bright lights, big city

Home in the city, second from the left.

A recent day trip to New York city had me reflect on how my family’s lives have changed in two years. In 2009, my husband and I committed to life as city dwellers with purchase of our first home. And, at the time, it seemed like the right choice.

City newbies, 2005

After all, we had both moved there to attend graduate school; where we met.  We made it through the awkward years of finding our footing in the ever-vibrant, ever-moving bright lights, big city. We schlepped our way uptown to school spending many-a-hours researching and writing in the library (me), painting and sculpting in the studio (him), presenting and testing in the classroom (both of us). We came home at odd hours from different jobs that just paid the bills. After scraping the remainder of our funds together, we would commiserate with our friends over drinks, bar and art opening hopping through the city. We lived these years in not-so-great railroad apartments and then in a loft apartment, our first feels-like-home-place together, which gave us great memories.

Our loft apartment in Brooklyn. I loved living here and felt like a true New Yorker in this place.

And then, New York city took hold of us.  We found jobs in the art industry that eventually became careers.  We weren’t just making ends meet.  We got married. We grew up.  Careers, interests, and friends had us firmly planted in the city so we took the leap and bought a home in the city.

We had a view of the Manhattan skyline from the rooftop of the home we purchased in 2009.

Fast forward a few years with the birth of our first daughter in 2011, and like countless of other die-hard city dwellers, our love of city living faded.  Outings had become a whole lot more involved. We would head out, bags packed with baby paraphernalia. Those bags hanging from a stroller also laden with baby, which we then had to lug up and down crowded subway steps. We would arrive exhausted before we even queued up to buy tickets to the new art exhibition we wanted to see.

My husband and I had also grown weary of the city’s hurried pace and increasingly spoke of the need to trade in the cacophonous buzz of the city streets for the buzz of bees, rustling leaves, and trees blowing in the wind.  And we had come to the realization that we wanted our daughter to grow up in a less (much less) frenetic place.

Our current view from our window.

And so, with great effort (it wasn’t easy to make this happen–another story for another time perhaps), we left the city for life in the mountains. With all that said, we still love New York city and remain connected.  My husband makes the trek into town for his career and my daughters and I will take day trips in as often as we can. Refreshed from our daily living in the country, we are not daunted by the the hurried city pace anymore. My oldest daughter gets giddy over the idea of these special days—to ride subways, walk city blocks adorned with graffiti walls, visit galleries, swoosh down the slide at the old neighborhood playground, drop in for an “espresso” with Daddy at his work and best of all to see old friends.

We may no longer be city dwellers but we didn’t leave New York city. In truth, I don’t think we could ever leave her. Her lights shine too bright.


Author: daughtersbarrow

raising two daughters in the beauty of the hudson valley

5 thoughts on “bright lights, big city”

  1. In our culture we like to think in terms of winners and losers. If you do this you win, if you do that you lose. We can apply this to the plans and decisions we make as well. Tomorrow I am going to do this. If it happens I win, if not, well my plans fell through. This is why I love the word you use “reflect”. To me it implies, insight and perhaps wisdom too. Yes, the decision you made to move to the Hudson Valley may have been a change from the original plan but it also seems to incorporate a bigger picture and a better purpose. Thanks for letting us reflect with you. Love ya, M

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  2. Ahh… I am happy to say I watched all of this blossom before my eyes… I was and have been & continue to be fortunate to participate here & there in the life of the little Barrow family… and I am blessed and have enjoyed it all!! Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your journey! xoxo.. Mom

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  3. Beautiful reflection on your wonderfully full 13 years together…you have both accomplished so much…I recall our first visits to all your homes….I remember being intrigued and simply impressed by life in the Big City…walking for miles with you….getting a feel of your day to day lives…and then when we saw Evermore for that first time, Quinn picking me flowers from your Granite mountain, you said that you both had felt like you had found your souls…you now have the best of both worlds…and Quinn clearly has fond memories of her first 3 years in the City…la dolce vite in the Hudson Valley! Xoxox T.

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