I’ve grown up in a family of New Yorkers. My mothers side is scattered throughout Westchester and Rockland County while my Dads is just about an hour upstate from that. My parents settled down in Albany, putting a bit of distance between us and the family.
I’ve always loved the Westchester area. Visiting my Aunts and Uncle downstate was comparable to a trip to Disney for my sister and I. Almost every other weekend was spent in Tarrytown or Nyack; we became well versed with these towns layouts, almost to the point where home seemed to flow right over into the city borders.
Even now, years later, I find myself back in Westchester (attending Iona College). Going to school downstate seemed like opportune; family is close, beautiful area and NYC just around the bend. The past two years here have flown by with only a few minor hiccups. I’d have to say the only issue I’ve had is trying to understand that the rest of the New York considers the area to be “upstate”. Newsflash: It’s so not. Like,never will be-never can be-did you even go to school in New York because your education sure says otherwise is not.
My homeland (Albany) is two hours north of New Rochelle and I don’t even consider that upstate (that may just be my raging personal opinion but I’m right, sorry Long Islanders). I love my hometown, Albany is a great location. That being said, Upstate NY is kind of awesome. There’s beautiful scenery, fantastic food, Stewarts (if you don’t know what Stewarts is keep reading to find your salvation), and lots of hip spots. For arguments sake though, let’s pretend that the residents of New York’s nether regions are right and say that everything from Westchester up and over is upstate. Now that we’re in *fantasy land*, here’s a fantastically accurate BuzzFeed article that doesn’t understand boundary lines but is great at explaining why Upstate is the cats pajamas.
Now, even though I’m totally shoving my upstate foam finger in everyones face, let’s move back down to Westchester. Or even a little further, let’s move into NYC. The city is a huge bonus to students in the area. It’s the perfect combination of a giant playground/office space. I love being able to share the Big Apple with visiting friends, because I really have no motivation to leave it.
My most recent visiting pal was actually the second star of this show, my sister Devin. Devin goes to school in Binghamton, Ny, about three hours from New Rochelle. We’d been trying to arrange a weekend for her to visit for months so the trip was highly anticipated. She had inquired with friends and combed the internet for places and sites she wanted to visit while she was here (all in the city) so we were ready for a days worth of bonding/pictures/food. I even wore sneakers. (which never happens because I’m a firm believer in wearing cute impractical clothes for most outings).
Dev arrived in the morning and we caught a train into Grand Central, chatting the entire time about new happenings in our lives. We took a selfie for Mom because she was having severe FOMO about not being with us and required second by second details.
Once we were in, Dev decided the first thing she wanted to do was visit sweetgreen, which is basically the salad version of chipotle (*note to reader* Devin loves organic healthy everything whereas I love anything dipped in chocolate, fat or meat. Dinner is Hell for our mother). Off we went to find the nearest one, which was only a 15 minute walk despite our multiple stops to take pictures of various flowers/dogs. We went in, Devin ordered something green, I pretended that Kale wasn’t a sad excuse for lettuce and we were off again.
So at this point, I’m thinking great first check on the list let’s hit the next one; I was wrong. Sweet green was the only thing on the checklist. We ended up walking around for the next few hours, talking, taking a couple pictures and chatting. I thought that Dev had created a master list that we could follow until our feet fell off but turns out her goal of the day was met. Mine on the other hand was not.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to meander around. I think that’s the best way to explore and having my bud right there with me was even better. But after a few hours of putzing around, my inner carnivore was plotting it’s fiery revenge on Kale. Luckily, Hotdogs are dimes toss away in the city. In my hangry state I aggressively tossed some useful green (unlike kale) at Dev and she returned with 3 scrumptious hot dogs dripping with ketchup. The skies parted, the heavens sang, and my stomach eagerly welcomed the three little pigs home.
The hotdog fiasco signaled the end of our trip, and we made our way back to Grand central and back to New Rochelle. The day wasn’t what I had expected, but in a way it was better. We were in a beautiful city crowded with strangers and that was probably the only time we’ve had alone in ages. We were able to talk freely and do what we wanted (which was really nothing) and was the best part. Sometimes just being together is enough.
But kale on the other hand, is never enough.
See ya soon,
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