What I love about cities is how different the neighborhoods are.  In one town there are multiple sections that have a different landscape, different people, an extremely different vibe, different restaurants, different cadence and different things to see.  Some are more residential while others are more commercial.  Some have grit and some are bland.  Some capture sophistication and others are edgeless.  There are neighborhoods that I adore and others that if I never went there again that would be fine with me.

When we were in Shanghai, having a car take us around the city for 6 hours gave us a compressed version through the window of how each neighborhood felt and changed as we drove from area to area.  When we first moved to the city many moons ago, we would walk the city on the weekends, explore as many neighborhoods as possible, we wanted to just take in as much as humanly possible so we could truly know our city….and we do.  We have done and do the same thing with Los Angeles when we are there and we continue to do that when we travel.

The first time we landed in the city, having a diploma for only a few months and a new job in hand, we found an apartment on 28th and Madison, where we could walk to work.  Who knew that the neighborhood was overrun with SRO’s, drug dealers and prostitutes.  It was a very different city back then, another thing I love about cities is their everchanging landscape, as now that neighborhood is a very different place.  We stayed at a family friends apartment on 79th and Park during the few days, we were there to find an apartment.  I still remember taking the bus up Madison Avenue from 23rd Street and being in awe of the size of the buildings.  It was clear how different the UES was from Madison Square Park.  I felt as though the buildings were going to fall down on us as I peered out the window of the bus and looked upward.  It was exhilarating.  I couldn’t believe that I was going to be able to build my life in NYC.

Last night I was in Clinton Hill looking at something then I went to Gowanus to have a few drinks at the Threes Brewery and then went to the Lincoln Center area to meet a friend for dinner.  The extreme difference between Gowanus and the UWS is drastic.  I am much more suited to Gowanus.  Both neighborhoods have changed over the past decades although the UWS still hasn’t figured out how to have a decent restaurant.  I woke up this morning thinking about NYC.  I just love this city more than any other place in the world and I am insanely lucky to call it home.

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    As someone who moved from the UWS to Gowanus area (Carroll Gardens) couldn’t be happier. This hood is alive and a neighborhood. Restaurant scene is so on point too for my style/tastes

    1. Gotham Gal

      I had dinner at Boulud Sud last night. It was awful.

      1. William Mougayar

        Boulud is plastering his name because he can $$$. These replicas aren’t cutting it. After trying one of them, that’s it.

        1. Gotham Gal

          I felt like saying “shame on you” to him

          1. William Mougayar

            When he opened the first Cafe Boulud, it was more real, around ~2000 maybe.Brand extensions are not easy.

      2. Robin Bobbe

        My sister is having a dinner party there next week. Maybe I should cancel?

        1. Gotham Gal


          1. Robin Bobbe

            That was a response to your review of Bolud Sud. My sister is having a dinner party there next Saturday. Our go to place on the UWS was Ouest. So it seems everyone is scrambling.

          2. Gotham Gal

            I wouldn’t go there but I don’t live up there.

          3. Robin Bobbe

            I lived up there in the late ’70 and very early ’80. The best place in the neighborhood to hang out was Café Central, a tiny little dive bar. Recently, Holly Hunter recounted in The New Yorker that early in her career she was told Robert Duvall hung out there. She said she looked in the window many times but never saw him. I can say that he was there practically every night. As well as most of Hollywood and New York actors. No doorman, no red velvet ropes.

  2. William Mougayar

    I just jogged along the High Line and back toward 8th via the village, to 10th & 20th st where we’re staying, and just experienced the contrasts from the majestic views of the Line, to the serenity of the west village to the busy-ness of 8th Ave.NYC is always rebuilding, renovating, expanding with unique vibe. It’s like the city is always on maximum volume and activity. If NYC was on 10 volume, Toronto is on 3.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I like that analogy

    2. awaldstein

      On the High Line itself?

      1. William Mougayar

        Yes, it was early and almost empty.

    3. pointsnfigures

      yup, NYC is a city that never ever stops.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      On a gorgeous Autumn day. Sounds fabulous 🙂

  3. Donna Brewington White

    You provide a fascinating look into NYC and are an excellent tour guide. In a handful of trips there, I have barely scratched the surface.Living in LA, I have found myself in parts of the city that are so culturally unique — including the language being spoken and what is sold in the markets — that I feel as though I got there by plane rather than by car.

    1. Gotham Gal

      That’s what is so amazing about Los Angeles and NYC is you can go places that are a 30 minute drive that feels as if you have flown 12 hours to get there.

  4. Robin Bobbe

    Tuesday night I had a book signing party to go to. With the threat of rain looming, but determined to squeeze half a workout in, I jumped on my bike and peddled to Chelsea Piers, when suddenly on 11th Avenue, the heavens opened and I got caught in a monsoon. Defeated, I headed for home. My iPhone, which was in my pocket, needless to say, stopped working. With little time left before we had to leave for the party, desperate times call for desperate measures, I turned to the World Wide Web for help. Did you know that if your cell phone gets wet, and is placed in a bag of rice, it absorbs the moisture? Did you know that said rice could get embedded in the charger slot rendering your most important form of communication virtually useless? Did you also know that the hours of the Apple Store on 5th Avenue are 24/7, 365 days a week? At 11pm that night, with iPhone in hand, I arrived at the Apple Store ready for emergency surgery. Success! Fifteen minutes later I was home. New York, The City that Never Sleeps.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is all about the rice.

  5. pointsnfigures

    Today, I got tickets to see Les Miserables at the last minute. Did a 2.5hr yoga class this morning. came home, went to the show, then had a family dinner at home. you can’t do that unless you live in the city (logistics and serendipity) or if you live in a smaller town. when I go to a ballgame, I take public transportation. Restaurants are top notch because it’s so darned competitive. There are downsides I can cite, but I think Joanne can talk about just the serendipity of life that happens in a city.