I just spent the entire day in the city working on a photoshoot with Audrey and it reminded me of how much I miss living in the boroughs. Long Island is SO SO SO SO SO good for my children – don’t get me wrong. But we are missing out some cultural “must-dos” due to oversized parking lots and chain malls.
So, I thought I’d write up a quick list in an attempt to shake some silly into those in charge of developing this great island. There are so many wonderful and beautiful things that Long Island has to offer, but I would LOVE it if we could also sprinkle in….
5 Things The Suburbs Can Learn From NYC
- Small restaurants // no name brands // ultimate fresh food: My friends and I grabbed lunch at Dimes on the Lower East Side and had a really great meal. I’m talking healthier than I would ever make for myself at home. Being honest here. As I was eating it, I was thinking about where I could find a similar dish back home and I came up short. Real short. Like the list was zero. Their entire menu was all kale and wild mushroom and fresh lime lemonade with quinoa on the side. Catch my drift? This should be what EVERY restaurant serves everywhere. My children go to a restaurant and immediately search out the chicken fingers and french fries. It’s not ok. And don’t tell me I’m going to the wrong restaurants, because I go EVERYWHERE and those darn kid menus are evil.
- Walking: Hey y’all. Remember walking? Remember just getting up and walking around and finding new stores and restaurants because you were just hanging out with your friends walking around the city? That’s how I grew up. My kids get driven from one location to the next because that’s now how suburbia is built. I’m not sure how we can possibly correct this… but MAN I wish more places were connected. Maybe when suburbia builds their next big mall, they can also put a huge walking district and have it set up like several city blocks? How can you possibly get lost in an adventure when there’s a mall map at every corner?
- Old Buildings and Grit: I’m not saying I want my neighborhood to be dirty and filled with graffiti … because the Lilly Pulitzer store on my main street just wouldn’t look the same with someone’s name tagged up along the side of it… but give me some history!! When I was walking around yesterday, you could see the aged brownstones and the cobble streets. You knew that it wasn’t all manufactured over the last 3 years. Respect history! My town right now is FIGHTING to bulldoze this magnificent 100 year old building because it needs a lot of repair. People are BEGGING to demo it instead of fighting to maintain it. It looks like Hogsworth for Christ’s sake. But I think most people would prefer to have a Chili’s there instead and it makes me SO SICK OMG.
- A View: There’s no view in the suburbs. I’m not sure AGAIN how to correct that but … sheesh. Sitting on my friend’s balcony and checking out NYC made me exhale. There you are, old friend. Maybe when people are developing these mass housing projects, they can consider having a central pond or SOMETHING for families to enjoy. I know it’s all about squeezing in living space into every last inch of land that you purchased. But there’s a benefit to having a central location for families to just admire and enjoy. We need more things for the soul and just because… Again, this is coming from someone who isn’t a builder and who doesn’t have to incur that loss, so I register that.
- Culture. Mic Drop. Ok, I’m picking the mic back up. I know you can find small shows and plays all around suburbia if you look for them, but we need a greater focus PERIOD. We need theatre, poetry slams, art exhibits, and more! They are so far and few in between. That’s what makes the city so great. It’s filled with passion. Most suburban towns are filled with chain restaurants and two-for-one specials. It’s not ok! I wish there were things for my little ones to enjoy in their own space. I love taking the train into the city to do this stuff, don’t get me wrong. But BOY do I wish there was a lot more in my own neck of the woods. I moved. So is life. And I moved to probably one of the best towns on Long Island – no joke! But it’s lacking in culture in a serious way and so are all the neighboring areas. I’m sure I could drive to Huntington to find some great shows for the family, but that’s 40 minutes away. I could get to Manhattan in less time. Wouldn’t it be great if EVERY town embraced the need for culture? Maybe then our music and art programs wouldn’t be at risk in schools…
So, what do you think? Do you live in a suburban town? Do you feel it needs a little facelift or are you happy with the way things are? Maybe you have healthy food, a walking district and lots of great shows to watch with the kids. Long Island does not represent the rest of the country. Our land is the priciest (number 1 and 2 according to a recent survey) and so housing and retail is the priority.
Would love to know your thoughts!