A Neighborly Welcome To Our Newest Neighbors


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And they say New Yorkers don't know their neighbors.


I know mine. Allow me to introduce you: Bill, Chirlane, Chiara and Dante. The De Blasios just moved around the corner from me straight from Park Slope, Brooklyn via Italy. I saw a picture of where they lived before, and quite frankly, their new digs are a step up. They relocated on account of Bill's job. I think he and Chirlane actually work together.


They seem like really down to earth people, so they probably think they might not fit in on the Upper East Side, with its reputation for being the hoity-toity section of the borough. Not to worry. Any pretense that this is the fancy part of town has been totally obliterated by the construction of the Second Avenue subway, which makes the area look like a DMZ. It's a good thing there's a Duane Reade on just about every block, so Chirlane can pick up the family pack of earplugs, since the jackhammering can really make you mental after a while.


I think it's actually good that they've waited until now to join the neighborhood, so when they walk past all the empty store fronts, they won't get nostalgic like those of us who've been here a while, and say things such as, "Wasn't that the place that sold pizza for 99 cents?" "Oh, remember that restaurant? They had good grilled chicken." "I wonder if that paint store opened elsewhere or if they just went out of business." It can be a little depressing. It's really great that Bill and his family will be spared that.


But let's focus on the positive: Bill, Chirlane and the kids are housed in Carl Schurz Park, right on the water, where bikers and joggers co-exist with dogs ? large and small ? and their owners. It's actually quite tranquil. They're also across the street from Asphalt Green where kids play ball, and both children and adults can swim in the aquatic center. Soon there'll be a dump near by, so the surrounding blocks will be besieged by garbage trucks, vermin, and that pungent smell that can only mean refuse is around. For those of us who own our apartments, this could be a real problem, but lucky for the De Blasios, they're just renting.


I also hear that Bill likes children, especially of the Pre-K variety, and animals, too; hence he won't be taking any horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park. I'm sure we'll get the lowdown on what's up with him, when we bump into the family at the popular local haunts like the Mansion Restaurant on York and 86th Street or the Mega Gristedes on 86th between First and Second. Perhaps they'll stop and chat while buying fruit at You Don't Know Nothin' Produce, or while getting a Slurpee at 7/Eleven, both on York and 84th. They're sure to be getting a slice from Arturo's on York and 85th or a cuppa Joe from Starbucks, probably the one on First and 91st.


But that's all after they get a proper welcome. Anyone want to go in on a muffin basket?


Lorraine Duffy Merkl is a freelance writer in NYC, and the author of the novels "Back to Work She Goes" and "Fat Chick"


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