i love it here. i hate it here.
[This took me forever to do. Forever, I tell you. So you will click on each of the photo links and then you'll tell me how reading this post was the most riveting experience of your entire life. Or not. But just know that it took me forver.]
Long Island, Long Island, it's a hell of a town, where the prices are up but the crime rate's down...
Forbes Magazine has named Long Island as the safest place to live. Yet out of 150 cities/town, it ranked 142 out of 150 in cost of living, making it one of the most expensive places to live. [via Late Final]
Such is the give and take with this place, which I have come to have an intense love/hate relationship with, a place that I will never, ever leave.
So what keeps me here on Long Island, in a place where I can barely afford to live, where the house we bought one year ago this week cost nearly half a million dollars and sucks us dry with property and school taxes? What keeps me here despite the slow crawl to work - a 12 minute commute turned into a 40 minute nightmare on some days?
I'll tell you. In a photo essay.
First, there's my family. My parents, my sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins. I grew up with my cousins as my best friends, my kids now have the same. A short walk around the block and there are ten kids, all related, ready to play baseball or swimming or just hang out and play video games. It's a benefit that cannot be outweighed by anything, not even rural night skies or wide country lanes or peaceful nights without the honking of horns and the sounds of sirens disturbing the sleep.
It's the four distinct seasons with blizzard-like snowstorms and thunderous summer rains and autumn trees that light the sky on fire. It's the snow days when everyone in town gathers in the same spot and we watch our kidsslide down the same hill that we tumbled down as children. It's the familiar faces at school, the music teacher that has been there since time began, the way the cashier at Burger King remarks on how much your son has grown, the way your neighbors and the local deli clerk and the postman all show up at the funeral of your grandfather.
We are a pleasant drive from the tip of Long Island, where we can see beautiful sunsetsand wave to passing boats. We are ten minutes from the beach, where we can swim in the Atlantic ocean until sunset and watch as the sky turns a hundred shades of beautiful.
Long Island has its own museums, its own places of beauty and reverence, a whole history to explore and nature trails to walk. Aquariums, arboretums, bird sanctuaries and miles and miles of beaches, parks and wood all lay before us.
People stay here. My kids go to school with children of the people I went to school with. This is not a town that people pack up and leave in a hurry when they get married and start families. We are grounded here. We are settlers.
I love it here. I hate thetraffic, I hate the cost of living, I hate the way strip malls have permeated the highways and barely a tree standing. But I love it here.