Things in New York City change. Duh.
Living in Brooklyn is a bit like living in a bubble. Correction--living in Brooklyn with a family and child to raise is like living in a bubble. I don't wander into Manhattan or Queens or the Bronx like I used to when I was single and on my own. I can't just leave my house whenever I want to catch a show or check out a bar or wander. It doesn't work like that for me anymore. That's fine. I'm too tired and lame for trendy places. I yawn far too often non-ironically nowadays. And, apparently, Child Protective Services frown upon leaving a toddler unattended.
Because I so infrequently visit the other boroughs, it's always jarring for me to see what has changed and what has remained the same despite that change. Storefronts that were staples of my first years in NYC disappear, replaced by trendy eateries and retailers. More corporate chains are popping up, but so are boutiques and specialty stores. Aging but legendary establishments feel dwarfed and overshadowed by their new, shinier, larger than life neighbors. The city feels much cleaner, and the almost predictable cycles of death/growth are strangely comforting; but the sterility and monotony of these changes rather ironically smack you in the face. Who knew I would sigh sadly upon seeing so many of the sex and smoke shops gone from 6th Ave.? That a tear would come to my eye when discovering the Coffee Bean on MacDougal St.?
Honestly, I'm mostly okay with these changes. I'm not in denial that they're going to happen. It's really only when places of great sentimental value disappear that I clutch at my heart. The restaurant where Matt and I had our wedding reception luncheon? Gone. The hole-in-the-wall sandwich place that my friends and I would frequent during late night cramming sessions in college? Gone. The bar where I had my first legal drink on my 21st birthday? Gone, and twice replaced (in fact, almost obliterated by the recent explosion in the East Village that killed two men and destroyed three pre-war buildings...while construction was underway).
Just as the city changes, I change too. I'm changing from that young kid who was intoxicated by the pace and energy of NYC, to the Brooklyn-bound/bound-to-Brooklyn parent that jumps on the train occasionally and reminisces about what used to be here and what used to be there. It's strange to bear witness to a city's constant transformation, but reminiscing and passing on these emotional memories fuel the ethos of "New York City" for each generation. So go ahead and sigh, roll your eyes at the "old timers". We don't mind.
You're next, after all.