Hard for me to believe, but we've been here now over three years. I came into this town making some waves, talking about how NYC and Louisville stack up. You can read it here, if you like.
I no longer feel so polarized about it all. But I do feel it could be fun to remember the good about what we left, and commemorate the good about what we've found. So here goes!
Top 10 Things I Love About Louisville:
1. There's a great community of families here. As a member of the Jewish community in Louisville my daughter attended the local Jewish pre-school, and we've really gotten to know many of the parents well, both Jewish and non. (Only 25% of the kids in the school are Jewish.) People have been incredibly kind, and because this is such a small town I see the same friendly faces almost every day it feels like. This is a really good thing.
2. Affordability. I just read that a parking spot in our old Park Slope, Brooklyn neighborhood sold for $80,000. You could buy, for real, two houses here for that dough. Maybe not in the best area, but ... On a more realistic note housing prices here are about where they were in NJ, I'm not joking, 20 years ago. Think about that. Our expensive apartment cost $920 a month.
3. No real traffic. I drive downtown, and get a spot literally anytime, and almost anywhere I want. If I need a garage it costs $5, maybe a little more. Not per hour, per day.
4. Good BBQ. NYC has the best food in the world, with the exception of BBQ. Okay, there are some high-end bullshit, hedge fund douchebag places, but those aren't really the same thing. If your BBQ costs $20 or more per diner, I call bullshit. Here one of the first things I noticed is that there were all these places with massive meat smokers in the parking lot. A whole smoked chicken costs like $11.
5. It's a small town, after all. I was in the newspaper recently, like everybody saw it. My friend was in the paper. Everyone saw it. My other friend writes for the paper, and later I heard him on the NPR station. I got some assignments writing for our local city magazine because, no lie, my wife's friend's friend used to write for it. She talked to me, and I then talked to the editor, and boom, got an assignment. That connected friend? Her husband is Stella's doctor.
6. Kids are kids longer here. They're just not as jaded and worldly as NYC kids. Which is good.
7. We bought a house. This is so beyond the realm of anything fathomable in NYC that it goes beyond saying. And it's a nice house. For 1/6 of what a two bedroom NYC apartment would have cost.
8. I have friends here I can relate to. Okay, I was terrified of moving here because I thought the heartland would mean I'd have a really hard time fining people to relate to, as an East coast ethnic person. But this simply isn't true. I know college professors, IT geniuses, other writers, poets, musicians, lawyers, as many smart people as I could ever want. I just had to know where to look, and it wan't all that hard.
9. Stella is happy here. We got to put her in that great preschool, which we never could have afforded in NYC. Never ever. She has friends who live close by, and family who live not too much farther away. She has her mom and dad here. She's happy.
10. Good culture and arts scene, and it's accessible. Okay, no place will ever have all the arts and culture NYC has. Given. But Louisville packs a pretty strong punch in that realm if you know where to look. There are great local bands, festivals, a cool craft brew culture, Actor's Theater of Louisville, the Humana Festival, galleries, times when they close down the streets to traffic, a great selection of national acts that come by, and tickets are cheap compared to NYC. There's enough for me to do where if I weren't a dad I could be out most nights. But I am a dad, so I guess it's a moot point. But I'm surprised, in a good way.
I'll do the other top 10 tomorrow night.