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Flying “home” to New York, I have mixed feelings.  After “FIVE YEARS IN DENVER,” I consider Colorado my home, a haven of quality living and people I may never leave – at least, not any time soon.  Aside from short stints in Hoboken, New Jersey and New Orleans, Louisiana, I spent 35 years in the Big Apple – and don’t regret one second of it.

Actually, I’m from Long Island, but most people hear “New York” and assume the Empire State Building, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden.  I worked in Manhattan for more than a decade, but living in the ‘burbs’ is far different than the big City.  Surprisingly, Long Island is more crowded than many of America’s well-known cities, and certainly as diverse.  The City may have “Chinatown”, “Little Italy,” and “The Ghetto,” but the Island also has such areas – in fact, many of them, in the North, South, East, and West.  Few realize Long Island is the nation’s largest Island, although most recognize “the Hamptons” are at its “East End.”  NONE outside the tri-state area know of my beloved Montauk – further East than even the Hamptons – which I wrote of in detail last Fall, in “PEACE OF THE ROCK.”  And I hope Montauk’s relative anonymity remains that way – always.

I still have many friends in New York – plus my mother, mother-in-law, and brother – but they travel to Colorado more often than I fly there.  Partly because people want to see the Rocky Mountains – the view I marvel at every day – and partly because I no longer have much interest in the East.  I love many things about Long Island – the beach, diversity, and culture – but even the best things in life can become tiresome after 35 years, especially when you’ve found something better.  Not for everyone, but certainly me – and even my wife, who still misses New York tremendously, but has finally warmed to Denver.

I have not completed my lifetime “to do” list, but living in New York afforded me far more than most could hope for.  Not that I grew up rich – or privileged – but was afforded the opportunity to do many cool things – from shows, to sports leagues, to fine restaurants, to road trips.  Cape Cod, Washington DC, the Appalachians, the Poconos, Niagara Falls, and of course – Albany, where I attended college.  I feel lucky to have been born in New York, and for the great things I’ve seen and people I’ve met.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to having dinner with my oldest friend, attending the Mets game at Citifield, spending time with my wife’s family at a cousin’s wedding, and – if I’m lucky – a round of golf at the great Bethpage Black.

By the time you read this, I’ll be back “home” in Colorado, but to a man, New York will always be “MY HOMETOWN.”

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