Note: West Side Rag columnist Richard Kriheli decamped earlier this year for Harlem, seeking more space and cheaper rent. But the relocation (thankfully) was temporary…

Dear Upper West Side,

Alright, I’m taking you back.

Not long after you gave me the cold shoulder, you may have caught wind of my brief affair with Sugar Hill up north. In case you haven’t, I’ll spare you the lurid details. Let’s just say, I was somewhat seduced by the ‘sweet life’. Sweet it was, but hot it wasn’t (hey landlords, take note: do not skimp on the heat) — not enough to keep me interested to stick around.

Amid the rumpus, my experience was framed by several long strolls with my kid along Riverside Park up north. Something was missing. The morning jogger sprints were disconnected, hurried. The parks had muted giggles. Neighboring stoops were smokier. Much like the Tenenbaums estate on Archer… err Convent Avenue, it was all a playful illusion. I sought familiarity, but it was an obvious reach. I stood near a railing at Riverbank State Park and glanced South, wondering how you were doing. Though our views were similar, we were many subway stations apart.

With my patience and interest waning, calls started coming in from other boroughs. Admittedly, I was ready to give up on you and already began speaking very earnestly with Carroll (Gardens). The offerings were more than adequate: good schools, good eats, good people, family-like environs and community. Open arms.

But in the end, I learned you weren’t having it. You dropped your guard and your exorbitant asks, and I must say, I was flattered — even surprised. You wooed me with openings : notably, Fratelli La Bufala, the Metro Theater, and Sugar & Plumm. What can I say? You knew I was a sucker for good pizza, flicks and ice cream. You won me back. Although we’ve been apart for a scant two plus months, I learned that we’re really a good team.

My son is 1 now. He spent his first birthday away from you. I told him about our impending reunion. Though he doesn’t quite understand the implications of such complexities just yet, I get the feeling he senses my relief. Maybe this void I seek to (re)fill with our bond is phantom and irrational. But when I signed my lease to return last week I was overwhelmed with the feeling that the absurdity of home is anything but.

I’m glad we’ve reconciled.



    1. Amal says:

      I lived in Carroll Gardens for 3 years. I (somewhat recently) moved to the UWS in December. I, like any ignoramus, thought anything above 63rd street was gang torn harlem. When I was introduced to the UWS in August (yes, that recently) I fell in love. When I saved up enough money in my super low paying job, I jumped on Craigslist, found a place, checked it out and moved my stuff to my new UWS hood…all this in 4 hours. Yea, it’s THAT serious!

      UWS for life!!