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Once upon a time, there was a 30-something gal (yeah, that would be me) who lived in Manhattan’s west village with her husband and two girls. They lived on a sleepy, cobble stone street where kids loved to zip down the sidewalks on their scooters and skateboards. Each night, the sun set on the Hudson River, cascading golden rays of light across the water and off the buildings. Life was nice. And quiet.

construction.jpgThen one day, the building next door was knocked down to make way for a new luxury apartment building. Then shortly after, the building across the street was also razed and new construction began. Next, the electricians came with their backhoes and ripped up the cobble stones. 3 year-old Dylan began to plug her ears each time we made our way down West 12th. There is presently so much construction on our little block, the street is officially closed to everyone except residents. And then today, the couple across the hall began redoing their hard wood floors – a process that is quite loud and very dusty. It’s the first time I’ve really thought about a quieter life in the suburbs.

I truly love New York City. I adore walking a few blocks with Dylan to our neighborhood coffee shop. We rarely get into a car and can stroll to amazing playgrounds and kids’ activities. The restaurants are incredible. We are always running into friends. On Saturday mornings, we, as a family, head to our favorite 24-hour kitschy diner and enjoy breakfast, while we watch some of the folks who are still out from the night before. Each year, we take Dylan and Summer to see Santa Claus – at the Marc Jacobs store on Bleeker Street. When we hit the playgrounds, I hear French, Spanish and a zillion other languages. You’ve never felt so dumb as when a 3 year-old speaks to you in French and you have no idea what she is saying… but it’s wonderful. The city is constantly exploding with culture and life.

I guess that’s why it’s so damn noisy. And crowded. We went to a Halloween celebration over the weekend and it was a maddening obstacle course of children, strollers and lines. Yes, they gave out free chicken hot dogs with whole wheat buns and sweet, pink cotton candy but the line was a 1/2 hour long. I’d rather pay for my cotton candy. And maybe live somewhere calmer and quieter. Maybe.

7 Responses to city girl searching for quiet

  • Erik Bringard says:

    West Coast episode of this blog: "Mill Valley girl looking for noise" – coming to you in person this Wednesday. I'm keeping one kid here so that she has to come home at some point.

  • Erik Bringard says:

    On the other hand, setting the stage for a stalemate: two parents, two coasts – one kid each. (But, then there's Claudia…could it really all come down to the dog? Stay tuned.)

  • Daphne says:

    Out here in the 'burbs we've got more than our fair share of peaceful bliss, leaves quietly drifting down into piles on the lawn, neighbors bearing treats, and more, but how often I am tempted to trade it all for a real live diner on a weekend morning!

  • Abby says:

    Seeing as many of my students are still or beginning to panic about the SATs and ACTs I have to commend you for using the word "raze" which I learned 20 years ago when taking the tests. My block just got 2 new high rises and I can sympathize because I am dunzo with getting woken up at 7 am on a Saturday by construction!

  • Kerry says:

    being a transplanted suburban girl, i desperately miss the city. but i must say that now when i get home from a day in the city, i literally breathe easier and feel so free…aaaahhhh. as soon as you're ready to give up the glamorous life, i'll find you a nice pad here in westport! 🙂

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kelcey kintner