No Place Like Home

By on 11 July, 2016 in Sandra Nickel with 1 Comment

Earlier this month I had the incredible opportunity to spend 10 days in New York City. This good fortune was mine through the largess of a real estate friend there, who was taking a trip to Europe and needed someone to tend to his two cats. He got no-cost cat-sitters, and my brother Frank and I got the use of his luxury apartment absolutely free!

photo 1My Facebook friends followed along as we ventured from neighborhood to neighborhood and from one architectural wonder and landmark to another. Armed with unlimited use public transit passes, we rode wherever the subway and bus systems would take us. Evenings were mostly spent sitting on the exquisitely appointed and landscaped rooftop deck, gawking at the Manhattan skyline. Oh, what a time it was!

I’ve now had time to “revisit” those many places in mind. I have in fact done so more than once or twice. And here’s what I’ve learned, both about myself and about my world:

First, while I really appreciate monumental architecture and places steeped in history, it’s the fine details that really delight me, as these photos show:

Second, buildings are great but it’s the people in and around them that bring things to life and create memories I’ll treasure forever.

A young couple from Macon, GA, got engaged at the top of the Empire State Building. The shop keeper at Fabulous Fanny’s not only allowed, but encouraged me to try out his exquisite vintage eyewear.

My friend Emily Campbell hosted us for Sunday brunch in her beautifully landscaped Brooklyn brownstone courtyard.

photo 8

Brooklynites Richie and Wendy took pity on us old folks and shared their Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs table at extremely crowded Coney Island. And don’t ever believe New Yorkers are not friendly; they’re wonderfully helpful and accepting.

photo 9

Large or small, cities are patchwork quilts of neighborhoods, both residential and commercial. Each has its own character. In New York City, for example, Harlem has a “hot vibe” not at all present in Midtown Manhattan (much more sophisticated and buttoned-up). So as in Montgomery, there’s a vibrancy in Cloverdale you just don’t find in more suburban areas. It may be a huge oversimplification, but my take on it is that walkability draws people and people create energy. My hat is off to Montgomery’s leadership in embracing our walkable downtown and close-in residential areas and protecting them for future generations.

My heartstrings were tugged when we loaded into our Uber van to leave New York for Montgomery. Yet, the moment my feet hit the ground I knew Dorothy was right: There really is no place like home!

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 30 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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  1. Sandra, I very much enjoyed your Facebook posts while you were visiting NYC. I know of so many of the landmarks that you visited, but not being one who likes to fly it is doubtful that I will ever see them in person. Glad you were able to see them for me!

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