Last night we went to a fund raiser for the organization BYkids.  BYKids give 5 kids, each year, the tools to create a documentary about their life and package them to show to a worldwide audience.  Great idea.  Having just seen Baghdad High where four kids documented their life, through a hand held camera over the course of the year, was incredibly powerful and I would hope that it will be seen by a vast audience. 

What was impressive about last nights event that it was put together by a 17 year girl who is a junior in high school.  She is the daughter of a couple we became friends with when we lived in Chappaqua 10 years ago.  We have kept up our friendship and I get together with the Mom a few times a year for lunch.  Their daughter, who I knew when she was 8, is now six feet tall and beautiful, just marks how much time has passed.  Is everyone taller than me?  She did a fantastic job last night and it is quite impressive that she pulled off this event and raised a significant amount of cash for BYkids.  Bravo.

Jessica came to the event with Fred and me.  She too had not seen the majority of people at the event in 10 years.  One person at the event I actually worked for briefly.  Helped him target new business.  Our families were friends and our kids were all the same age.  We’d hang out on Sunday afternoon with the kids eating and drinking.  A very suburban thing to do.  His company wasn’t my thing but it kept me busy as I was also working for Silicon Alley Reporter at the same time and realized quickly that was where I wanted to spend all my time.  It was really nice to see him last night.   No surprise to me, he has grown his business and done really well.  Very entrepreneurial guy. 

Last night, he said to me "you never liked Chappaqua".  It wasn’t quite that but I always had one foot in the city.  I never wanted my head to leave the city.  In many ways, my life in the city has benefited from our 5 years in the suburbs (Fred refers to that time as our time in purgatory).  I take in the city with gusto every day.  I also thank my lucky stars that I live here every day.  My friend wanted to know if the kids have any interest to return to suburban life.  I laughed and said our kids are total urbanites.  He asked me what was it that I don’t like.  It is simple, I don’t like the woods.  Obviously there is more to it but that is the simple answer.

For Jessica, the night was interesting too.  She said that if we had stayed, she would have been just like all the kids there.  She is so completely different than all those kids.  The difference between city kids and suburban kids at that age is huge.  Being empowered at an early age to own your own town breeds a certain maturity at a young age. 

When we left ( which was early ), Jessica thanked us profusely.  She said the best decision we ever made as parents is leaving the suburbs.  She talked to Emily on the phone and continued to espouse that same thing.  Who knows that life would have been if we had stayed but lucky for us we didn’t.  Jessica is right, it was not only the best decision we made for her but it was the best decision we made for us. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. gregory

    this suburban/urban gap is especially profound here in india, where the difference is more accurately described as urban/rural …. the other day i had to come to bangalore in a car, piled some village kids into it, and brought them to their first mall, first escalator ride, first elevator ride …. they took it all in pretty easily, india teaches non reaction in both spheres, but i undertand it that the entire value system of the rural is to maintain the exisitence of that way of life, which is seasonal, only reluctantly cash-based, and in some ways they are the most important people in the country, they grow the food.

    suburbs will be the new artist/bohemian locations when gas gets to 10 bucks a gallon, and then be (re)gentrified when electric comes in… the never ending cycle, artists then yuppies then artists then yuppies

  2. harsh

    I disagree with the above commenter. Suburbs will not emerge as new centers of art. Maybe a decentralization will occur, in which city centers become less dense. But those interested and involved with art and culture will always remain close to cities. The city is too valuable as a muse for many.

    For example, the gentrification of SoMA in SF has not driven artists into the suburbs. They just begin to occupy other areas within or close to the city.

    More on this: “During the mid-1960s in San Francisco, the bohemian center of the city shifted from the old Beat enclave of North Beach to Haight-Ashbury (pictured) as a response to gentrification. Haight-Ashbury itself has now fully gentrified, and the San Francisco bohemia moved on to other parts of the city like the Lower Haight, the Mission District, and SoMa, all of which are themselves gentrifying.” – wikipedia

    Raising kids in the city is fantastic, if one can afford to do so.

    Keep blogging. Love it. 🙂