a blog written by Brandon Mowat

Something About New York

Ramblings from my first week living in the city

Tue Sep 06 2022

Over the past week, I've been living in New York: walking; shopping in SoHo; eating and drinking at great neighbourhood restaurants; running across the bridge into Manhattan; taking photos; spending time with friends – all the things that constitute actually living in a place and being part of a community. The city has a remarkably different life than other North American cities, especially the city I'm most familiar with: Toronto.

Simple Goods, on Bedford Street, Brooklyn NY

Walking the streets of Williamsburg and Greenwich Village, I feel whole. I see so many of the qualities of places that are living as Taylor and I wander the short blocks, each lined with everything that a community needs: a coffee shop; a bar; a couple restaurants of varying cuisines; a grocery store; a deli; and so much more. Each of which is no larger than it needs to be so that it doesn't dwarf the block and allows other supporting businesses to prosper.

Although some of the most valuable real-estate in the world, it somehow remains unpretentious.

The public spaces are occupied by the demographics of the neighbourhood and being used to their full potential. The sidewalks are used for walking, but also as gathering places for it's residents; people sitting on folding chairs, laughing and singing into the night while pedestrians stroll around or through, whatever their preference. All of which is socially acceptable and contributes to creating a safe and lively place.

It's only been a week, but it already feels like home. The baristas at the cafe that occupies the corner on the ground floor of the 4 story apartment building that we're staying at, already recognize us. And the man who works at the deli across the street, who feeds me B.E.C.'s (Bacon, Egg, and Cheese) after my weekend runs, laughs with Taylor when she makes jokes at my expense but I find equally as funny, while we wait in line. Little things like this make a place feel whole, the absence of which make a place feel cold and uninviting.

New York is a beautiful place in it's own way. It's certainly not for everyone, but there is life in this city for many reasons. It's zoned and planned in such a way that it supports it's residents by providing lots of public space, opportunities, experiences, and conveniences. And it is reciprocally supported by it's people in a mutually beneficial relationship. The people spend their money locally, participate in activities that bring people together, and spend their time outside to keep the streets inviting and safe.

If we never come back, you know why β˜ΊοΈπŸ—½

Manhattan from Williamsburg

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Written by Brandon Mowat
building useful things at Ada, in the city of Toronto

made from scratch