March was a much more reflective month than it usually is. In the last eleven years, I've been dedicated to producing what seemed like week long festivals in honor of Ben's birthdays. Now he is eleven and big parties are being replaced by a special gift or overnight excursion. I can see that bittersweet look in his eyes as he watches his little boyhood slip through his fingertips. He still wants to want those experiences - the pageantry of balloons, a noisy crowd of kids, too many gifts and too many sweets. Tweenhood is all about going two steps forward and one step back on a daily basis.
So what does this have to do with the East Village? I've been finding it difficult to write about the neighborhood for much of the same reasons. It's coming time to go. To leave the building I've known since my birth. I don't know that this will ever be my home again -- even though I will visit from time to time and will be in the neighborhood often.
American culture tends to downplay the sanctity in a sense of place. Our economy wants us to be mobile and our character is ever onward and upward. But love it or hate it, we all sprouted somewhere and it's in our blood. In many ways, I'm at peace with our next steps. The generations of family who walked these same streets have taught me all the things they thought I should know. They've given me their blessing and I see it every day in the spirit of my son.