Neponsit/Belle Harbor is a beach community. There is a smell in the air, similar to my childhood summers in Watch Hill, RI. It is peaceful here, no clanging bells from racing police cars or fire engines.
My morning routine used to be that I would have my coffee while listening to the banter on the Today Show. Since our TVs are not set up and we can’t put them up until we know how our furniture will be in place, I sit on my front porch with my coffee and the newspaper. It is quiet and serene. New home, new habits.
This house is on a larger property. It has a 2-car garage, a wider driveway, a bigger backyard, a back deck that needs replacing and a lovely front porch. Since I have no furniture in place, we set up a table on the back deck to eat. As long as it doesn’t rain, we have a place to eat. I frequently seek solace on the front porch for my morning coffee or in the evening as I drink a glass of wine.
The block is very Jewish and on Shabbat I see families coming and going. There are three Orthodox synagogues within just a few blocks of the house, including the Sephardic one we will join. Rabbi Azriel is known to me and his wife is lovely. They have one child the same age as my eldest granddaughter. We will get there once we settle in.
There seem to be a lot of playmates for my grandchildren here and they have already made friends. They enjoy playing outside and it is a safe block. Hilary Clinton once said it takes a village to raise a child. The idea is that neighbors care enough to watch out for each other’s children. That is the way it was when I was a child and the idea exists here. Neighbors take in your trash cans and everyone seems to know each other’s business. They know which children go to which school and seem to watch out for each other.
All of the neighbors are very nice. The community is coming back after Sandy and you see a good deal of renewal. There is a suburban warmth here that you cannot imagine in a city neighborhood.
Still I miss my neighbors in Brooklyn. With all of the commotion of moving, I gave up my mah jongg game, at least temporarily, in the hopes of starting a new one here. We had a pot where we put in $5 a week and frequently went to the theater together or dinner. Last week we saw Bullets over Broadway – it was delightful. We intend to keep up our theater going tradition!
I got a text from an old neighbor saying how much he missed our comings and goings, car activity etc. My husband had 8 cars, most of them classic, so he spent a lot of time moving them to accommodate alternate side of the street parking. There is no alternate parking in Neponsit, but you can’t park on the street here in the summer.
One of the things I miss most is the street trees. As you drove down the block, the hundred year olds trees form a magnificent canopy. The Fiske Terrace Neighborhood Association was aggressive about getting trees planted and getting them watered and pruned. Here there is a dirth of street trees. I already contacted the Parks Department for street trees and asked the Community Board the need for street trees to be planted here. Not only do they provide shade and oxygen, they help hold the wind, which I understand can be fierce here in the winter. Guess I am starting here as a mover and shaker.