating in winter!
As I sit here trying to put into words what I'm feeling, I'm asking myself why I didn't move there when I graduated from college. That was a long time ago. I wasn't as fiercely independent back then and followed tradition, moving to an IBM job in Poughkeesie, New York. With one of the first degrees in computer science, I could have moved to Boston (working for Digital Equipment) or Seattle (working for Boeing to start, and Microsoft?). Clearly I didn't fully understand how I love city life and yes, I was a bit scared about moving to a place I'd never been (Seattle).
But let's not look back as we know the past will remain what it is. The only thing we can change is the direction we take moving forward … so let's go!
Heart and Home is Like a Tug of War
Over the years, I've taken my boys to visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center (skating and the tallest Christmas trees), FAO Schwartz (mind boggling toy store), amazing train displays and now even the Apple Stores. One tradition I started was taking my au pairs down to New York City each December, to enjoy the city all decked out for the holidays. We started at Macy's where they loved trying on designer dresses. Then we'd walk north for hours, taking photos (before they were digital), visiting shops, eating until we reached my grandmother for a brief visit.
On one of my husband's business trips, we dropped him at work and the kids played on the escalators at Penn Station. Wherever you are, with children you have to find a playground and train stations are a lot of fun. The next morning Ryan who was 2 years old at the time, rode more escalators at the World Trade Financial center from 6 to 9am while my husband slept. Then we went to FAO Schwart to find a birthday present for a birthday party later that day.
Heart and Home: Finding a Home in New York
We picked a date for moving to New York and this made it real so we had to start figuring out what it would take to make it happen.
Finding a home in New York is more complicated than an HGTV show might suggest. We only know the city as occasional visitors. Other than knowing we want to live in Manhattan, we don't know neighborhoods. We decided the best way to discover what we like was to rent apartments and try living in different parts of the city, for a week and even a few weeks, to make sure we understand the pros and cons of city living.
Moving Means Letting Go of Collectibles
Preparing our home for rental – is also challenging as we all collect far too much stuff. We plan to rent our condo furnished (we didn't) so it's a matter of sorting, packing up and more important, giving away what we don't need and likely, will never use.
My home office will be easier as I travel lots and learned my lesson when moving my handyman office back home. We collect enough to fill the space we have, so less space is better! The number of different marketing pieces I had was crazy so I learned to keep it simple (obvious right, but not so easy for someone who enjoys being creative).
My real challenge is letting go of all my quilting fabrics which I've been collecting since the '70s. After making calls to a few of my art minded friends, I discovered a wonderful way to do this in a nearby town. Crafters Quarters in Amesbury, MA does lots of work with non-profits so my fabrics will be shared with them, and the many groups that use their studio will use the fabrics for all sorts of projects.