This was printed in the Orlando Sentinel on March 30, 2019.
I live in Orlando now but I moved here from New York. People ask me what do I miss about living there. I'll get to that in a second but first what I don't miss.
I don't miss the bazillions of people. They're everywhere. There isn't a secret hideaway in Manhattan simply because there are too many people for there to be a secret hideaway. You also walk a ton up there. Here? Not so much. Traffic is worse up north. What about I-4 you say? I agree that for the most part it stinks but there are days it's not as bad. You learn Zen in New York bumper-to-bumper traffic. Or go crazy. Your choice.
The cost. Everything in New York is expensive. An egg sandwich? A thousand dollars. I kid but I'm telling a bit of truth too. I remember when I lived there thinking no place would ever be expensive again. I'd seen expensive. Plus when you lived there you didn't notice it so much. Now that I live in Orlando and go back it seems like everything there costs a thousand dollars.
I'm also a Publix boy.
I love the two for one, I love the fact that if you ask someone who works there where something is, they'll stop what they're doing and take you right to it. I love the Pub Sub, I love that I can return something without a receipt and they'll let me exchange it. Shopping there is a pleasure. Now compare that to a Manhattan grocery store and it's like night and day. Everything there is in small sizes; small ketchup, small salad dressing, small mayo-space is precious. I've also heard the head of a grocery store say when asked if they had a certain item, "We have what we have."
I'm glad to leave that behind.
Now what do I miss?
We are in the land of chains here, Carraba's, Outback, Smoky Bones. There are stand alone restaurants up in New York and it seems that all the food there is dee-lish. Plus they deliver! You can get hot, great, name the cuisine food delivered in a snow storm. Pizza is great there. Every where. Pizza is not so great here. Every where. I won't eat it. I also won't eat bagels here. One place here gives you a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese to spread on your bagel. When you're from New York, that's just wrong.
I miss the buzz of New York. You were constantly reminded that it is the capitol of the world. If you go out to dinner in Orlando you'll see Orlando people looking back at you. But in Manhattan? You might see Mick Jagger or Denzel Washington or Tom Hanks or Bill Gates.
A lot of people here are from someplace else-Boston, Chicago, North Carolina. I also always say it's fun watching winter on TV. You do that here. When they're up to their eyeballs in snow up north I get the newspaper at the end of my driveway in bare feet. And that is very cool.
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