Posted by: patti | December 2, 2008


This weekend marked three full months of adjusting to Upstate Manhattan.  Before that, we lived in the East Eighties.  Our last apartment was far from perfect, and that neighborhood certainly had its drawbacks, but we were there for five years.  It is the longest I’ve lived in one place as an adult.

Our new apartment is outstanding.  Rent is a lot cheaper — our main reason for moving here — and this apartment is bigger and brighter and quieter (mostly) than our old one.  There’s room for everything.  There’s room to cook.  There are actual rooms.  The building has an elevator and laundry in the basement.  I can walk out the front door of the building and walk right into Inwood Hill Park.

But it’s Inwood itself that has had to win me over.  And I admit that I haven’t given it a fair chance because I’ve been focusing only on what Inwood doesn’t have.  (Also? there is such a thing as too many ginkgo trees, Inwood.)  There’s no yoga studio here.   There is one bookstore, but most of the books are in Spanish. There is no movie theater.  There is no Indian restaurant.  No Thai.  No decent Chinese.  Food shopping requires compromise and creativity.   Or travel.

And, yes, I know, we’re still on the island of Manhattan and I’m sounding like we are cut off from the rest of the world.   But everything I seem to want is a long long long subway ride away.  And I’ve been getting pretty whiny about it, and I have no patience with whiners.

So.   I resolved to give Inwood a chance.

Yoga continues to be a problem.  I have ample room for my mat at home now, and my own practice is doing just fine, but I crave group classes.  I am just going to have to suck it up and get on the subway a few times a week.  Or, as more than one person has told me, I will just have to bring yoga to Inwood.

I believe in bookstores, even the big chain ones, and their quiet power to nourish a neighborhood, but I’m not opening a bookstore and a yoga studio (hey . . . wait a minute . . . ! no. no! focus). The mostly-Spanish bookstore on Dyckman is thriving, and that’s many kinds of awesome, and will be for me, once I learn Spanish.  And there’s an NYPL branch on Broadway, very close, and it’s a great library, and they can pretty much get me any book I want in two-three days.  And really? I need to stop buying books.

The food sitch has been the greatest source of my agita, frankly, and it’s really not that bad.  There’s the farmers market every Saturday, just a few blocks away: careful planning and shopping and I’ve got almost all the organic stuff I need for the week.   There’s a butcher around the corner who carries the small-farm-raised meat I insist on.  And what I can’t find in the local supermarkets, I can find at Frank’s Market in Hudson Heights, which is a mere dreamy walk through Fort Tryon Park away.  And I will just have to deal with my addiction to Gourmet Garage‘s curry cashews.

Movies?  Subway.  Missing restaurants?  Subway.  And we’ve found a handful of restaurants that we’ll be loyal to, even if we don’t have the same kind of selection we did on Second Ave.  (Also? I’m a fantastic, if kind of lazy, cook, and so is my husband.)  Inwood has the Cloisters, the Piper’s Kilt, the only old-growth forest on Manhattan and my favorite cousin and a handful of my favorite people all live on Seaman Avenue.  (Even though “Seaman” makes me giggle like a twelve year old.)  (And Seaman crosses Cumming!  Yes!  I’m twelve!)

So.  What’s the problem?

The problem is, Inwood hates me.

There are three – three! – opera singers in  my building.  And, yeah, cool and all, but when you work (and try and try and try to write) at home all day?  No, no opera scales, please.  The courtyard outside my window is home to five parakeets: their owners stick the cages outside on the fire escape, presumably because they can no longer deal with the infernal squawking.  The mail lady yells at me every time she sees me because?  I have no idea, but she is convinced that once, maybe in some feverdream she had, I didn’t answer the door when she rang the bell.

This past Sunday, we headed out to the Kilt to watch the Giants and discovered that someone had stolen the horrendous flamingo mat outside our door.  Now, yes, we inherited that from the last tenant and I’ve been saying that I was going to throw it away, but come on, Inwood.  Really?  You stole that ugly mat, just as I was deciding it was kind of cute?  Really?

But.  There’s a much, much bigger reason I know Inwood hates me.

I had made up my mind.  I was embracing Inwood.  I went for a long long long walk, touching all of the parks, wandering, dreaming.  Forgiving.  And I turned the corner of 204th street onto Seaman (hee hee hee) and I was hit in the head with a lime.

A lime.

Someone threw a lime.  Out a window.  And hit me in the head.  Right smack on the head, too, bull’s-eye, and it freaking hurt.  I thought one of those hideous stinky ginkgo berries hit me, but when I looked up around down behind me I saw the lime rolling on the sidewalk and smelled its sharpness in my hair.  A window slammed shut and I walked away, head down, hiding the hot tears.

I’m trying, Inwood.  I’m trying real hard.  Give a girl a fighting chance.



  1. Now you’re “With a Twist of Lime.”

    Between the female ginko trees (those are the ones that stink), the squaking parakeets, and the opera scales, your head must be a little sour.

    But Inwood will win you over I’m sure!

  2. I’ve been there. Please email me and I will send you information for yoga in Inwood. I was taking these classes in a private home for a while, but couldn’t swing it because of my schedule. Lovely teacher. Serene space. Different from the UES, but lovely all the same.

  3. […] With A Twist […]

  4. Have you tried Indian food at:

    Not too far and not too bad.

  5. We tried that place a while ago (as in, a few years, I think) and didn’t love it. Maybe it’s time to give it another try! Thanks for the tip!

    I confess living right off of Second Avenue for five years spoiled me. I looked at Kismat’s address and immediately thought, but that’s faaaaaar. But really, so not far.

  6. While not in Inwood there is a yoga studio on 145th near Broadway right off the 1 train. Bikram Yoga.

  7. Yes, but Kismat delivers to Inwood! Sure it’s slow but if you keep their number on speed dial and call them when you get off the train, by the time you get settled your food arrives! Not that I have Kismat on my speed dial… I mean what kind of silly cat would do that?… ok…don’t judge…

  8. Amy’s Restaurant definitely has better than decent Chinese food. Check it out!

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