"New York, New York, it's a wonderful town."--"On the Town"
That line popped into my head as I was strolling through Central Park nibbling on a macaron after a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was an intriniscally New York experience, and, on my first and recent visit to Manhattan, I completely understood the allure the city has held for millions of people. But as I sat down on a park bench to finish my treat, I gazed up at the skyscrapers and another thought immediately rushed into my head: "But it's no Encinitas."
Now, of course, likening NYC to a small San Diego-area beach town is like comparing Big Apples to oranges. But there were some experiences that echoed life here at home.
As I gazed at the many paintings of the Virgin Mary in the European painting wing of the Met, I couldn't help but think of , who may yet have a place . The Hollister flagship on Fifth peddled its surf clothing with camera shots of SoCal waves playing on its front windows and male models displaying their insanely chiseled abs to admiring passers-by, a reminder of our own beach-centric lifestyle. Biting into a slice of Crack Pie at Momofuku Milk Bar was my version of Proust's madeline, hearkening back to the equally sweet treats at . A wood-fired pizza in one of Little Italy's new up-and-coming restaurants shared the same crisp crust as our own . (And frankly, we probably have enough Italian joints to have a Little Italy of our own.) Central Park's haven of green beauty recalled for me the Eden of the They have their five boroughs, and we have our five communities--and we don't even need to take the subway to get to Leucadia.
And as I drove up the Interstate 5 coming home from the airport, I realized we have it even better in some ways. True, we don't have the majestic skyline, but we also have cleaner air with wide-ranging vistas. Our Swami's garden may be small potatoes compared to Central Park, but nowhere in that great greenscape can you get an ocean view. And while we don't have a restaurant scene with the depth and breadth of New York City, we also don't have the eye-popping prices. (I could order seven bowls of Honey's granola for the price of one breakfast at BLT Market.) El Camino Real seems positively sedate compared to midtown traffic. And while the go-go lifestyle is exciting, there was nothing better than coming back to Encinitas, breathing deeply of the ocean air, and just taking it easy. New York is a great place to visit, but home--Encinitas--is where my heart is.
Although I wouldn't mind being able to get a great macaron here.
Goodbye to Maggie
I wanted to add my voice to what is already an overwhelming chorus of people remembering the late Encinitas City Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, who passed away Sept. 16. I only met her once, at a holiday party a few years ago, but she was gracious enough to take time out from the festivities to talk business with me in my former role as an editor for a local magazine. But like other Encinitas residents, I watched, and admired, as her very public battle with cancer didn't stop her from still contributing to the community to which she had dedicated so much of her time and effort. Her spirit, courage, and commitment to the greater good will be a long-lasting example for us all to follow in Encinitas.