In two days I will have officially been living in Purchase, New York for a month now. It’s about two minutes from White Plains, 3 from Armonk and 5 from the state of Connecticut. All that information to explain that I’m still learning the area, but I think it’s considered “metro New York” for lack of a better geographical definition.
What I do know is that this means that I have a country club golf course across the street from my (current) house, which is located on a long and beautifully secluded suburb road. We have enormous flowers growing in our garden (not put there by us) and neighbors with dogs and pools and guest houses and stories to tell. For example, the neighbor with seven-year-old twins who has two bull mastiffs, one of which is nine and has hip dysplasia. The other is two and provoked only a split second of paralyzing fear when he galloped up to me as a greeting. One playful headbump on my side sends me flying. Another threatened to call the cops if a (different) neighbor doesn’t start putting his dogs on a leash. His dog was soft and nonabrasive and licked my hand until I pulled it away. I like to look at the different style of houses as I walk down the street prepping for a run.
“Metro New York” area also means that I am five minutes away from a train station and, if I take the express train, about 35 minutes from Grand Central Station. Sometimes I don’t take the express train, just so I have more time to read.
I’ve been enjoying my time exploring New York City. Meeting up with random friends or even, most recently, hiking it alone. For someone who is broke, I certainly spend a lot to get there: parking, round trip train tickets, metro cards for the subway, $2 water bottles, twice I splurged on dinner with drinks, once a glass from the Museum of Sex… but, it’s been worth it.
Apart from that, everything I do in NYC is free — everything. There’s lists of everything one can do for free, but I don’t find them 100% necessary. Any city can be free if you don’t try too hard! I want to soak up the atmosphere. I want to dispel the stereotypes I’ve heard and developed of NYC and create new ones. I want to walk and learn the layout and navigate the subway and sit in parks. All of which are free (barring the subway).
Sure, there are plenty of things I still wish to do that cost money, and I’m sure I’ll get to them. However the things to do in a city don’t necessarily give a traveler the true sense of the city. For me, the true sense of a city comes from the people, the atmosphere, the small exchanges, the layout, the trash and the scenes.
I’ve lived in a handful of different places before, but in a “real world” scenario like this (work 9-5, far from any friends, in the suburbs) it definitely took some time to digest. However just because I’m not living in the city, or exploring every nook and cranny of the area (Purchase, Somers, Armonk, White Plains, I don’t care) doesn’t mean I’m not soaking up the feel. It’s fast-paced suburbia here and despite the driving conditions, I’m throwing out the GPS.