This is one in a series of interviews about our neighborhoods and the people who love them. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomads.
October 31, 2012, Washington, DC: Tammy Gordon has spent the last year and a half as a first-time homeowner in Cleveland Park getting to know the neighborhood in the manner she knows best: By befriending its bakers, baristas and waiters, by sampling its baked goods, and by sipping its specialty cocktails. Though I lived just a neighborhood away from Cleveland Park for several years, I recently saw this stretch of Connecticut Ave. from a new perspective during a walking tour/interview/happy hour with its friendly resident food blogger. In doing so, I learned an important lesson: If you want to get a feel for a place, take a walk with someone who loves to eat there.
Read more about Tammy’s neighborhood and its restaurants after the jump.
October 29, 2012, Washington, DC: Suffice it to say this is no typical Monday. Already laundry is in the dryer and chili is on the stove. Crossword complete. Floors vacuumed. Leftovers gone. Nearly nap time. Hurricane Sandy is approaching my East Coast hometowns, and she’s making a longwinded entrance. Southport is evacuated. Wall Street and the subway are closed. The federal government and DC schools sit empty. Our cities are rainy and windy, but mostly they are very grey.
I sit down and begin J.K. Rowling’s latest book, The Casual Vacancy. Chapter 1 starts like this: ‘Monday. Brace yourself.’
Now is the time to hunker down. Sandy has miles to go before our hometowns get back to business.
Miles from Monday is a weekly series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.
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October 28, 2012, Washington, DC: When people ask me what my blog is about, a short answer is that Neighborhood Nomads delves into the question of why people live where they do. There are always a number of reasons, both conscious and unconscious, that a place “becomes home”, and I love hearing people’s perspectives about which factors trump others when something has to give. Is it most important to be close to family? To have access to cultural resources? To be near a dream job? To settle somewhere safe? Or walkable? Or dense? Would you live somewhere a bit more expensive if it afforded you access to your other priorities? Is it primarily a matter of residing near good schools? Or gravitating towards natural resources like water or mountains or fresh air?
Perhaps it’s because I’m so engrossed in the topic, but my priorities shift, and often. One day I know our neighborhood is perfect for us, the next I get carried away considering another that satisfies a different priority entirely. It’s also clear now that the reasons I moved somewhere in the past were not typically the reasons I stayed: While I may have chose to settle somewhere for its climate or access to the outdoors, for example, I may have ultimately stuck around for its city resources or its proximity to friends and family.
If you had to choose just two factors, two words, why would you say you live where you do? Are they the same two words you would have selected ten years ago? Share them in the comments below, or fill out this form to Participate in the Project. Give your fellow neighborhood nomads an insider’s glimpse of your beloved hometown.
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October 25, 2012, Washington, DC: This chair by the window seems like a good place to get unstuck. There’s no tv back here by the kitchen and it’s mostly quiet apart from the low hums of city traffic and the washing machine. Soft lamplight and a softer sunset highlight the chair by the window that overlooks the red brick wall across the alley. I have nowhere to be this evening. Nothing is urgent and the air is warm. From this lovely textured chair, I should be able to write.
And yet I sit here for an hour surfing the web before I finally turn to my blog and begin. Even from the best seat in the house, the act of writing does not come easy.
October 21, 2012, New York: I love mornings in New York, especially after arriving here at night and in traffic. In the early morning, Manhattan’s streets are again breathable and streams of sunlight barrel between buildings onto this city island. Runners dodge down near empty avenues while there’s still room. Night owls in pajamas slowly walk their dogs.
I’ve never been much of a night owl, but there was no choice but to become one as a college student here in New York. I’m glad that’s no longer required of me and I can again relish my role as a morning person in the city that never sleeps. It’s the best time to look at New York’s architecture all lit up from the east and see its buildings reflected in puddles before the images are eclipsed by shoes and taxicabs.
“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”
-Bart Giamatti, The Green Fields of the Mind, Nov. 1977
October 13, 2012, Washington, DC: There was heartbreak in the end, yes, but before that there were red fireworks and dance parties and 45,000 people singing “Take On Me” at the top of their lungs. There were the improbable $23 standing room tickets we found last-minute for Thursday’s game, and Ian Desmond’s catch in the top of the ninth, and Jayson Werth’s walk-off homerun at the bottom of the inning. There were throngs of Washingtonians packed into the Fairgrounds after Game 4 who preferred to savor the postseason rather than watch an election season debate.
No need to dwell on what happened next. The silence that followed the noise was hard to miss. What’s important is that Washington, DC became a baseball town. It will remain that way come April.
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Miles from Monday is a weekly travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.
October 8, 2012, Boulder, CO: We took a morning drive today through the Colorado Chautauqua Association, some 1,700 miles away from the start of our regular work week. For many here in Boulder, this national historic landmark is a short distance from home and not far from routine: While a weekday might begin with navigating traffic on Broadway en route to work or opening a laptop at Ozo Coffee on Pearl St., the day could just as easily commence on a trailhead at the base of the Flatirons Mountains by Chautauqua, dry air, open space and new ideas unfolding in all directions.