Sometime last year I read an article about how the last place people think to explore is their very own backyard. Well, not their actual backyard… their neighborhood, which is lucky for me because sadly, I don’t have a backyard.
It’s somehow been scientifically proven that people take their hometown for granted. Until forced with weekend guests or a big move, we figure the planetarium or the local lake with a great spot for canoeing or that brunch place tourists wait an hour to enjoy will always just… be there.
Living in New York City, there are a whole host of ‘backyard’ sites that I’m blessed to take for granted on a daily basis. I see the Empire State Building all lit up in its color du jour whenever I push past tourists on our street. Taking the subway out to my nearest Target, I ride, sardined between two people who invariably don’t believe in deodorant, right alongside the Brooklyn Bridge. I get to step brusquely around random people trying to sell me on carriage rides in Central Park when I stop by Mr. M’s office.
But the other day had me thinking. (Does the onset of fall weather do that to anyone else? Make you contemplative & musing? Like you need to wear tweed jackets with elbow patches and just… ponder things… over a mug of tea?) Autumn or no, I really want to appreciate the astounding scenery that I’m lucky enough to take in Every Single Day.
Because Manhattan-as-Backyard is a bit overwhelming, I decided to start with my own little neighborhood. The streets that Charlie Mae & I walk each day… past Mr. M & my favorite restaurants and our little corner market (which, sadly, is far too expensive for me to shop at regularly, as quaint and lovely as it sounds).
So Mr. M & Charlie & I went out one Sunday afternoon with the sole purpose of Appreciating & Documenting Our Neighborhood. It was serious business. With a planned coffee break.
Midway through, we stopped for iced coffee (the finest of the food groups) at Bowery Coffee, which is one of my absolute favorite places because everyone with whom I come into contact is unbelievably friendly- and unrelatedly, covered in tattoos.
Plus, they have almond milk. It reminds me of home in California. :) But slap my wrist! This is not the point of Neighborhood Appreciation Walks.
We had such a fantastic time meandering with camera through our adopted homeland that Mr. M & I resolved to take Neighborhood Appreciation walks much more frequently. I shall wanderlust for my own city… especially on those days when I’m staring out the window, wishing I were sailing away to some exotic & exciting foreign destination. I shall remember that I now have Neighborhood Pride… especially when I get momentarily ruffled by bus-loads of tourists blocking the sidewalk and (rightly) gawking at the wonders around us.
There’s something to be said for searching out the wonders hiding in your own backyard.