leaving the west village

This is my last week working in the west village. Next week, I will be on vacation, and when I come back I will commute to my new office (cube) in the financial district.

At first, I didn't mind the idea of this move. The commute will be exactly the same amount of time for me. Our office space here is pretty dingy and old, while the new space is being renovated right now. There are more lunch places close to the building there than there are in our current spot. The building is extremely close to the World Trade Center site, which I see as mainly a positive thing.

But that's not enough. I am losing the best part about my job with this move: the neighborhood. I loved living in the village and I was sad to leave and move to Jersey City. Continuing to work in the west village allowed me to keep my ties with that part of the city. I feel at home there. I have favorite restaurants and shops there, I have favorite streets to walk on. There, you can find everything from vintage shops and dingy basement record stores to upscale boutiques. Everything from dive bars to fine restaurants.

Across the street from my office building is a fenced-in park, next door to a school. Kids have been at summer camp there for the last several weeks, and when I go outside I can watch them playing basketball or soccer, or playing in the sprinkler and on the slip-n-slide. They shout and laugh and it gives life to the neighborhood. A few blocks up the street is a garden, attached to a church and hidden behind a brick wall. Inside, it is beautiful, with small paths between the bushes and flowers, and benches around every turn.

Every morning when I exit the PATH train, there are no crowds of people. I, along with the few other people getting off there, climb the four flights of stairs up out of the station and walk to work. But first, I am greeted with a fist bump and a cheerful good morning from Earl Jones, the station attendant. He knows me by name and he's genuine when he wishes me a good day.

Less than two weeks from now, I will join the masses commuting to the financial district. I'll jam into the train with the crowds, shove my way out of the train with the crowds, fight my way up one of the eight long escalators with the crowds, and funnel out into the street to get to my building. Nothing will be personal or individual or unique.

Maybe I'll find out that I'm wrong. I hope that neighborhood, too, has its own quirks and charm about it that I'll come to love. But right now, it feels like I'm losing my home, my heart, in the city.


maresi said...

Your affection for the Village was evident as you briefly showed us around in January. I hope you'll be able to carve out a little bit of home and familiarity when your office moves...

Anonymous said...

I hear that Downtown has even MORE Cimex lectularius than the West Village down.

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