Monthly Archives: September 2018

Positives and Negatives of New York

Sydney and I have been in New York off and on since July 31 and full time since the beginning of September. We are hardly settled, still staying in a hotel while waiting for my house to close. But, nevertheless, it has been enough time to get an initial sense of the positives and negatives of the area.

First Time Mastering the Monkey Bars

First Time Mastering the Monkey Bars


  • The “Gold Coast” region on the northern coast of Long Island is separated from the masses of humanity (and traffic) and not far from New York City. It is actually not a bad place to live.
  • The small village of Sea Cliff where I purchased a home appears to be a hidden gem and might be the key to making our lives satisfying.
  • The nearby city of Glen Cove has some appealing diversity, with 27% of its population of Hispanic decent.
  • I am excited about my house, a two-family home (duplex) in which I am renting out the other half, making it financially feasible.
  • We found an outdoor pool and indoor swimming lessons at the local YMCA.
  • There are a number of nature reserves in the area and they seem to have good trails for off-pavement running.
  • A university I had never heard of (Long Island University – Post campus) is right in our area and has a full range of sports programs, which I love both for myself and to show Sydney what young women can do.
  • Sydney seems to love her school, the Green Vale School. Her teacher is very nice, the curriculum is sound, and the resources are tremendous.
  • Long Island is full of events. Sydney and I recently attended the Long Island Fair which was a really great activity for small kids.


  • The weather is terrible, moving directly from hot and muggy in the summer to gray and rainy in the fall. We have probably had four really nice days out of 45.
  • Everything – food, movies, gas, housing, everything – is expensive!
  • There is a distinct lack of paved trails, public parks, and recreation facilities. Sydney and I are lamenting the absence of a drop-in indoor swimming pool for the winter months.
  • Any attempt to drive out of our isolated area risks getting into horrendous traffic.
  • There is essentially no elevation change, which means we are hours (through traffic) from any real hiking or skiing.
  • It is going to be difficult for Sydney to make friends. Her classmates at Green Vale come from all over the region and all the locals her age go to Sea Cliff Elementary. Being in the same school as your neighbors is a huge positive of public schools that is rarely discussed.
  • Too many people are monologists. I vividly remember the octogenarian telling me at breakfast in our hotel about her daughter’s friend who was in the hospital “bleeding out of her anus and vagina.”
  • There is a definite me-first attitude, created in part perhaps because of population density. Here is a photo of two cars in the Green Vale parking lot.
The me-first parking at Green Vale School

The me-first parking at Green Vale School

Sydney has been a trooper. We have been living out of one carryon bag apiece since July 14th and have been in the same modest hotel for the past three weeks. Luckily, none of that bothers her and she actually loves staying in the hotel, seemingly not comparing it to the estate she enjoys at her grandparent’s house when with her mom. We have approximately one more week before we can move into our new home.

New York is no Colorado and Long Island is no Boulder. There is a reason people are moving out of New York and into Colorado. I would move back in a second. But given our situation, I am pleasantly surprised and determined to make a great life for ourselves in our new home, village, and state.

First Day of Kindergarten at Green Vale School

First Day of Kindergarten at Green Vale School


Sea Cliff, New York

Long Island. I must say I have heard very few people speak positively of Long Island as a place to live. So when Devon was given permission to move to Long Island with Sydney, I had very low expectations.

Long Island is an actual island that runs 118 miles from New York out to its eastern point and, at its widest, 23 miles from south to north. While Brooklyn and Queens are physically part of Long Island, politically they are part of New York City. That leaves the rest of Long Island, which people generally see either as provincial suburbs or, farther out, the ritzy and snooty Hamptons.

Allan and Sydney at Sea Cliff Beach

Allan and Sydney at Sea Cliff Beach

On my first visit in May, I learned the area Devon planned to move, sometimes called the Gold Coast, actually had positive attributes.  On the north shore of the island and only about 30 minutes from New York City, it is separated from the main Long Island population centers and transportation corridors. Glen Cove, the main town in the area, has a population of 27,000 and there are numerous outlying towns. It actually has its own identity.

Once I knew the general area, I started to look at individual towns. Glen Cove is actually attractive, with a nice downtown and a good amount of diversity. But while I could get a lot more house for the money, the school districts were not as good and my realtor was not high on it because of that. Most of the rest of the communities were sort of soulless, with not much of a center, few to no parks, and no real areas for Sydney to ride a bike.

Sydney checking out books at the Sea Cliff Children's Library

Sydney checking out books at the Sea Cliff Children’s Library

But again and again when I spoke to residents of the village of Sea Cliff, they uniformly said “I love it here.” So I started spending more time in Sea Cliff and here is what I found:

  • Not one but two libraries, one for adults and one for children
  • 16 parks in the one square mile of the village
  • A downtown main street with three bars, five restaurants, a post office, and more
  • A population of 5,000 whose residents felt a sense of belonging to their community
  • Its own beach for summer swimming

In the end, I was sold and gave up a lot of house and yard, and paid a higher price, to live in Sea Cliff with the hope that Sydney and I – knowing no one in the area – would thrive. I think I made the right choice.

Sea Cliff Newcomers Social

Sea Cliff Newcomers Social

Sydney has already been to the children’s library half a dozen times and regularly attends the Friday afternoon “pizza and paperbacks” event just for kindergarteners and first graders. I was invited recently to a “newcomers” social where I met quite a few newcomers, heard the mayor speak, and started the process of making acquaintances and possibly friends.

And I haven’t even moved in yet!