December 30, 2015

Movin' On - 2016

New beginnings, New Year... 2016! Woo hoo - I'm looking forward to it and I don't regret 2015 or say that next year has gotta be better! Really? Are ya kidding' me? Ya never know what tomorrow will bring and that's why I'm so grateful for the past year as I reflect on it. And as you all know I can reflect just a little too much.


It was another year of life and all that it brings... the joys, the sorrows and everything that falls somewhere in between. The pee in your pants good times, the panic attacks that feel like they're never gonna end, even just playing video games on the toilet in the morning! The exhilaration of almost signing the contract on your New York apartment and the devastation when you see it in person and you cancel the deal. The relief you feel when you go to yet another specialist who confirms that there's nothing seriously wrong with you and the sadness you feel knowing that your mother is not gonna be with you for the Holidays and never will be again.

But this is life and it's full of everything! How wonderful is that? Without the bad you wouldn't know the good. It's the yin and yang thing, like my pal Liza sings "But The World Goes Round". So your year sucked? Sorry to hear if it did, but this is life and it ain't perfect. As for me I'm still glad I'm part of it. I will continue to embrace it and feel and question and I thank God I can still complain and rejoice about the whole damn thing.

Thank you 2015, Happy New Year or as Kay Thompson would say Happy "Everything" darling!

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November 19, 2015

Cobblestone Community ~ My NYC

What most people don't know about NYC is that it ain't all about skyscrapers, bright lights and Disneyfied gentrification. New York is made up of many communities, neighborhoods and landmarked areas. It's still the "melting pot" and that's one of the many things I love about NY... a little something for everyone.


Stereotypes suck and it's a shame that a lot of people still think of New Yorkers as rude and unfriendly people. That's so untrue because New Yorkers are the first to give directions when you're lost. They stick together when disasters strike and will speak out for a cause.

I'm proud to be part of the #SaveGansevoort group trying to preserve the challenged landmark areas of NY. One of the last frontiers battling with yet another money hungry landlord is Gansevoort Street. We're trying to keep one of the few remaining blocks low-rise, retaining its original character. I'm lucky enough to remember when the Meatpacking District was full of character! There wasn't a hint of the bridge and tunnel "hipsters" glued to their cell phones googling the next hot spot. They're oblivious to the landmarked areas they're walking thru taking their umpteenth selfie... unless of course their Manolo Blahniks get stuck in the iconic cobblestone streets.


Where have all the real club kids gone? The ones who dangerously ventured to the after hour clubs in the Meatpacking District? Where have the trannies gone that walked around until the early morning hours as the meats were being delivered by the truckers? Who remembers The Mineshaft, Florent, the Piers, Hogs & Heifers or J's? Does anyone remember the smell of raw meat and the sight of blood being hosed down the cobblestones? I remember...


Change is good (usually) but for me what I love about New York is the dedication of a community sticking together trying to preserve a little of the "Old New York". I only hope our future generations will be able to see that history does matter and that landmarks will still be around for them to enjoy.

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October 1, 2015

Whose Bed Is It Anyway?

My blog is called nyc2suburbia (sometimes I enjoy stating the obvious). I'm a native New Yorker that moved to Suburbia in Northern California. There were many reasons why I made that decision at the time, it all seemed good on paper, but it was the wrong decision for me. It was one of the things that I did in my life that I regret. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know everything happens for a reason... bullshit! It was an emotional decision and I'll never make another big decision like that based on my emotions. My inner self knew better, but I ignored my natural intuition.


The point to this post is that I travel back and forth to NYC a lot. I do this for my sanity, but since Mama passed, I realize more than ever that I gotta move back "home". I've made many trips apartment searching and I've come close so many times but always get a "NO". It's so frustrating that I'm almost ready to give up the search for a studio apartment in NY! How's this for a great pitch for a new HGTV show... create a show with average people searching for a studio apartment in the city. We all don't have an unlimited budget with a million things on the checklist. Some of us can even live without that indoor swimming pool or that fourth bedroom used only on the annual family holiday get together. Bitter, not really... pissed, you bet your ass!


I'm on a plane again exhausted and not in a great mood. It's been another challenging trip of hearing "no, no, no" in NY from agents, landlords and God (better known as "The Board" in Co-op buildings). I'm feeling defeated, down and depressed on my flight back to the land of eternal highways in Suburbia. I'm able to meditate and finally doze off for awhile with a little help from some Xanax. Suddenly there's some turbulence and I wake up not knowing where the hell I was going... New York? Suburbia? Which friends apartment was I going to or coming from? Was I going home? Where the hell is home anyway? Whose bed am I in now?


Pheww, it took me a few minutes to get my shit together... breathe... think good thoughts... try to relax again. I thank God and American Airlines for all the reward miles that allow me to travel. But my frequent flyer mileage account is running low (along with my patience) and I fear the welcome mats at my friends are probably wearing thin. Relaxed, I fall back to sleep one more time and dream that I'm on that new HGTV! You know, the one about an average guy finding his simple NY studio and getting his dream of moving back home. Fadeout yellow brick road... "Oh Auntie Em"!

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September 14, 2015

Moving On - My Suburbia , My NYC

There are many levels of letting go and I thought at this point that I went through most of them. But I realize that I'm the kind of person that holds onto "things" for way too long. Not only do I hold on to physical things (I still have my high school gym shorts and yes, I still fit into them), I hold on to my feelings (sometimes I can't let things go - I can forgive, but I never forget) and I hold on to my memories. I've talked about this with my therapist (big shocker) and thought maybe this could be connected to my mother's Alzheimer's and my fear of getting it.


I've been trying to reach another level of "letting go" as I continue to "move on", but it ain't easy. Since I've been relentlessly working to move back home to NYC, I've realized I can't bring back all of my stuff. My boxes, my "things" are filled with feelings and memories. The reality is that space in NYC is smaller and I need to let go. All this "stuff" is holding me back... WTF? I thought nothing can hold me back.


When I moved to Suburbia I brought all of my NYC stuff with me. Everything I had in storage, all of my things, all of my feelings, all of my memories, all of my expectations... all of what I thought was me! I didn't "let go". Maybe that's why it's been such a tough transition, I never let go. (Wow I've reached an Oprah "A-Ha" moment)!

For me, it's natural to hold on and to not let go. But hopefully I can pack my memories with me and move forward and let go keeping my NYC and my Suburbia. And maybe, just maybe I can leave some excess baggage behind and finally let go by just being me!


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July 31, 2015

Not Just Another Day at the Beach - My Suburbia

There's been a major heatwave going on in Northern California. Being a New Yorker I'm familiar with heat and humidity but I always had air conditioning. It just ain't that way here in Suburbia - no A/C!

For a change of pace and to beat the heat I decided to go to the beach... ya know "When in Rome". Most Easterners think California is all about the beaches - I certainly did! But when I moved out here, I found out "It Ain't Necessarily So" at least not in Northern California. I've only been to one beach in the last few years so I was really looking forward to my beach outing.


As I drove closer to the beach I noticed something dark lurking ahead. It was the infamous San Francisco fog starting to roll in. It wasn't gonna "Rain on My Parade", but it certainly looked like "A Foggy Day in London Town" on my beach day! Humph! I was determined to enjoy this damn California beach, that's one of the reasons why I moved here! I was gonna lay out, chill out, cool off and get some sunshine trying to be in the moment (a very challenging thing for me to do). I was planning on letting go of my thoughts and nonstop frustrating work of trying to find an apartment in NYC for the last year or so. I was gonna relax, damn it and have one of those classic California beach days.

I made my way to the parking lot and realized I was doomed... there was no sun to be found. In fact after getting out of the car, I didn't need to put on my bathing suit but I needed a jacket! WTF? On the bright side (no pun intended) the temperature was much cooler and I got some good photos walking along the brown sandy beach. It wasn't like any of my white sandy beaches back East - Jones Beach, Rye Beach, Orchard Beach or even Cape Cod. But what the hell, it was another experience in "My Suburbia".

After leaving the beach, I found the sun was still out as I continued my drive back North. Oy! Is this Kharma? When I got home the sun was still beating down on my roof and my apartment was hotter than a NY Subway platform. BTW, that is as close to Hell as you can get! Then I took a moment and remembered that at least I got to see a few surfer boys get in and out of their wetsuits in the parking lot. Hmmmm... so maybe it wasn't just another day at the beach, but it was mine and the heatwave continues.

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June 25, 2015

"I Identify As ..." - My NY

Around most of the world, June is Gay Pride Month. Pride includes almost everyone these days. It may have started as Gay Pride, but now it's an all inclusive range of "identities" spanning the entire alphabet.

Stonewall Rally NYC 

This year with all that's been happening in the Media, the new buzz phrase is "I identify as..." I identify as this, I identify as that. Just because I identify with a particular group or person, does that make me that person too? This entire concept is so trippy that I can't seem to wrap my liberal mind around it.
Caitlyn Jenner

You know what? I always identified with everyone and I still do. That was one of the great things about growing up in New York! It was the proverbial melting pot. But does "identifying" make me less of what I am and more of what everybody else is? This gets even more weird and that's coming from me! 

In high school I identified with the Blacks and Puerto Rican, but I wasn't Black or Puerto Rican. I identified as an Italian American (guilty) a Nerd (sometimes), a Cool Kid (of course), a Stoner (no comment). I never identified as a Jock,  I just wanted them because they were the hotties! And Cheerleaders, who didn't wanna be a cheerleader? I identified with all these but I was still me. Isn't that what it really comes down to, just being yourself?
Rachel Dolezal

So yeah, yeah I identify as everyone, so maybe I'm no one. But what really drives me crazy is all this PC BS! Just say it like you feel it, approval can come at a price and I ain't buying it. 

Happy Gay Pride to all! Happy Alphabet Pride aka LGBTQIA... pick a letter, any letter at all. Thank you Vanna White. This Pride let's keep it real, be ourselves and let's just be proud. Identify yourself as happy and remember that the rest is all just a bunch of letters and you can always buy another vowel.


nyc2suburbia Pride NYC

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May 31, 2015

Summer in the City - My NY

It's "officially" Summertime and I can't help but think about what Summer was like for me growing up in New York. As far back as I can remember I would escape to the roof in the Summertime, it was my retreat. My first recollection was when I learned how to roller skate on our roof in the Bronx. I learned to roller-skate almost before I could walk. Yeah it's true, at least that was what my mother told me.


As a teenager, going up to the roof was a time for me and my dreams. A time when I could hang out with friends or just be by myself sunbathing on "tar beach" slathered in baby oil and iodine for hours (who knew back then)! I felt like like I was sitting on top of the world loving the view, playing my guitar and always singing.


I'd stare off and look towards the City (aka "The Land of Oz" for me). I was sure from an early age that Manhattan is where I wanted to move "when I grew up". I was in my own world on the roof and knew that my dream of living in NYC would one day come true.


Years later, it happened! I moved into my first Manhattan studio apartment after returning from touring with "Hair" (the Broadway musical) and I've never been the same. I was bitten by the "show biz bug" and the "NYC bug" as a kid. I'm convinced it happened on one of those sunny, humid, mellow days while I was daydreaming up on the roof of a five floor walk up in the Bronx. Ah Summertime!

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May 1, 2015

Street Talk- My NY

Waiting on a subway platform in NYC, I notice that almost everybody is on their phones. I was just about to check mine when I decided to stop, watch and listen to the people around me... at least the few that weren't "connected." I overheard this conversation between two friends. It went something like this...



Dwayne: Yo Angel, listen to me. Ya know what I'm sayin', right? Ya know what I'm sayin'? 


Angel: No,  Dwayne, I don't have any idea what the hell you are talking about!


Dwayne: Ahh, come on. You're messing' wit me. Ya know what I'm sayin', don't ya?


Angel: Ya know Angel, I can't understand what the f*ck you're saying and you think I know what you mean? 


Dwayne: Man, you got an attitude today.


Angel: An attitude? Why don't you just try to use words when you speak, try using full sentences. You know what they are don't ya? They got nouns and verbs in them, they usually have a point.


Dwayne: A point? Oh shit, forget it! Ya don't know what I'm saying. You don't even know me anymore.


Angel: I guess not cause you don't even try to understand what I'm trying to say when I speak to you!


Dwayne: Exactly, that's what I'm sayin'. That's why we get along so well, we so different.


Angel: So now we get along? I'm really confused, let's forget it. You don't know what I'm saying! You don't know.


Dwayne: I KNOW exactly what you're saying. Ya know what I'm sayin'?


Angel: Yeah, I know what you're saying. Sorry, it was just a rough day for me.


Dwayne: Word! See... ya know what I'm sayin'.


Sometimes being "connected" is overrated and we just gotta stop and listen to each other. Just like I did on the subway platform... Ya know what I'm saying?



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February 28, 2015

Singing For My Supper - My NY

I have so many memories and reasons of why I love my New York and of what it means to me. It's not just the bright lights, Broadway, limitless restaurants or the late night mentality. Even though I love all that, for me New York is my history and made me what I am today.

Growing up in The Bronx there were singers that would visit the apartment buildings and serenade in the courtyards. In my neighborhood, they would usually sing in Italian and people would throw change to them from their windows or come down and give them money for singing.

Being a precocious child I wanted to do this too! I wanted to get the attention, the applause... okay I wanted the money. After all, I sang along to Judy Garland and I was damn good. Who the hell wanted to hear some old man sing Italian songs? I was the real deal, I could entertain! So I decided that the next time one of the singers would start to sing their songs, this fat, little Italian boy would belt out some Judy tunes. I went out in the hallway and sang at the top of my lungs. It didn't take me long to figure out this wasn't my audience cause I didn't even get a dime. Nevertheless I wouldn't give up and I continued to do this for a few weeks. I finally realized that all I ever got from this gig was a good dinner from my mother. She was either my biggest fan or she just wanted me to shut up. Maybe I was just singing for my supper after all, but it was damn good and that's my New York.

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February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Gay

Believe it or not Gay is not just about rainbows. As a Gay man I'm tired of all this rainbow BS and to quote Judy Garland "I've got rainbows coming out of my ass." There are many shades of being Gay. We are no longer "Gay",  "Lesbian", "Bisexual" or "Transsexual" aka GLBT. Oh no, we've come along way... we now have almost the entire alphabet attached to our former four shades of Gay. We are as of now, LGBTQIA and I'm sure more letters will soon be added.


Growing up in NYC (the center of the Universe) most of what I knew about being "Gay" was what was in the media. I knew there were drag queens, leather daddies, dykes on bikes along with many closet cases. And this was in NYC... I could only imagine what a Gay child knew of Gay culture out in Suburbia! I never really thought about coming "out".  When I was a teenager and my father repeatedly asked me why I didn't date girls I finally told him "some guys don't date girls, so please don't ask me again" (pretty ballsy for a sixteen year old). I was just me and wanted to be loved for being me! I was bullied back in the day, that's just how it was. But it wasn't an "issue", there were always bullies. You didn't have to be Gay to be bullied. There were many shades of being bullied.


Unfortunately not much has changed. Whenever there is representation of the Gay community the media is still compelled to show the drag queens, leather daddies and dykes on bikes. Once again that's what sells and many people still have the need to cling to those stereotypes. I'd like to say there are fifty shades of Gay - but that doesn't even come close! So maybe there is a rainbow full of Gay and way more than fifty shades of grey.

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February 1, 2015

Who Said You Can Never Go Home?

My love of NYC started at an early age. On one of my first subway rides, I did what many people do... I got off at the wrong stop. I slowly started to explore the neighborhood and find my sense of direction, who am I kidding? I never had a good sense of direction. I walked around for awhile and found out that I was in the West Village. OMG, my life changed and I was truly "home". I felt just like Dorothy when she landed over the rainbow and opened her door to a technicolor world.

Grant it I'm a native New Yorker and have always loved the diversity of it, but this brought diversity to a new level for me. Gays and artists and hipsters, oh my! Every street I stumbled upon was magical. I met lots of local characters and window-shopped at little stores filled with things I'd never seen before. And then there was the variety of restaurants with their mouthwatering aromas. I didn't know what half of them were, but I wanted to try them all! I was in heaven when reality set in and it was time to head back uptown to the Bronx for dinner. As soon as our meal was over I was back on the subway headed to the Village. My parents were still having their dessert as I continued my journey on the yellow brick road.


It's been said that "you can never go home again", but that's not true for me. Every time I fly back to NYC I become that teenager and I remember that first subway ride when I discovered a new world. So I do go home again and again and "Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home."

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January 16, 2015

Connected in Suburbia

I could never understand how people were constantly connected to their phones, tablets and computers. In fact it pissed me off... it still does when I see people with their faces buried in their own little world ignoring others and everything all around them. Well the tables have turned and I'm somewhat guilty now too. Have I become one of those people? Hmmm...

Writing in My Fantasy World

Since moving to Suburbia my main connection to people has been through Social Media. But I think I have a legitimate excuse... I'm isolated, there are no people out here. Okay I'm being dramatic, obviously there are people... but they're all in their cars! Social Media has become my friend, my outlet, my lifeline to the world. I would poo-poo this behavior while living in NYC, but it's another story for me out here. I now have two Blogs with two Twitter accounts and two Facebook pages. I also have a personal Facebook page and a community Facebook page. And as if that's not enough I've started another Facebook page just for "Some Of These Daze" the play we're developing. Phew, it's become a full-time job, but without a paycheck. It's almost like a contagious disease and it's spreading. I still haven't joined Linked In and only sampled Instagram so far, so maybe there's still a cure for me. (I haven't found it on WebMD, but I'll google that later).

Blogging in Suburbia
Have I become one of those people who I always thought didn't know how to interact or couldn't deal with people? Hell no!!! Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a people person. I am always present when I'm with people and don't resort to my iPhone or iPad... unless they start on a way too familiar rant about some BS I've heard a million times before. And then that all too familiar sound of the "ding" happens and I'm saved by the bell! 
                                                         
Developing Script with My Pals
I love Social Media and I love people. But if the only way I can connect with people while living in Suburbia is through Social Media, well so be it. And I'm very grateful for all of you "out there in the dark". Now if only I can find a way to turn all of these connections into a paycheck or at least get me back to NYC, then maybe I'll be truly be "connected" with people!

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