I grew up in the suburbs with a longing for all things urban. While the neighborhood I grew up in can probably be classified as a more urban area of a suburban town, it was still in the middle of a large suburban big box town. The downtown was neglected and the parks were occupied by mostly bums (now I understand the neighborhood is starting to change).
I’ve lived outside NYC for about 8 years now. Growing up, it was a dream of mine to move to the big city (despite being a major Red Sox fan). Alas, every town I have lived in has been a suburb. Sure, I can fit in with those who frequent Washington Square, and I am always stopped and asked for directions by tourists, but I have never been able to escape small town America.
The good thing about the suburbs outside NY, is that there are plenty of villages to hang out in. Some even rival the finer neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Montclair, Morristown, and Hoboken come to mind. So, my wife and I are more and more avoiding the malls, and hanging out in our local downtowns. This has been something we’ve done for years, but we are to the point that when we do have to shop at a Target, or other major monster shop, it is with our fingers crossed, and our faces clenched in disgust. Big box shops just don’t offer it to us in a way that cities and villages do.
I hate driving. Now, I don’t mind the occasional afternoon drive with no place in particular to go, but driving to the grocery store, driving to work, driving to the post office, driving to this, that, and there, leaves me tired and stressed. It is amazing that many people just 20 miles east of me do not have a need for a car. I rely so much on my vehicle, that if I were to lose it, I would probably be out of work. This is why I am going to attempt the 15 mile commute on a bike eventually.
We are moving to a suburb. The house finally came out of attorney review and we should be in the house by July. The town we settled on was Denville, NJ. That is another 10 miles west of the city. 30 miles. On the train line, and if I decide to drive in (apart from rush hour), it would probably take about 30 minutes to hit the tunnel. Denville has a decent downtown that seems to be growing. We’ve done some hanging out in town, and already know some locals. Very nice town. Still the suburbs.
We’re still young. Maybe our next purchase will be in the city. Maybe it won’t be as important to me by then. I’m just glad I’m not in the town that I grew up in.