Birth of a New Yorker

It’s been one year to the day since I’ve moved to New York. This little guy has lived here all his life. As for me – a.k.a Mommy – am I a New Yorker, yet? Far from it. I’m still naïve to pronunciations of half the towns (villages? hamlets?) in the Hudson Valley. I still need Siri to navigate the Hutch and Taconic. I still haven’t picnicked in Central Park. I’m still no good at the subway.

This California girl has, however, entered the inner sanctum at Tiffany & Co. on the Fifth Avenue (le sigh). I have toured world-class NY eateries and eaten a Papaya Dog. I’ve explored the innards of Grand Central and have learned to properly call it a terminal (not station). I have chatted with Jon Stewart at Amy’s Bread in SoHo. And I have given birth to our family’s very first New Yorker, Stellan.

Born March 30, and living five flights up in our White Plains apartment, Stellan has ridden the elevator more in his first three months of life than I did in my first three years. He was barely three weeks old when he took his first trip into the city. (I was 27 and married before mine.) His perception of normal – vertical living, Hudson views, quaint main streets, snow – will be so foreign to the life I knew in suburban San Diego with our backyards, suntans, sprawl and central air. He’s never seen a palm tree, save the one I drew on this onesie.

Sure, we’re trying to instill a sense of SoCal surfer dude into the little guy. It’s in our DNA, and his. But, like exposing our newborn to a germ now and again (we’re not slave to sterility), we see the tremendous benefit of exposing him to a worldview unlike that of our own childhoods – and in the Empire State at that, lucky fellow. And when we return to California, as we are destined to do circa 2020, he’ll bring memories of this place in his heart forever and that kind of street cred that comes from having a history in New York.

Will he root for the Yankees? Not if Mom and Pop have anything to do with it. But is he a New Yorker? Of course. It’s home.

– Andrea Kennedy

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