New York City vs. Chicago

We made it back from New York on Monday and I’ve been very happy puttering about the house and neighborhood for the last couple days, getting myself back on track on the home front.

New York leaves me with conflicted feelings. I love that we got to see all the good friends and family there and eat good food. We wolfed down the food, flavors and ingredients we cannot find in Guadalajara – corned beef and pastrami sandwiches from Katz deli, herring from Russ & Daughters, hole-in-the-wall dim sum in Chinatown, Pakistani food and NY style pizza. We sat around the breakfast table with good people having good conversations. We went to bookstores and stocked up on books in English. It was a great vacation.

But, New York City always leaves me feeling melancholy. The first time it happened I was visiting friends in Brooklyn and I said to my friend Max, “I know they don’t feel sorry for themselves, but I feel sorry for the people who live here.” She responded, “You’re right, they don’t feel sorry for themselves.”

So, this visit I was prepared to like the city. We were staying with family and we had a low-key agenda (books and food, food and books). But still, I can’t shake the feeling. I feel sad in New York. I feel lonely and isolated in the congested city.  I don’t know what it is and have been pondering my reaction for days.

Chicago, on the other hand, was really special and surprising.  We were there last month after our trip to Missouri.  We were shocked by the super-friendly locals, to the point that we considered them somewhat ill or in recovery from the harsh winters.  Over and over again we were treated far nicer than the usual tourists.  A friend tried to confirm our theory with a local and was told it is absolutely not the case.  We still don’t know why they are so happy and friendly.

The food was very good, if you could find the right places.  The Publican, Sweet Maple Cafe and Hopleaf Bar being the stand out favorites.  The architecture was outstanding, we went on three different architecture tours.  There was public art everywhere and it was being used by the public.  The art museum was free on one of the afternoons while we were there and it was packed.  The parks were swamped with people.  We were happy just wandering around the city.

Now, back at home, I’m trying to get the garden back on track and the kitchen back into shape.  Most of the garden survived and we’ve been getting really violent thunderstorms for the last couple nights, so I hope the seedlings can hang on through the wind and hail.  We have visitors already marked on the calendar, but we have no plans for leaving the country for a while now.  It’s good to be home.

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One Response to “New York City vs. Chicago”

  1. Françoise Says:

    I’m not sure that I anderstood all your article as I had no dictionnary, but if we never visit New York, we did it for Chicago and I agree with you, we enjoyed it really !
    Navy pear?? water town etc.. and so good food as well but, I remenber it was .. mexican food and italian’s I think??
    did’nt you go to New York with Emilie when she was losted in “harlem” and saved by a G.I. ??? you had a “rendez-vous” with her no???
    I remenber she phone me crying !! what could I do from France !
    Ha ! les filles !!!!
    Bisous
    Françoise

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