With the end of the year just a few days away, I thought I'd use this abbreviated week to count (in no particular order) the many reasons I–a former downtowner–love living uptown. Some are personal, some a bit more general–but all are unique to a part of the city that offers so much more than I ever could have imagined.
6. Dirt-cheap fruit and veggie stands
Yes, there are fruit and vegetable stands throughout the city, but not like there are uptown. Here it's hard to walk more than a block down Broadway without running into a dirt-cheap display of fruits and vegetables. It might come from an actual store or just a guy with a van. Either way–ten limes for a dollar, two pineapples for five–the price is always right.
7. Small-town vibes
Harlem in particular is a place where old-timers still say "hello" to each other on the street. And when a longtime neighbor dies, a notice with their name and the date of their funeral is frequently posted throughout the neighborhood. Recently a handwritten note announced that a man nicknamed "Tater" had passed. Only in Harlem. May he rest in peace.
8. Quicker escapes North
My friends who live in Brooklyn and Queens and spend their weekends in the Catskills or the Poconos have to contend with an extra hour of traffic when they'e heading upstate or rural Pennsylvania. Me? I need less than 15 minutes to reach the George Washington Bridge and then I'm on my way.
9. modernism In Our MIDST
Walking up Broadway or Amsterdam in West Harlem, I frequently pass by the Manhattanville Houses and admire the colored panels running up their facades. At an architecture show at Columbia's Wallach Art Gallery this fall I discovered the buildings were designed by none other than modernist architect William Lescaze.
10. LIVING HIGH ABOVE IT ALL
I live at the top of a hill in Hamilton Heights, and though I sometimes sigh as I exit the subway and confront the hill that awaits me at either 145th Street or Hamilton Place (depending on which subway I've come out of), I'm actually thrilled to live in an area where the air feels clearer and the streets never flood.