Boca is beautiful, but what's the catch?
Last week, Lili Kalish Gersch shared with us the trials and tribulations of living in a cramped urban apartment with a young kid. Here, we get the flip side from Boca Raton’s newest resident.
Our motivation in moving from Manhattan to the suburbs in South Florida was to save money. We loved most things about our urban lifestyle–the convenience of most errands being only a block away, the ability to order any meal we wanted any time of day, the fact that just walking around the block with our dogs was filled with sights, sounds, and probable run-ins with friends. New York is absolutely a Jewish city but in the way that a cabbie from Haiti will call another driver a putz and the Greek diners serve matzo brei in the spring.
We chose Boca Raton not only because it was close to my parents but since it was relatively affluent, we thought that we might be able to find some of the things we loved about city life like great restaurants, stellar schools, and lots of activities for families.
In New York, being a homebody usually meant you were into things like good restaurants, movies with friends, or a yoga devotee. Here it literally means you don’t go out at night. As a mom of two toddlers, I wasn’t even close to living a socialite lifestyle but like most people I knew, I would get together with friends at least a couple of nights a week.
What I miss most is those “only in New York” moments that can’t be replaced in another region. Call me unsophisticated but I loved the times I saw Mick Jagger in a restaurant, a woman walking with a parrot on her shoulder, or Gossip Girl filming in Central Park. Here in Florida, I’ve lost that feeling of possibility, the sensation that any minute something exciting could happen.
Although the move has afforded us a far nicer lifestyle then we could have had in Manhattan, I can’t help feeling that living here is temporary. It doesn’t quite feel like “real life.” Sometimes it seems like I’ve moved to a Jewtopia where everyone is rich, impossibly fit, and their last name ends in -man, -berg or the name of a precious metal. Everyone I speak to, from new friends to neighbors, asks what we’re doing for the holidays. I haven’t experienced this type of Jewish immersion since summer camp.
Of course it’s cool to be able to go swimming every day, and my kids and I love seeing all the strange new wildlife down here. We went from pigeons to pelicans and from rats to reptiles. But most evenings when the sky turns into a screen-saver perfect sunset, I still feel this is all fleeting.
In my mind I’m picking out fall clothing and making plans to meet my Mom friends in the park for a playdate. I like to pretend time has frozen there without me. I really had an amazing and supportive network of friends–most of whom I met after becoming a mom so we bonded in that way only parents in similar stages can, over sleepless nights, toddler meltdowns, and Moms’ Night Out. And although I’ve met a ton of great new moms, the relationships all still have that new car smell. Intellectually I know it takes a while to adjust to a new place and for friendships to grow into a comfort zone. But for now my heart still belongs to NYC.