Over the past couple months, some of my favorite blogs have just up and quit and it's really bummed me out. I know I've been posting very sporadically, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm just being kind of lazy, lately.
I'm still writing two columns a week—here's one featuring a guy who hates capri pants (not an uncommon phenom I've discovered) and another on being a good ex, which was inspired by this this example of a very, very bad ex.
Oh, wait—there's more!
I keep getting these crushes on little towns upstate because my dream is to have a country cottage where I'd spend half the week. First it was Hudson, but then I saw Athens and that town took the #1 spot. Unfortunately, Athens isn't on a train line and seems kind of far.
I kept reading about Newburgh, which is about an hour closer than either of the first two, so when my friend Tricia asked me if I wanted to take a day trip up there while she took down her art show, I jumped at the opportunity. I read this great blog called Newburgh Restoration fairly religiously and was very curious at the glut of gorgeous Victorian homes in the under-100k range. I mean, I can almost afford that!
So we drove up there and quickly realized why the houses are so cheap—it's pretty depressed and has a major crime/gangs problem. I realize it's a scrappy little town, trying to regain its footing, but driving through some of those streets was like happening through a set on The Wire. We were poking around, doing drive-bys of cheap houses I'd found, but what I didn't count on were all the abandoned houses or the hordes of guys hanging out on every other corner. I haven't gotten so much sideeye or seen that much blatent drug activity since the '80s and I'm woman enough to admit that it was pretty intimidating.
This is a house I renamed "We're here, we're queer, we're outta here." And yes, I'm stereotyping because of the lavender trim, though I would've also chosen that color too. It was obviously once lovingly restored, but for whatever reason—and we drove by about 50 good ones—the owners must've high-tailed it out of there and now it's abandoned, like so many other places.
I feel kind of guilty even saying this, but I'm just not tough enough to handle another transitional neighborhood, no matter how affordable. I lived in far East Village for a big part of the crack years, but I was a lot younger and still starry-eyed about living in Manhattan.
And while it pains me to come clean, I will admit it: the combination of gentrification and Brooklyn have turned me into a pussy. I like having food delivered. I enjoy not being accosted every time I leave my house. I love that gunfire is an rare thing that warrants attention.
I remember one night—back in the' 80s, when I was living on 3rd between B & C—hearing a guy shrieking like a cornered cat. After some loud cracking noises, the following silence was eerie, but I didn't call the cops because that kind of shit happened all the time. I found out that the guy I'd heard screaming had been murdered when the cops knocked on the door the next morning. The bangs I'd heard were such an everyday occurrence that it never even occurred to me that they were gunshots. But when an UWS-dwelling boyfriend walked me home one night, he was horrified by the barrage. I assured him they were just firecrackers. He informed me that they absolutely were not. Oh.
There's definitely more to Newburgh than just the abandoned buildings and gangs. There's a thriving artist community, a bunch of beautiful mansions, and a lot of people working very hard to better their city. Unfortunately, I'm just not spunky enough to be one of them.