June 09, 2015

The Regrets I Left Back East

The longer I am away from New York, the more I realize how much I didn't do while I was there.

I've probably done more in four years in LA than I did in 14 years in New York City.

As the distance grows greater between my present and past coasts, I dwell more on the places I never got to visit – the things I never got to see – than those that I once enjoyed. And now that it's been over a year since I last visited the place where I used to live, I wonder if I'll ever make up for those missed experiences.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever make it back at all.

New York City, like LA, is full of tourist attractions only visited by tourists. As a New Yorker, I never saw the Statue of Liberty any closer than from a ferry boat. I regret that. But I know I'm not the only one.

I didn't make it to the Federal Reserve Bank for a tour, or the Frick Collection for bowling, or DIA: Beacon, MoMA PS1, Storm King the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, even though I always wanted to.

I never went tasting at Blue Point Brewing or Tutilltown Spirits, even though I always said I would.

I never ate or drank at Stone Barns Center, Tavern on the Green, Minetta Tavern, Fraunces Tavern, The Russian Tea Room, The Rainbow Room, or Grimaldi's (though now I've been to the El Segundo one). I feel like I should've, even if they turned out to be not that good. I'd rather know.

I never saw a Giants or a Jets game. I never swam in the Art Deco Astoria Pool. I never ventured to Rye Playland. I never rode the Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce.

I never got to see Fort Tilden, Fort Wadsworth, Fort Totten (in daylight), the Brooklyn Army Terminal, or the Red Hook Grain Elevator. I missed out on lots of abandoned hospitals and mansions and all kinds of relics and ruins that were just too hard to get to without a car.

We always said we would go to Sandy Hook or Sand's Point, but it just never happened. It's just so hard to get anywhere in New York.

And now, it's just so hard for me to get back to New York.

Am I now making up for missed opportunities from as recently as four years ago? I suppose. But New York is New York and LA is LA. You can't make up for the things you missed in New York by exploring LA. You can just make sure you don't make the same mistake twice.

Related Posts:
The Things I Left Behind: LA Edition
The Things I Left Behind
Leave No Trace: Workplace Edition
These Unavoidable Regrets

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