So my entire life I have always thought that New York was the place to be. I was born in Brooklyn but shortly after that my parents made the decision to move to Long island. Still my earliest memories are of my mom taking us a few days a week on the Belt Parkway all the way back to her beloved New York borough.
She loved it and what was not to love.
You had stoopball, candy (cigar) stores on every block, an ice cream truck that for some reason still came around at 10 PM and trains that freaking ran on tracks two stories in the air.
Around the age of six my mom finally accepted that she didn’t live in Brooklyn (well that, and I actually had to go to school or she broke up with her boyfriend on the side) and we started spending most of our time in our actual hometown of Elmont on the border of Long Island and Queens.
I had such great memories of Elmont. My block was home to at least twenty kids ranging in age from four to fourteen. We would leave the house at 10 AM and not come back until 10 PM covered in scratches, dirty knees and a vocabulary full of words that usually led to being punished.
As far as the town went, it was a fun mix of cultures but skewed heavily Italian. I remember on melting pot day where we were supposed to bring in different decorations celebrating our ethnic backgrounds the fair in the gym looked like a bingo game at the San Genarro festival.
When I was in sixth grade we moved about five miles away to Garden City, which was definitely an acquired taste. First off, being one of the few Italians in this town I realized pretty quickly that holy crap I’m short. I literally had no idea.
I would go on to spend the rest of my childhood, through high school years there and it ended up actually being pretty awesome. On top of meeting some really great people, we had Roosevelt Field Mall right there IN our town, there was a really cool main street (called 7th Street) we would all hang out at and Garden City had a serious underage drinking problem so there was always something fun to do on the weekends.
I went on to graduate from garden City High School and spent four years at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I didn’t know it at the time but those would be some of the best years of my life and I learned how to say the letter “r” so it was a bonus.
Anyway, like a true New York Italian I ended up moving back to Garden City later in life…in my parents’ basement. And when I settled down with my wife Jen and our two daughters I moved a whole three miles from my parents’ house, in you guessed it, Garden City.
So there you have it New York, through and through.