Astoria, Queens is a little bit of suburbia right outside of the craziness of Manhattan. While I live off of an avenue filled with restaurants, bars, and shops, the street where my house sits is quiet and lined with trees. There are houses with front gardens. People hang themed wreaths on their doors to celebrate every holiday. There are Marys on the half shell in many yards, indicating that the Greek influence in the neighborhood still exists.
On warm weekend mornings I like to take walks down toward the water. I travel past the stores, past the butcher shops with whole lambs skinned and hanging in the windows (a sign out front reads: Baby Lamb Goat Pig), past the bakery filled with cakes and Italian cookies, and to the East River.
This is my happy place in New York. There are people around walking or running like me. There are young people laying out blankets in the grassy area by the public pool which is waiting to be opened for the summer. There is an elderly couple that is pulling lawn chairs out of the trunk of their car so that they can sit by the water and read the newspaper. From up the hill, I can hear the kids from the playground, yelling and laughing.
Across the water is Manhattan. From here, it looks practically peaceful.
It is times like this that I feel the love that I once constantly felt for New York flooding back to me. It is times like this that I reconsider leaving this place. After all, I did love it once, right? Couldn’t I fall in love again? But maybe it is the idea of leaving that has made me love New York more. It has made me appreciate the little bit of time I have left in the City.
There are very few Saturday morning walks left for me in Astoria. At least for a while. I think they are one of things I will miss most.