Following on my recent Appreciating America: Notes from New York, it seems appropriate to take a look at the neighborhood where I live.
One of the delights of travel is the urge to share, to satisfy one’s curiosity, and the learn about how other people live. I’m certainly lucky, and I get a lot of satisfaction from all the people I meet, asking about their families and their homes, and, of special interest to me, the neighborhoods where they live. I’m always anxious to know about the environments where my friends spend most of their time.
And the feeling is very mutual, I discover, and as I travel, one of the questions I’m always asked is about my neighborhood and what it’s like. Certainly a big city like New York is depicted often in the media, on television, in films, and people in different parts of the world have all kinds of different impressions about the way we New Yorkers live.
But any big city is also a gathering of neighborhoods, and very few of them are like any other neighborhood.
So as promised, and for some fun, I thought I would post some photographs of Murray Hill, the part of New York where I live. Take a look at Mr. Guy’s Murray Hill Neighborhood in New York.
It’s on the East Side of New York, not far from the United Nations on the East River, and it’s one of the quieter of New York neighborhoods. In fact, my apartment is on the back of my building, not facing the street and overlooking lovely gardens of neighbors who carefully tend the spaces inside the quadrangles formed by the buildings around the perimeter of the block. So I give very little thought to “the noise of the city” that I hear many people – especially visitors – talk about.
It’s a very pretty neighborhood for the most part. Very old, and it fact gets its name from back when it wasn’t even part of the city. It was out in the country – the “city” was far downtown – and the site of the Murray family’s farm. During the American Revolution, so the story goes, Mrs. Murray entertained the British generals and other officers so that General Washington and his troops could make their retreat after their defeat in the Battle of Long Island. Sometimes called the Battle of Brooklyn or the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, it had been the first big battle of the war, fought on 27 August 1776, just shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
So our neighborhood is not only charming, it’s historic!