Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight

Wherever I go, I’m taking you with me

The other day you frowned. At the time, you were gazing out the window of a new coffee shop down the street.  We’d just had a lovely afternoon in our neighborhood– eating lunch, shopping at the mom and pop bookstore, and sharing tiny pastries at a French-themed cafe.

“Astoria! I’m going to miss you!” you cried out. I bit my lip, and nodded in agreement.

I’ve been in this neighborhood eight years–you more than 10–and though we haven’t come close to picking out a new home, we have already begun to say goodbye to this one. It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll be able to find what we’re looking for in Astoria, and while I can’t say with any type of certainty, my money is on us moving to Brooklyn. Let’s place some bets. I could use the cash.

The great thing about a big city like New York is that it gets broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces and the piece you occupy– your local neighborhood–becomes a small city unto itself. The businesses on your street become your barstool at Cheers. The people who tend them greet you with warmth when you walk through the door. Your butcher knows the cut you prefer, and the same man hands you the free Metro paper every morning at the foot of the subway stairs. The checkout ladies in hijabs are always curious about your grocery items, especially when they vary from your normal sweet potatoes and heads of kale.

“Ohhhh, what are you making tonight?” they’ll ask, holding up your bags of z’aatar and lentils.

Lately we’re looking around and noticing everything. As we stockpile mental lists of things we like and things we don’t about a neighborhood, we’re finding few complaints in the one we currently occupy. It’s cool without being pretentious. It’s multi-ethnic without feeling divided. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable. It’s interesting. It’s safe.

I’m really going to miss it.

I’m going to miss walking up Broadway, where century-old barber shops with steel chairs and striped poles keep their windows open so you can see men getting their sides trimmed or their faces shaved. I’m going to miss my shoe-shine guy, whose tiny store smells like a polished saddle and who fixes my boots for $5 every winter so I don’t have to buy new ones. I’m going to miss the bakery on the corner beneath the subway, not because I ever buy anything there, but because the smell of fresh bread escapes from their vent every morning and drifts all the way up to the train platform. I’m going to miss walking hand-in-hand with you to Saturday brunch. I’m going to miss summer mornings writing and drinking coffee in my little backyard.

I will not miss the awful loveseat we’ve held onto the past eight years because a real-sized sofa won’t fit into our living room. For years and years we’ve talked about a bigger space so we can finally invest in a longer couch. This lumpy loveseat is not coming with us. It will spend eternity on an Astoria streetcurb.

I will never miss this couch, but I will miss the closeness it requires. I’ll miss its narrow, squat dimensions and how it’s forced us to attach our bodies together like they’re trimmed in Velcro. I’ll miss Sunday nights with my feet propped on your legs, and I’ll miss sleepy mornings with your head against my shoulder.

Thankfully, you pack up real easy.

I’ll miss this neighborhood something awful, but there’s great comfort in knowing that wherever I go, I’m taking you with me.

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • Meg
    Nostalgia for a place that you haven’t yet left — I know that so well. I was so emotional leaving our first apartment and changing towns, even though we moved just 15 minutes away. Beautiful post! I know you will take this little spot with you wherever you and Vinny land . . . and you will land happily and put down new roots, no doubt. :)
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      I know you do…you wrote about it yesterday as well:). I welcome and love change, but it’s hard to let go of places that you’ve really gelled with.
  • Annie Emmy Evans
    Love this! I want to live where you live. :)
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      So do I! Sniff, sniff.
  • Jillian
    I’m so curious to see where you’ll end up. So…is Astoria more expensive than Brooklyn now? When we were looking, Brooklyn wasn’t even in our range. Although, we were looking for condos, not houses, so that could be the difference. I’m going to miss Astoria too. Terribly. But I take solace in that we will now have a car, so we’ll be more mobile around more parts of Queens and Brooklyn, which is cool. I plan to visit Astoria often!
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      Because we really want to land in a two-family house, Brooklyn wins out
      over Queens in a major way. There are so many more houses in Brooklyn,
      and the taxes on two-families are MUCH lower there (like, 4x lower on
      2-family houses, due to some grandfather clause). No one is selling
      houses in Astoria! There is literally no inventory! We have been
      cruising Bed-Stuy and Bushwick every weekend, because that’s where the
      “affordable” houses can still be found. I definitely plan to visit
      Astoria often. I really will miss it, it’s just looking pretty grim in
      terms of finding a house here.