location location location

I'm almost positive raising my kids in NYC will have an effect on them. I know it's changing me. But are kids just kids? Will they grow up to be whatever they want to be despite the location they were raised?

I was raised in Florida, on a beautiful lake with the occasional manatee and alligator in my backyard. We  had a canoe, a hammock and a swimming pool for as long as I can remember. I loved it.  I had no complaints, until my teenage years of course. It was then I started to realize I was a city kid. So I sought after the closest city I could find: Sarasota. I loved Burns Court Cinema with it's limited parking lot and foreign films. I adored the museums and dreamt about going to college here.  I found any excuse to go. Even if it was by myself.  Sarasota gave me a slice of the city life I was craving.

What about you? As an adult, are you living in a place much like the location you grew up? Or did you move away someplace totally different? How does it measure up? While I did move far away, there's a familiarity and connection I still have with living by water. I do miss that. Right now my view is the back of another building and some sky if you crank you neck hard enough. Oh my so called "sun drenched" apartment.  I love it for so many other reasons.

I wonder where my kids will escape, what kind of places they will be drawn to live as they get older. As for me, I can't think of living anywhere else but NYC. Not after a summer like this. And it's not even over yet!


  1. My childhood was partially in Paris, and partially in a San Francisco suburb. I do think the reason I love living in cities so much now is that I was born and reared in one. (On the other hand, my partner is a city boy who always wants to escape NYC).

  2. I so connect with this post. I often think how strange it is that my childhood and adulthood have been spent in completely opposite ways. I grew up, much like you, by the water in a small-ish Texas Gulf Coast town called Galveston. I moved to NYC at 22 and have been here for the past 12 years. I do find myself needing to escape the city for the familiarity of a slower pace ( who wouldn't really?), but like you, I can't imagine living anywhere but a city nowadays.

  3. I live in the 'burbs...in the same town I grew up in. After I was grown, my parents divorced and have both moved away, but I'm still here. The little subdivision I grew up in was "in the country" I suppose you could say. You couldn't go anywhere without driving-not to the grocery, not to the doctors office, not to a restaurant. Now, I live "in town" and about 3 blocks away is the bank and 2 grocerys stores. A little bit further walk is the library and the doctors office where I work. It's about a half a block to the elementary school and about 4 blocks to the Middle School. That's about as City as I get. We are about a 20 min drive to downtown Milwaukee, with all the big city life I can handle.


  4. I am having so much fun reading all your comments!!

  5. I grew up in a very small former coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, where both of my parents grew up. In my town, it was pretty rare, until recently, to move away. I went to college there, but I moved to Chicago a few years ago for grad school. Like you, I'm finding out that I'm a city person. I really can't imagine moving back there, though I'm so glad that I grew up in a quiet, sheltered place. My boyfriend is from the same town, and he also moved to Chicago. We often talk about what our lives would be like if we had grown up here. I definitely would have known more about the world earlier. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing.

  6. By the time I was 20 I had lived in Toronto, Miami (twice), a tiny village in Switzerland, Bern and Zurich in Switzerland and Paris - I now live in Ottawa which is a medium sized city with a suburb feel. At times I miss cosmopolitan cities like Paris, other times I REALLY crave the ocean we had in Miami...I know I won't live here forever, change is always something I crave - who knows where we'll end up ;)

  7. I don't have children yet, but will be moving to an area very similar to the place I was brought up..small, rural, friendly town (with no movie theater)...about 1 hour from a big city. As a kid, it was NYC. Now it will be DC.

  8. first your photos are so pretty (helps that your children are gorgeous)and i would wonder too how the city is shaping them. i imagine it's a lot to do with the parent though even more than the place. and what rich experiances they are living.

    i live and grew up in a small beach town on the coast of california. many years ago i moved up the coast to an even smaller beach town and here is where my heart is. i also raised a family here (i have 5) and one by one they left, mostly to a big city. well, one moved to hawaii (we had lived there too) and my baby moved to nyc a year ago (she's come home twice, to jump in the ocean!). it's amazing to me how they've all adapted to big city life. my oldest is now back home (next town over) and i'm pretty excited about that.

  9. This is such a great topic, and one I think about all the time. Have you read Richard Florida's book "Who's Your City?" I'm reading it now, and its just so good and validates everything I have been feeling for the past few years. I grew up in a small town on Lake Michigan about an hour outside of Chicago. Not a suburb, just a little Indiana town. I liked it when I was a kid, but hated it as a teenager and thought it was so boring and didn't have many friends. So, I moved to Chicago for four years for college and loved it! I discovered I was a city person, that was the hole that was missing in my life! Then two years ago I moved to Florida and got married, and we have a young son. I dream about moving back to the city all the time. We are planning on it in a few years and I just can't imagine leaving it again.

    I secretly read your blog because it seems you are really thriving with your children in a major city. It gives me hope that we can leave Florida and raise our kids in downtown Chicago. I hope so!


  10. I grew up about 5 miles from where I live now... so basically the same place...but my oldest dd lives in your city... I never thought I was a city girl..but I totally love NYC..When I told people I could live there they were shocked...so was I...I think there are enough green spaces for me in the city...and I could always go home to the lakes etc...anyway great post!

  11. please please please tell me where you got the dress!!!

  12. ps, love love love your blog! ;)

  13. I live in a quiet neighborhood and our previous neighbors who grew up in the city found the quiet to be unsettling! Your kids may be like that because it's all they know.

  14. I grew up in a small town that was conveniently located about 10 minutes from a big city. (Okay, the biggest city in Iowa, but nonetheless!)

    I feel like I had the best of both worlds - small town life, with lots of opportunities and events just a short drive away.

    Now I'm kind of a city girl. I lived in NYC last summer for an internship. I loved it, but it was SO different from home. I think a larger Midwestern city might be for me. But I need to land a job!

  15. I grew up in endless suburbia, but in an extremely wealthy area of the country on the east coast. For me, a large part of my teen years were filled with rich kids with too much money, nice cars, and parents who weren't around much. I didn't have a family like that, but I was definitely influenced by those students. I couldn't wait to get away.

    I escaped to Chicago, and have lived there for 8 years. I love the city, I love how diverse it is, and I especially love being a part of a normal environment. The wealth gap (while it exists everywhere) isn't as obvious as it was between the suburbs of Philadelphia and the city itself. I don't often go out to the 'burbs of Chicago, but I know there are other kids out there, disgusted by the excess of wealth and living outside what one needs.

    For me, living small and consciously is an important part of being in the city.

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  17. Growing up as an Army brat has made me adaptable. I like to think I'm fully converted to being a city person though. Can't really imagine life anywhere else.

  18. I couldn't resist commenting simply so I could inquire about how on earth you got those photos to sparkle in such a beautiful way - ah, that skyline! That lighting!

    Would you be willing to share the camera settings or any other details you think would help someone with a decent SLR and a beginner's eye take a similar shot? The images in this post kept me daydreaming about your descriptions of city life far after I left your page this morning...

    Sidenote: I live in Tampa, so am familiar with the excitement that Florida's cities can bring, like Sarasota did for you when you were young. It's nice to feel the rush of people and bustle while also having the lovely proximity to the Gulf, wide open spaces, and sugar white sand - but I dream of moving to New York one day! I'll be visiting my best friend in Manhattan next month and can't wait. Maybe I'll get to take some of my own pretty city skyline shots :)

  19. Oh wow! I loved all these comments. Here's some of my thoughts:

    Wandering Summer: thanks! I shamelessly use the automode (non-flash) on my Canon t2i. Sometimes I switch to the "sports mode" because my kids run around so fast. I don't know how or why the pictures turn out the way that they do. haha I also don't know how to use photoshop. I use the basic editing tools from the free download: Picasa. Good luck!

    Corinne: I hope you stay in NYC a long long time too.

    Anon (on living small): Loved your comment. I have thought about it all day. As I start my professional life soon, I hope I don't lose sight of the things that matter most.

    Gail: Good luck on the job hunt!!!

    Jeannine: Interesting, we shall see.

    Nikki: thanks! the dress is from the Gap. It's sold out now, even online. booooo

    Beth: Yes, I agree--There are some great green spaces. I spent a few hours with my kids at Sheeps Meadow today. Stunning!

    Shannon: Thanks for reading! I checked out your blog--it's delightful! I haven't read that book--I'll have to check it out. I love book suggestions!

  20. Christina: I wonder about that too. On a side note, Chicago's been on my radar lately. I have to think of a reason to visit...it looks amazing.

    Lori Ann: I visited your blog too. The beach town you live in? Amazing. I completely understand that's where your heart is. I'm glad one of your kids moved back. My daughter likes to look up into apartments, point out the one she'll live in, and picks the one next to it for me. ha.

    Rebecca: Sounds like a good plan :)

    Giulia: I too crave change.

  21. Love this post, Sharon! I loved my small town upbringing but always felt at home in big cities. So interesting to see where life takes you!

  22. I grew up in a city in Northern England,dirt,coal,mines,litter.... very very grim!All the negatives of a city without the wonderful museums,parks etc. So at 25 I decided to sell everything I owned to make a better life for myself somewhere else....no one ever went to New Zealand and hated it right?So I booked a one way ticket....3 years later I am now married (to a british guy) and have two beautiful boys and live here...http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=queenstown&hl=en&rlz=1T4ACGW_en___NZ430&prmd=ivnsm&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=4w9WTpyXHsjRiALSxdXSCg&ved=0CG0QsAQ&biw=1600&bih=670 its tiny and it often drives me crazy reading about all the very cool things you can visit and take you children to in the city. However i love that I have never locked my car and don't own a key for my house and all children in school have mondays off for ski lessons for 1/3 of the year!!!No where seems perfect but I think you just make the best of where you are :)

  23. Hey lady.. although I grew up primarily in NJ, I spent some time in Bar Harbor Maine and then Philly and now I am in Brooklyn! BUT- my Aunt lives in Sarasota and I had my heart set on Ringling as well! When I was about 16 I met my 'first love' while on vacation down there.. he was about to enter his first year at Ringling and brought me to his orientation. It was amazing.. I still regret not pursuing a job in the arts. Instead, after being unemployed for a few months and funds falling short, I got a job as an unpaid intern at a branding firm in manhattan. Have you thought about applying for any intern positions? Good luck! I enjoy your blog :)

  24. Your pictures are simply amazing!

  25. Oh my stars. I'm such a city girl. I'll sometimes drive 4 hours to our nearest {and only} "cities" {Santa Fe and Albuquerque.} Alas, my husband is a woodsman, a mountain man. I think he'd live like a recluse if he could...

  26. I just came across your blog, and it's so lovely! These shots are so beautiful! My husband and I just moved to right over the Brooklyn Bridge, and it's encouraging feeling your passion for this place in your words. Thanks!

  27. Despite the lack of room, I find NYC to be one of the BEST places to raise your children. What other place encourages individuality than New York City? I was born in Nyc, raised in Winter Haven, Florida and recently moved back. I knew I was missing something. . . Couldn't be happier. Your blog is AMAZING by the way. -Nathalie

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