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Wednesday, 02 July 2014

A Week in Manhattan: Part Two

My work at the Consumer Electronics Show for Senior Planet was done on Thursday and I moved from the hotel to stay with friends on the upper west side near 72nd Street.

Barry and Wendl Kornfeld have what is considered a luxury among many middle class residents of Manhattan, a two bedroom, two bath apartment. So, like my home here in Oregon with the same configuration, guests and hosts can comfortably cohabit during a visit without bumping onto one another unless they want to.

On my first day with them, we had lunch at an outdoor restaurant along the nearby Hudson River and then walked the promenade. Wendl took this photo of Barry and me with one of the sculptures installed along the pathway.

Barry and Ronni

You might recall that it was Wendl who reported here for me in April on the start of Dr. Bill Thomas's Second Wind tour to promote his then-new book, Second Wind.

Wendl2014June175 As I explained in the intro to her story, I've known Wendl for going on 40 years – she married the man, Barry, I had lived with for several years in the early 1970s. I don't recall how Wendl and I became friends – it's one of those occurrences that sneaks up on you over time, that someone becomes important without you noticing until it is solid fact.

And a good thing it happened in this case because otherwise I might have lost Barry from my life.

There really is nothing like old friends particularly, I think, once we are old enough for the relationships to be really, really old. There is a great ease that comes with a long shared past, of the many events that don't need explaining woven into the present.

I saw another friend for lunch one day and we just continued the ongoing telephone conversation we have had and continue to have once or twice a week for many years. It was nice to do it in person this time.

On the evening the young woman on the subway gave me her seat (see yesterday for that story), I was on my way to dinner with another set of old friends, Joyce Wadler and Lew Grossberger.

Many of you know Joyce; she writes the delightful I Was Misinformed column at The New York Times.

Lew's latest book, Game of Cohens: A Parody, is available in paper and Kindle editions at Amazon where it is noted that he

"...has written four funny books and approximately umpteen quadzillion articles, parodies and satires for every magazine and newspaper that ever existed. He lives in New York City amid all the pomp and splendor befitting one of his exalted rank."

I've known Joyce and Lew almost as long as Barry and Wendl and we had a fine ol' time catching up and telling stories over a sensational dinner at North Square restaurant next to Washington Square Park in the Village.

Here they are with one of our spectacular desserts.

Lew and Joyce

By then, near the end of my visit, I had admitted to myself that leaving New York was the worst mistake of my life.

If I had put my mind to it eight years ago, there must have been a way I could have stayed. Maybe not living exactly where I wanted or in the perfect circumstances, but it might have been.

What shocks me now is that when I realized I had to sell my apartment, I didn't call a meeting of smart, good friends like Joyce and Lew, Barry and Wendl and a couple of others to help me brainstorm how I might stay. Why did I think I had to do it alone?

At dinner and via email since last week, Joyce – ever the reporter – has given me lists of ideas and places to check out for a possible move to New York or nearby.

Neither of us believes such an idea is anything but a long shot but given the power of my attachment to the city, I can't ignore the yearning. Now that the thought has been raised, I need to investigate it.

If it's not feasible, I will be fine here in Oregon. I've made some friends, I am doing useful, satisfying work for elders in helping to develop a Village and I have always been, if nothing else, good at accepting “what is” when there are not other choices.

Meanwhile, I'm still basking in the glow of a wonderful visit to Manhattan.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Arlene Corwin: Full of Mind


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Adore your honesty and courage to say out loud what people (me, for example) might feel is embarrassing, humiliating, threatening. And while your post "news" is astounding, the message of longing has threaded through TGB posts since moving to Maine. I hope you figure out a comeback, dear Ronni. You have the chops and wisdom to brainstorm with others today even if you didn't before that move. As a longtime follower of Joyce Wadler's terrific writing even before the column you cite, I would entrust to her and the others named and unnamed the powers and wisdom to support whatever your gut reaction-decision will be.

As a recovering "regretter," I have learned that decisions I made and didn't make were, as the cliche goes, the best possible given the data available and who I was or thought I was. And that one can go home again, after a fashion, as you write, "Maybe not living exactly where I wanted or in the perfect circumstances . . .". I've also learned to listen more to my gut than my head, that changing my mind is permissible if not always feasible, and that being present to and fostering what's right and good no matter my environment is key.

You have the right attitude. Be happy and bloom where you are planted. That said, I hope you can get back to NY.


I also didn't think everything through several years ago. I "reacted" while still in a bit of " why is life doing this issue"

Ronni, I hope this works out for you. We all need to follow our dream. My dream was to live where it is green, and it came true.

Is there no way to use your online presence to make this happen? No way to use us to strong-arm a publication into hiring you:)? No Kickstarter fund to initiate? It seems it should be possible.

People who have moved away from New York and don't miss it are those who never took advantage of what the city has to offer. I have spoken to people (especially young people) who have never been to a museum, seen a play, taken a walk in Central park. They have never walked over the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk or eaten a corn beef sandwich at Katz's. Those are the people who usually bash New York and move out.

Try, try, try.

The love you feel for NYC and the longing to be there is so strong that I hope a way becomes possible for you to make it happen.

Even though you are a strong woman and have made the best of your move it is not where your heart is and I wish that you could follow your dream.

I would like to live closer to my children, but California, like New York City, is impossibly expensive so I am having to stay put. I can identify with having to compromise, but at times it's not easy.

Your friends sound like they are very interesting people and old friends are irreplaceable.

With all this push behind you, Ronni, it's not a question of if, but when. Some way or other, you'll get back there, girl.

Ronni, you eloquently reaffirm the hope for and vision of diverse, liberating cities described by Jane Jacobs, Richard Sennett, and others. I share the wish of many of your readers that your future includes more time spent in NYC.

Why is the place you sold still
not occupied (per yesterday's post. Is there some
opportunity there? Perhaps all
of you can put your heads together make magic for you.

I second all the above. There has to be a way!

I hear your desire and a new opening of thought that you are going to explore. "You go for it!" Life is too short to not have our dreams. Never Never Never Give Up!

I too support your decision to try to find a way back to NYC. Let's hope that old chestnut, "Where there's a will, there's a way," proves once again to be true.

Go!

We'll each send you $25 to help defray expenses. (What is your readership? Not just subscribers, but all of us?)

Pare down your belongings. Ask yourself about each piece of furniture, "Can I replace it cheaper (with second- or third-hand) than I can ship it?". The same with wardrobe, books, etc.

Don't live a life of regret any longer. It will bring you down every day. I know.

How exciting! Your NY stories are thrilling to read, the photos are such fun and your desire to go back is exhilarating. Now that the seed is planted you'll find a way. The $25 contribution idea (above) is a good one. We'll help!!

The very first story of mine that you posted, Ronni, was entitled "Another Way". It took me years to figure out another way for my situation, but I did. I know you can figure a way much sooner if that is what you decide to do. Life is too short to let things go that we may actually be able to do something about. I wish you the best as you think this through, but hope that you can keep your blog and storytelling site going! You must do what's best for you no matter what!

Ronni, I feel the angst in your words when you write about NYC. Sometimes when we wish for something, on second look it really wasn’t all that great. Obviously, that is not the case with you and the city. I join the others who would be glad to contribute toward moving expenses or at least a regular return to your spiritual home.

I'm dreaming for you, Ronni - that you can buy back your apartment for pennies on the dollar!

Flexibility is the key to a happy life and you seem to have discovered that.

Years ago I was immersed in boredom when Joyce Wadler's column caught my attention. Her humor, mixed with awareness and sensitivity, was the antidote. Then I stopped reading that section of the paper and forgot. Thanks for the reminder.

I agree with Classof65.

I, too, would have said "bloom where you're planted" after the first six moves of my adult life.

Not anymore.

The seventh move was one too many, the place is awful, and we've been stuck here for seven years.

I do work really, really hard at liking some things about it but hard work--daily--is what it is.

There is no greater wealth than being in the right place!

I read an amazing, inspiring story a few months back in the (ironically) The Oregonian about some Pearl District young folks who had two children but decided they were not leaving the city. They subdivided their tiny condo with furniture from Ikea to create "rooms" to enable them to stay put in the city neighborhood they loved.

Those were some smart kids!

Ronni, are you sure there's no way back? Life is short.

Ronni, you hit a homer with this post.

We all know that you and NYC go together like Ollie and a warm chair.

Explore every single lead no matter how big, small, about going home to your city that never sleeps.

I read your posts daily and report what you write to my DH who thinks you are totally formidable.

Bien oui!

We are both excited for you.

Please don't give up on your dream.

No. Finish. Line.

Ronni, I love your haircut!

As for your longing for NYC, what about crowdfunding???

Wishing you well!

Now you have me curious about why you left NYC in the first place.

Wow - given my comment yesterday I see you were already thinking along those line - don't 'dream' - just create loads of different scenarios until one of them gels - I'm sure it will - you've got all the good luck in the world - you just need to make it work for you!

Paula, last year I was instrumental in convincing my husband to make a move that--in retrospect--maybe we didn't have to make. Our place isn't awful but it's not what I would have chosen either. Finances were--and still would be--a consideration, as they may be for you and others who voted to stay planted. We moved from a new-ish 2BR/2BA townhome to a 55+ manufactured home community. Our home was built in 1977 and, suffice it to say, manufactured home construction has improved since then. However, newly manufactured homes in our area sell for $200-300K+. This one was under $50K. The math worked.

Still, we've had to replace most of the appliances and the (super ugly) laminate flooring, the electrical panel and the water heater. We'd budgeted for many of these expenses, fortunately. What we didn't realize is that there's very little "common area" in these places as far as maintenance goes. We're doing more exterior maintenance/gardening than we ever have--and we're not enthusiastic gardeners, albeit that it's good exercise.

So, do I wish I'd been a little more patient and considered a little longer before we decided to put our attractive, nicely-decorated townhouse on the market and leave neighbors we really like? YES! We felt that we needed a single-story home (this is) and one without a long, slippery-when-icy driveway (this isn't) It doesn't feel like home yet, but we're working on it.

It takes lots of bravery to publicly state a dream like this. Maybe just giving your dream fifteen minutes a day of research and brainstorming will amount to its realization. I think you are going to move back, and I hope you do.

deciding where to live is a challenge I watched my grandparents and parents struggle with. Go for your dream - i know it is possible to be happy where ever you are and I am tickled to know you are just up the road (I live near Clackamas Town Center). That being said, with the joy and delight you have expressed over being in Manhattan, it seems as though your heart and soul soars there and there ought to be a way to work it out.

Okay Ronni, I have stood it for as long as I can. Thought surely someone would have asked by now... unless I missed it.

I am intrigued by the photo on the park bench so I have to ask... Was Barry 'striking a pose', so to speak, mocking the statue or is his position in the photo one of pure coincidence? Surely you can understand why one would be curious! :)

While this was a very nice "Trip to Bountiful", if what you really want is to return permanently, I hope it happens for you.

Lots of pros for moving back to NYC--not so many for staying planted. So. . .I hope you can find a way to live your dream, Ronni. For those of us who need (or choose) to stay planted where we are, with work and a little luck, most likely it will turn out to be O.K.

Alan G...
I couldn't remember if we discussed "posing" with the statue. Barry tells me that was intentional, "something fun to do."

You know, there is probably a better chance that I'd get to see you if you manage to get back to NYC than if you stay in Oregon! Crazy, I know, but it fits how we're living these days.

I write from Whitefish MT on the bookapalooza. We're in a more vacation than a work segment. Interesting living out of a car (comfortably) at 67.

Elizabeth, I hope you're still following this thread. Your description of your move made a powerful impression on me!

My husband's chance for a "retirement career" dictated this move; it just went on (and on and on) longer and for less money than I expected in a place I wouldn't have chosen.

Eventually it will end and I, like you did, will no doubt leap up with "suggestions" on what we should do next. Then, if we choose wrongly, I'll feel "to blame!" This could easily happen.

It sounds to me from your description that you had excellent reasons to do what you did. I well know from experience than tunneling through an endless series of home repairs is no fun, but you do have control of the process (I know new flooring would do a lot for me, superficial as it sounds!) Plus, this move sounds it will literally pay off because you'll have better cash flow long-term as a reward.

If it's any consolation, I used to live in Florida and saw many, many people rip up their lives for much dumber reasons. Typically about three months of playing golf or tooling around in the boat is all it takes for many retirees to start pining for New Jersey. Professional movers even joke about it.

There ought to be much better advice and support for these huge late-life decisions, because they feel so lonely.

Once again, thank you, Ronni, for giving us so much in a single post. I admire your ability to appreciate the good where you are and applaud your condition of a having a goal to work toward - that combo is the ideal place to be at any point in anyone's life.
And I, too, would most happily contribute to Classof65's excellent suggestion. You DO know we would all be simply grateful to give a little back to you who give us so much, always.

From 1996 to 2003 I lived in "miserable NJ" after having lived in midtown Manhattan for 30 years. In 2003 I moved back to Manhattan to Inwood where my landlord has been the best and my neighbors have been beyond imagining -- as in great!

I bet you can do it -- move back to Manhattan -- think Inwood or perhaps Riverdale (but Inwood is better).

Not cheap but doable and absolutely WORTH IT!!!

Wishing you only the best!

Angelina Hunter

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