I moved from Brooklyn to East Lansing in April of 1996.
I had lived in Windsor Terrace for 32 wonderful years. They were the best times of my life; I had a wonderful experience. It was like earning a degree in Streetology.
If you would’ve told me when I was in my teens or even early 20’s that I would move to Michigan, I would’ve laughed at you.
But looking back, it was the best move I ever made.
Today, in 2016, when I think about my friends I often think about the fun I had along the way and I also think about all the people who have moved out of the neighborhood over the years. Moving out of the neighborhood never entered my mind. I was born on 10th street, moved to 9th avenue and Windsor Place. Moved down to the Park Side and 16th street, then to 11th avenue and Prospect. No monstrous moving vans necessary.
While attending Holy Name I recall two friends moving out of the neighborhood; Tommy Brick and Laura Williams. At the time I had no idea why they elected to move and probably still don’t to this day. Brick moved to Staten Island which at the time seemed like millions of miles away. Williams moved across the country to Las Vegas which seemed like the other side of the world.
Last week another friend I grew up with moved out of the neighborhood to North Carolina. I’m not sure of the reason and it’s none of my business – but I wanted to wish them well and I hope that they find it to be a great experience. People moved out of the neighborhood over the years for many different reasons. Cost of living, real estate, new job or just wanted a change. Whatever the reason, I’m sure they were valid ones. Me on the other hand, I needed to move. (Never thought I would put that in words).
When I first moved out to Michigan, it was a serious culture shock; everything seemed to slow down. No traffic, fresh air, and the people were a bit different. Oh yeah, I realized we needed a car. No one walks here.
I had done okay for myself the first 32 years but there was something missing in my life. I was coaching freshman basketball at Bishop Ford and working nights as a doorman at Planet Hollywood. I was having a great time. I had fallen in love with a beautiful woman who I am proud to say is now my wife.
Ever since I was five years old I loved basketball. Just like everyone else in the neighborhood who played ball in the schoolyard, I wanted to play in the NBA. Problems in high school and not giving 100 % to my goal put a damper on that career. I figured the next best thing to do was to coach. So I pursued a second dream; plan B if you will. I needed to put my talents to good use and I needed to realize my dream can come true if I made some changes.
Since my move to Michigan I have earned my college degree, became a head basketball coach at the Junior College level and have learned so much about life; things like how much time, effort and discipline are needed to reach one’s dreams. Elements that I would not of accomplished had I stayed in Brooklyn. As one of my professors at Michigan State told me, ‘Steve, you were going with the flow’.
I miss Brooklyn every single day of my life. I miss riding the trains, I miss the bagels, delicious egg creams and walking the streets. I miss the people out on the streets. I miss the chatter among sports fans debating who’s better, the Mets or Yankees? I read the New York Times every Sunday (we get it delivered). I log onto to the New York Post and New York Daily News every day. With E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and this blog, I still am able to communicate with people from a great neighborhood.
There are still many people from back in the day still living in the neighborhood; They have enjoyed their stay and have been successful. They have pride in their homes, their roots and their streets. They love calling ‘Windsor Terrace’, home.
To conclude, moving away is/was not a bad thing for me. You have two ways to approach relocating; you can embrace it or you can fight it. I chose to embrace it. Someone once told me that God hides both ambition and opportunity in each of us. Thankfully I have found both and have ran with them.