Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Contrasts: The Island and the City

The sun shines on the calm, still Bay outside my bedroom window, the water sapphire blue and dotted with little white sails. It's spring, and the blossom is all out - cherry trees shimmer with vibrant pink, wisteria hangs pale purple on brick walls, azaleas light up green gardens with a splash of colour. There are ducks, geese, swans and herons with yards of our street; we saw a turtle in the duckpond the other day. It's beautiful, tranquil, a picture-perfect suburban town.

By day, schoolbuses and minivans full of Moms and kids roam the streets; by night, it's quieter, with only the odd car, skulking raccoons and, occasionally, the peace shattered by a siren and a fire truck. Restaurants close early; the one decent bar in town is only busy on weekend nights in the summer. On Saturday mornings, children play sports on the field by the bay, their parents sitting on the bleachers with cups of coffee cheering them on, wearing sensible jeans and sneakers. These are the sights and sounds of where I live.

Just 14 miles away as the crow flies, Manhattan rises from the ground like a series of spikes on the horizon. The buildings glint in the sunlight; the streets are dark beneath the skyscrapers. It's dirty, dusty, bustling with people. In Times Square, you can't hear birdsong, or see any wildlife (other than the people dressed in Elmo and Cookie Monster costumes). Yet it hums with energy, brims with life. You see glamorous women in heels and the latest fashions; transvestites crossing the street; hundreds of tourists with cameras. Everyone walks fast, and everyone's busy.

Going into the city, you are struck by the contrast with the quiet town you live in and wonder if perhaps your life has become just a tiny bit boring. But coming back on the Long Island Railroad, you appreciate the peace.

The island, and the city. This what I like about where I live. And I believe it is very unique.

This post was prompted by Michelloui at The American Resident, who has started a weekly "Where I live" series, for expats, and others who want to join in.

10 comments:

Iota said...

Lovely!

About Last Weekend said...

Think this would be a great beginning to a mystery novel!
"By day, schoolbuses and minivans full of Moms and kids roam the streets; by night, it's quieter, with only the odd car, skulking raccoons"
Or a zombie movie! Sky's the limit!

Melissa said...

That's what I love about New York too. Completely see the joys of both worlds - my situation is not dissimilar

nappy valley girl said...

ALW - love the zombie movie idea. Actually it did feel like that after Hurricane Sandy...

Nota Bene said...

Terrific piece of writing...really super!

asturiandiary said...

Lovely post. I was lucky enough to stay at a friend's beach house on Long Island one year whilst I was holidaying in New York. What a killer combo - the bright lights of Manhattan followed by the rustic, wind-swept chilling of Long Island. You lucky thing!

Mari's World said...

Sitting here in North Kent on a cold and windy day reading of racoons, turtles in the pond and heron makes me want to be where you are
Peace!

Helen said...

How brave to make such a big move. if i could choose i think i would prefer the peace of the island rather than the city that picture over the water just soothes my heart it is so calming.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

I've never been to your part of the world, apart from passing through JFK, and yet in these few paragraphs you've really given me a clear image of the setting, the geography. This is beautiful, effective writing. Thank you for joining in with the Linky! x

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