I recently spent the afternoon in Babylon, NY on the south shore of Long Island with my best friend. We ate at a fish joint near the water with salty air filling our noses and boats piled up high to our right. Despite all these coastal charms, I marveled over the fact that she'd never mentioned growing up in a beach town before (she grew up five minutes west in Massapequa). "A beach town?!" she laughed. "Hardly." This prompted an interesting chat about how a town can feel so much like a vacation to one person and a bedroom community to another.
I think it's less about looking at the glass half-full or half-empty, and more about the fact that normalcy is just that: it's home, it's not a destination. Naturally, when you're the "vacationer," it's going to feel fresh and interesting, and you're more likely to look at the scenery through rose-colored glasses. As we walked down the main strip after lunch with cups of frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog, she said I was helping her re-imagine her community as something new; she even popped into a local crafts store to sign up for a course. I think we should all do our friends a favor the next time we're visiting them, and point out anything particularly eye-catching or unique about their community. Acknowledge something they may have never noticed before, even if it's seemingly trivial at first, like a flowering magnolia tree, the facade of a beautiful high school, or an intriguing storefront. Sometimes you don't see these things when you've lived among them for so long.
On that note, I'm starting a new series called "Where We Live," and would love to see snapshots of all the things that make your American towns so uniquely yours. They can be whatever you want them to be, ranging from micro shots similar to those in my recent New Orleans post to ones as sweeping as a panorama. The next time you're out and about in your town, try to look at it through the eyes of someone who's never been there before. It might take some time, but you'll start to see things a little differently. Please email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag @50statesofstyle on instagram (#wherewelive) along with a short description and I will roll out your photos in the coming weeks.
Photos of Babylon, NY, taken last weekend. The car below is a 1938 Chrysler and my friend's cat is named Tink. I think Tinky should be famous, or at the very least, the mascot for Amity Harbor, where she lives, don't you agree? One last note about Babylon: It made me happy to see the community rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Many homes near the water were devastated by the storm and are now being elevated, if not already.