It is no secret that I love living on the Upper East Side.
I lived in Tribeca for a long time, and I loved it, but I was not the typical Tribecan. For one, I was not pushing a Bugaboo, in my skinny jeans, while swaddled in a cashmere sweater-wrap; blonde hair in a ponytail; Tory Burch flats; and big sunglasses.
Okay. I was not pushing a Bugaboo.
Downtown has become notoriously family friendly. Football pitches, and baseball fields, and sparkling clean bike trails along the Hudson; kids-only parks; angry NO DOGS signs everywhere. As if dog shit were the scourge that had once been the tipping point–as if dogs had once brought violent crime and drugs and the homeless…and if we just kept the dogs out of our parks and shit off our streets, we’d keep our children safe.
It’s funny to me, sometimes, the strange things that people think.
Like vaccinating our kids. People say: I’m going to not give my kid his MMR vaccine because I don’t want him to get autism, on my (unproven) assumption that the vaccine may harm him…but instead, I’m going to permit him to infect 50 people with measles.
And instead, it may have never occured to them that autism rates are rising because we have better diagnostic tools to detect it, not that the actual rates of the disorder are rising.
Anyway. I left Tribeca, eventually. In no small part because of the NO DOGS signs, and the Bugaboos, and the prospect of measles, mumps and rubella.
I suppose it reminded me of my own waning fertility.
And I moved to the Upper East Side, where girls like me are a dime a dozen. Where people marry late; or get divorced young. Where quirky old ladies linger in the lobby of my building and flirt with the doorman; who tell me that I shouldn’t go out without a coat. Where the deco designs on the elevator doors greet me when I come into the building and remind me that I have come home.
I like the old people; I like the quirk and the bustle on the streets. I like the prepsters and the way that it reminds me of the people who moved uptown from Georgetown. (It seems almost unfathomably weird that I am one of those people too…)
I like feeling normal; like the Upper East Side is not insecure about its station in life or its position in the City. It makes me feel secure–like it couldn’t give a hang about upward mobility. Like it doesn’t need to post meaningless signs in order to maintain its position.
There is something greater I need to draw from that, I’ve realized, something I’ve been searching for, something I’ve been missing. It has made me realize that throwing up meaningless barriers and signals isn’t going to maintain my position any better than I’m able to by simply being…myself.