My Home

My friend Mac claims that my autobiography ought to be titled “How I’m Winning”. Every time something happens, no matter how good or bad, I figure out exactly how it has affected me in the best possible way. I’m not trying to claim to be a *positive* person at all, I just try to put the best face on whatever shit just hit the fan.

That’s right. The best face on shit. You want sensible metaphors, go somewhere else.

Anyway, the most potent aspect of this self-celebration is the fact that I always adore whatever community I am living in. No matter where I am, I can’t imagine trying to live anywhere else. Even when I lived on 35th street, basically putting my head down each night on top of the Lincoln Tunnel, I thought I would never be happy if I moved.

So, y’know, grain of salt and all that, but I absolutely adore Astoria. This morning I walked with Jordana to the trainstop because I needed to pick up potatoes for a dinner party tonight. As I walked back, I noticed for the first time that there is a wave of couples that walk to the train together each morning holding hands. Everyone is probably going to different places, but half the train is riding in tight twos like they’re boarding the Ark.

The other half are all nerds. Once in a great while you will get someone who looks like they spend a little money on their clothes, or like they spend a lot of money on their hair and a lot of thrift store money on their clothes, but mostly it’s just guys and dolls heading in to their jobs. No downtown dicks, just guys with jobs, musicians, playwrights, actors, heading in to the city to get their manpower checks.

I mean, the couples are all nerds too. Everyone is nerds.

I’ve lived here a year now, officially, today. And I am still so in love with the walk around my neighborhood. We seem to be just far enough away from the city that we don’t have that aggressive urban feel, but we still have roaming groups of twelve year olds swearing too loud to prove how tough they are. I live near two basketball courts, one covered with teenagers in baggy baggies, and the other, much nicer, usually abandoned right next to the east river.

There is no urgency here. Old men and young girls stroll around the neighborhood like they are conserving energy. For some reason, almost none of the buildings are higher than two stories. There are some, it can’t be a zoning thing. But there is sky everywhere, trees everywhere.

The afore-mentioned Astoria Park is a perfect example of the whole neighborhood. You can see people sailing and boating down the east river while playing between the huge lawns and ancient overhanging trees. But, they are boating down right under the Troboro bridge, which is suspended over you while you are playing basketball or tennis or running on the track. It isn’t natural, this park, it’s concrete and there are buildings across the way. It’s saying, “Here’s some nature, but don’t lie to yourself, you’re in New York. This is gorgeous, but it’s also packed with people. That’s why they call it Queens, not Queen.”

I always love wherever I am. There is nothing quite like being in Napa Valley at my Dad’s house and I really love visiting my family in Brooklyn because 7th Avenue is just amazing. I also love every second that I am in the city. God, New York City is just the most incredible place on earth, there is no feeling like walking through Manhattan, it’s like Gershwin and Babe Ruth are two blocks ahead of you yelling, ‘Come on, come on, drink down, breathe deep and run, it just gets better!’

But the twenty or so blocks around my apartment right now have everything I could ever want, and if I actually need Taco Bell or a Home Depot, they are five minutes by car. I would love it if the Kew Gardens Movie Theater (a whole blog will be written about that place) and a really great big clean deli were right around the corner. But maybe that would be just too much.

As it is now, without kids and without more concerns, there is no place I would rather be.