Recently a coworker mentioned that she was spending the day on City Island. “Oh, where’s that?” I asked. The look on her face said, ‘are you kidding me?’ “Are you sure you’re from New York?” She asked.
That wasn’t the first time someone asked me if I was sure I’m from New York.
But I am from New York. I was born there. I was raised there. But truth be told, I don’t know very much about it. Oh I know all the facts that most people know. Yankees, Mets, best hot dogs, best pizza, Coney Island, Empire State building, Twin Towers and the pain of 9/11,
The Met, Broadway, etc. And let’s not forget the world’s best cheesecake!
A lot of the landmarks and well known trademarks that many non-New Yorkers know are familiar to me also. But honestly, I couldn’t tell you the difference between the Upper West Side, The Lower East Side, Midtown, Uptown, any of that. I’m fairly sure I know the reason.
In Spanish I learned that there are two words that mean “to know” Conocer and Saber. You use Conocer when referring to something or someone you are familiar with or you know of. I would use that to say I know our President is Barack Obama. Saber, if I remember correctly is more personal, more intimate. I know my son. (Please correct me in the comments if I’m mistaken.)
I Conocer Manhattan, the Yankees, Uptown. I Saber Brooklyn, Prospect Park, 7th Ave, in Park Slope.
The other reason is the fact that I left New York when I was seventeen and joined the military.
Had I remained, I probably would have traveled the city more, and become familiar with other areas of my home state.
Since all my military travels, my family has moved to New Jersey, so when I came home, home was New Jersey. It’s where I got my drivers license, where I live now, where I work.
So I have two homes. My current home, which is where my mom is. And one where I grew up. New York will always be home to me. What about you? Where do you consider home?