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Editor’s Memo: Culture Shock

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I literally laughed out loud when reading this month’s My Westchester essay on “Embracing the ’Burbs, in Five Stages” (page 184). These reader-submitted essays are always one of my favorite parts of the magazine, but this one, penned by Bedford resident Ted Emerson, particularly resonated with me—and brought back a panorama of memories from my own tumultuous transition from Manhattan to Westchester.

I moved here, reluctantly, on Father’s Day weekend in 1997 (don’t ask me why I remember such details), when I was offered a full-time position at another magazine once based here. I had been working for it for about two years, doing a reverse commute to Tarrytown from Greenwich Village, where I was living during grad school. Factoring in all the legs of the commute and the wait time at each one (the 1/9, the S, Metro-North, then a taxi to the office), I was clocking nearly two hours of travel time each way, each day. So when I was promoted to senior editor, I needed to reclaim time in my schedule to devote more to the magazine and less on planes, trains, and automobiles.

My first impressions after week one? Everything here was too
quiet and too slow.
After living life on fast-forward, I felt like someone had suddenly switched me to slow-mo. I had become insidiously indoctrinated into the Manhattan-centric mindset (in which anything north of the Bronx is “upstate”), and I was in need of some serious deprogramming. But over time, things didn’t seem quite so quiet—or slow. After a year or so of not having to frenetically compete for parking spaces at every turn; taking in peaceful, postcard-perfect sunsets on the Hudson; and experiencing adrenaline rushes from successfully avoiding alternating scourges of deer and floods on every road with a name that ends in “Parkway” (who said the ‘burbs had to be boring?), I quietly embraced my new identity as a Westchesterite. Now, I can’t fathom living in that downstate concrete jungle again.

But living “upstate” doesn’t mean that we’re deprived of anything, either. Take fashion. As this month’s cover story beautifully details (page 54), you don’t have to reside within in the five boroughs to enjoy access to all the latest and greatest trends in fine apparel and accessories. From
upscale national retailers to small, independent boutiques, Westchester is brimming with first-rate shopping choices to suit nearly every taste and style.

When you get back from all that shopping, we’d love to hear about your own experiences living in Westchester. Submit your 500-word
essay to edit@westchestermagazine.com, subject line: My Westchester.

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