This is the second installment in How To Move Home: if you’ve never been there before, a series about moving from New York City to Sacramento.
It’s hard for me to consider my current neighborhood, Southside Park (located in downtown Sacramento) without the context of our recent move from New York City looming behind every observation. I’m incessantly comparing, and can’t imagine the habit quieting in time, although I know it will. The essential difference between here and there is this: space.
In New York City, space is a luxury that few people can afford, the sound of other people’s music thrumming in the apartment walls, the constant negotiations on sidewalks, the video game-like quality of maneuvering across the city on foot, public transit, or taxi. There’s an unrelenting wave of people to move against, behind, or with- a human current.
In contrast: Sacramento. I took this photograph on a typical mid-morning in our neighborhood. There is, maybe, a leaf blower in the distance, a lazy cat on a sidewalk unmarred by pedestrians. Empty roads intersect at unoccupied parking spaces, tables sit open at every restaurant, smiling Trader Joe’s cashiers wave. In contrast with New York it feels evacuated. The bigger surprise is what a thrill that is.
It’s as if the whole city is just for us.
Where you can find a group of people: a festival, a farmer’s market, or block party- it’s a diverse crowd. The only comparable public setting in NYC is the subway. But, unlike the subway, it’s very relaxed. Pets are everywhere.
We tied our dog up outside a large, organic grocery store yesterday, only to have multiple employees rush out to assure us, she was welcome inside. In Brooklyn, by contrast (I told you it was incessant) I was twice approached by grocery store employees with the request that I tie my dog up further away from the outside of their building.
What a radical change of pace.