Farewell to New York

Big, big changes here.  For the good I hope.  Eventually.

After 25+ years of working for various investment banks, and 16 years at my current job, the wheel finally landed on my number a couple of weeks ago.  After six or seven rounds of layoffs in the past few years, it was finally my turn.  Most likely, I got picked this time because of all my time off.  Which I was entitled to — but  it made me “nonconforming” in the new management’s eyes.  Anyhow, the “package” is generous.  About a year’s pay (though Uncle Sam will take about half).  And I’ll get regular paychecks through the end of the year.  So, I don’t need to panic financially.  It’s the perfect time to make some big changes.  Lousy economy, lousy job market, all over the country.  Except maybe North Dakota — and I don’t want to move there.  I’ve never been a fan of cold weather.

After a lot of reflection, I’m heading back where I came from 32 years ago:  Southern California.  I have a mother back there that might need my help one of these years soon.  And you can’t beat the weather.  And there are loads of places for the doggies to romp — mountains, lakes, and beaches.  I’ve got no idea where or what I’ll be doing just yet.   The choices make your head hurt:  something that has meaning but pays lousy — or office work which pays better but has no meaning.

This cross-country move is more terrifying than it is exciting at the moment.  It’s very hard saying goodbye to friends and my beloved park and apartment.   But by a year from now, I’ll have a nice little routine going.  The days of the five-week roadtrips are most likely over for now.  But I’ll be able to sneak off on weekends now and then.  And I’d hope there’ll be a week or two of vacation time per year.  Eventually, when I retire, I hope to resume with some mega trips — maybe even longer than five weeks — with no rush to get back to work!  But for now, I have enough photos for the website from this year’s trips to keep me busy for at least a year.  Also, I’ve got lists of all sorts of things at the site that need updating. So, it might be a good time to hit the travel pause button and catch up.

I have a long list of stuff to shoot in NYC that I never got around to or desperately need reshooting for the website.  But with planning & packing & some crappy weather, I only managed to sneak off for a few hours yesterday to get about a dozen stops in.  Let’s start the photos with one from Crown Heights — the neighborhood east of mine.  Considering my big move and all, the business is appropriately named “New Life”…  A neat frieze with a dragon — heads on both ends:

A Park Slope (Brooklyn) icon.  I’ve been eating at Mr. Falafel on and off for more than 20 years.  This guy’s been standing in front of the restaurant since well before that.  And given the neighborhood’s transformation (old mom & pops replaced with chains) in the past few years, it’s a miracle the restaurant and statue are still there:

One of the very few and nicest of the neon signs that remain in the neighborhood:

Some nice mosaics in downtown Brooklyn (both on the front of the same building):

A survivor in Brooklyn Heights — very few neon signs there either:

From the Brooklyn waterfront — the Brooklyn Bridge.  The tallest building in the distance is the new, nearly finished World Trade Center:

From pretty much the same spot — the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge in the distance:

The big new building near me.  Basketball stadium, concerts, etc.  Most of us locals agree it’s a monstrosity.  A friend likens it to a junk pile.  The finish was designed to look like rust.  The neat thing is the advertising screen in that hole (where it shows “tickets now” in this photo).  It’s constantly changing and animated and BRIGHT and will certainly cause accidents.  I’ve never understood why cities prohibit neon but this sort of thing is fine.

A survivor much further down Flatbush Avenue:

Over to Manhattan for a little bit.  I don’t think where I’m heading will have many buildings like this.  The Cary Building, downtown:

One of my faves downtown –

the floor at the entry:

the relief at the entry:

So, moving day is tomorrow — Monday.  I’ll grab you a couple photos from the road.  No sightseeing though — all interstate.  I’ll be hauling a big rig:  a 14 foot UHaul with Sparkle on a trailer behind.  She’ll just be a passenger for this journey — and she damn well deserves it.  The dogs will be crammed in the cab with me.  I should land in SoCal probably Friday-ish.  And then you might not hear from me for a while while I sort everything out.  Not to worry!  I’m not the suicidal sort and I have a nice cushion to find the right job & place to live.  A big adventure, a new chapter, a blank slate.  It’s a big mountain to climb right now — but I’ll get to the top for the great view soon enough — and share the photos with you.

I posted a few more NYC photos over at Flickr just now if you’re eager for more:

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