Duty and Desire: Torn by Two Cities.

Gotham sure does have a seductive-way about her, permitting those who live near her to ignore what’s really going on in the American heart-land:  bright lights, glitzy-soirees, talks of multi-billion-dollar deals and weekly rants on Page Six do blind us, at times, thinking Manhattan is the only important city in the red-white-and-blue.  God knows that I’ve embraced that shade-wearing blindness over the years. Sure, New Yorkers talk about their pity–sympathies for those other cities—that aren’t as fabulous as the Big Apple.  But it’s still kind of fake, insincere, not at all based in reality, because it doesn’t really concern their NYC life-style. Yet, I still love New York, and part of me feels like I was meant to be a New Yorker, even if I’m not by birth, or today, logistically.

Two months ago, I came back to Cleveland for a family emergency. I’m still here and I’m somewhat embarrassed by my New York life (which is kind of ironic because in New York, I was embarrassed that I was from the Midwest).  For the most part, I’ve kept my mouth shut about all things Gotham in Cleveland,  not because I hate New York (I don’t, I LOVE her), but because I don’t want to belittle my fellow Clevelanders by my glass-tower experiences. Seriously, I just can’t talk about multi-million dollar apartments that are purchased by cash buyers to people, for whom I care so much about, who fret about spending $20 for five gallons of gas. I respect Clevelanders way too much for such frivolous chit-chat; they’re genuine, simple—but smart, helpful and honest, and struggling to make ends meet.

It’s a different world here, so far removed from Gotham. Cleveland’s 100% authentic.  And yet, I don’t know what has happened to this city and I don’t know why the cost of food at the grocery store is so much more expensive here than in NYC—this perplexes me. Honestly, Cleveland is in worse shape than it was when I left five years ago, with many more residents leaving to find employment elsewhere. I wish I could say that Cleveland’s current plight pains me, but I can’t, because it’s more than that. I’m completely overwhelmed by her disarray, bitterness caused by economic-rape, and by the abundance of Clevelanders who, by recent booze-induced barstool confessionals, have just given up. (Please don’t give up, Cleveland)

For a month, I’ve been numb and torn—by my selfish desire to be in Gotham—and the need for me to be in the Mistake-by-the-Lake, Cleveland.

I’ve been trying to sort it all out—my duty as a Clevelander and my desire for New York. In an attempt to make it all blend—work, over the last few weeks, I’ve referred off a majority of my NYC real estate clients to other NYC-based brokers, implemented travel arrangements from Cleveland to NYC to help a few foreign investors, and have unofficially re-structured my little company as a referral company which I can manage from Ohio, while I help my little brother, Stosh, save his Cleveland business, The Spitfire Saloon.

As to if this plan of mine is going to work, I don’t really know, but it has to—because I’m tired of being torn by two great and completely different cities…Such is LIFE.



  1. I remember spending three weeks in Eugene at the end of my mom’s life, and then being in Los Angeles for the last few days of it. Until the moment I received that dreaded text message from my sister, I felt split between the two places. While in Eugene, I missed Ba.D., my friends, the weather, the comfort of familiar objects. While in Los Angeles, I missed the closeness of my siblings and the last moments I could be spending with my mom. There was no right place to be, it felt like, and I hated it. So I guess I’d say I agree with Stacey: i hope you find all the answers you are looking for.

  2. Oh my goodness, the heartbreak of wanting to be here when you need to be there, wherever here and there happen to be. In the past I have torn myself into pieces over this dilemma a la Debra the Closet Monster and I also agree with Stacey. NY will always be here for you to come back to but the fact that you have taken time out to help your brother will forever be priceless. All best wishes to you and your family!

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