The City · The Home

Staaten of the Staten

I spent my entire life wanting and waiting and trying to get to New York City. I resolved only to live in Manhattan – until I fell in love with a Brooklyn boy, married him, and then stayed in love with Brooklyn itself even after my marriage ended. I vowed never to leave Brooklyn – until the man I loved moved to Staten Island. His daughter is autistic. There is a large community of support for autistic young adults on Staten Island. So here we are, in the yellow house.

And I like it here. We have a large untamed yard that will be landscaped into submission this spring. We make our own wine in the basement. Bernardo cooks. (Sometimes I cook.) I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and train with Gus. There is entirely too much laundry.

Staten Island is good for thinking. Lots of yards and trees and sidewalks – good for taking long walks. It’s also good for eating – the population is roughly 40% Italian, and while we certainly have our share of red gravy joints, we also have delicate fresh mozzarella, fresh-caught fish, and gorgeous produce. They know from homemade pasta here. Our neighborhood is largely retired police, firefighters, civil servants, lawyers. The second largest demographic is Irish – at 20% – and we have five women on our block alone named Maureen. Bernardo calls them “the United States Maureens”.

The harbor is probably the most compelling place on the island. I grew up near the sea. To watch these enormous ships come in with containers filled with cars and other gigantic cargo is just awe-inspiring. Occasionally at South Beach we see cruise ships heading out – to the Caribbean, mostly. The slow but deliberate, regal way these ships move  – it stops me in my tracks every time I see one. I love living on an island – I love the fog rolling in and the foghorns blaring at night.


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