Communities of Culture and Class
When I moved back to my childhood home on LI from NYC in 1988, I was both excited and hesitant. What would I find? Would there be plenty of what interested and was required of me? Or would I find that my exodus from the great metropolis had led me to cultural scarcity devoid of the kind of community I had come to expect. Would I find the foods I loved, the art I cherished, the holistic health services I required and opportunity to pursue my interest in architectural history?
I was greeted with many surprises upon my return to my childhood home. The City of Long Beach had begun to have a renaissance. The LIRR Station had been restored to its original glory. The beach and boardwalk were still main attractions; there was a thriving holistic community and the arts were about to take off in a way previously unparalleled on this barrier island.
But as much as I rejoiced in the return to the home of my birth, I some how knew that return would not be permanent. In fact, a vacation to the mountains of both upstate NY and in NC instilled in me a yearning to migrate in that direction. But that was not yet to manifest.
As life would have it, situations occurred that allowed me to become both the owner and then the seller of my home. My timing in buying and selling worked out well.
I knew I wanted to move on but did not see how I could do so far away so soon. An ad in the local newspaper announced the opening of a new and unprecedented artists’ loft building in Freeport, LI, a town within a half hour’s drive of Long Beach.
On Valentine’s weekend of 2005, we took the fateful step of ‘just going to take a look at it’. By May of that year, we were it first residents, interviewed by both the LI section of the New York Times and the local Cable TV channel. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by many local dignitaries as well as elected officials.
Our time in Freeport was another cultural eye opener. Living in an artists’ loft afforded us the opportunity to meet other local talent; residing in the predominantly Latino downtown area gave me the opportunity to stretch my culinary palate to include a love of Salvadorian, Dominican, and Argentine food as well as the famous Portuguese BBQ called Churrasqueria.
As fate would have it our artist’s loft became known to us as the faux loft and in spite of the many new friends we made, great cultural organizations I joined and outstanding food I discovered, we had to move on after two years residence there.
We considered returning to Long Beach or staying in Freeport but at the last minute found a Grandma style apartment in an area I dubbed ‘Oceanville Rockside Center Baldwin’. Similar to where we had lived originally, this area is something of a stepchild with some amenities provided by one community and others by another. In addition, depending upon which way the wind blew when I took a walk, I was either in Rockville Centre, Oceanside or even Baldwin. It took some getting used to but I have grown to love my new home again.
Over the last 20 years or so I have focused in on my life long proclivities including community interests, the arts, foods of many countries, and architectural history. Each of the three towns in which I have lived has an abundance of organizations and institutions serving all of them.
I struggled with where to place my allegiances by the time I had lived in three places within a period of five years. But I finally resolved the dilemma in a unique way.
I have three feet, I decided; one is still firmly planted in Long Beach, another in Freeport and the last in my adopted ‘Oceanville, Rockside Centre, Baldwin’. Within each of these communities, organizations and institutions that are near and dear to me all flourish. Instead of splitting or severing my allegiances, I decided my heart lies in all three and have tied the knot of reconnection and recommitment by joining and participating in as much of the culture and class that exists in all three.
At this writing, I belong to a total of at least nine organizations divided between the arts, architectural history, commerce and community. Most importantly, I continue to enjoy the rainbow of foods that entertain my international palette and have reconnected with friends from all three areas whenever I can. I find that I cannot only go home again but that I am at home wherever I reside.
- Posted in: Art & Design ♦ Education ♦ Fun And Personal
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