Kyle Phoenix Answers: How do New Yorkers feel after moving to a much more rural town?
I've lived in size descending areas. Born in NYC, university in Buffalo, city of maybe a million. It felt like Long Island all the time, I had to get a car by year two because it was residential,malls, distance, small city area (downtown). I live on both campus's, and in two apartments, between downtown and campus and then eventually I lived downtown, twice. With the exception of cold, snow and hills due to midnight train an buses ending, you could walk or cab everywhere. It was inconvenient without a car.
Lived in gated private community in Pennsylvania mountains. House became a bubble and you would both plan and look forward to trip to small town about 15 miles away. It was isolated, constant quiet, a mile walk to general store, five miles to roadside restaurants, gas stations, stores. I walked it once, down three stacked"mountains". Towns claim to fame one year was escalator to second floor of mall. Front page news. Maybe a million people but scattered throughout and across maybe 50 square miles so there were people but on pockets. Small businesses and organizations littered by happenstance. It was like a small town to year round residents, crowded during tourist/ski/summer season. Perfect place for me, an introvert, writer with a car and online business. My parents /family from NYC hated it.
I moved to Brookhaven, wealthy community. Very quiet. I walked around a bit. It was a place where you went to peoples houses /events more that found stuff spontaneously. It was more cliquish but safe, pleasant, very "our town" full of Mercedes.
Bellmore, LI. Big as maybe 4 square miles. Took me a couple of weeks to realize that I was one of a few brown folk in town and the others left after work. It was odd to be racially spottable constantly but I can say while I felt White Gaze constantly I didn't feel....offended...just "oh, there he is.". While I did get into an argument with a neighbor (I admit I was a young hot head), even the police were fair, kind, professional as they squelched argument...five times. Stores were nice and it was quiet. It was like the fact that I wasn't a pack of brown folk, dressed all hippity hoppity, sagging pants, etc---stereotypes and trends---educated, well spoken, polite, had money....i was accepted., not just tolerated. It demanded that I confront my internal feelings of racial self consciousness, hyper anxiety, real racism and just rude people. Perhaps it also had to do with living in previous places that were racially dominated, non-brown folk, that I don't give off as high an uncomfortable vibe as others might. I'm used to being surrounded and also heard and respected in spite of prejudices.
Ironically I feel more self conscious about walking in more urban areas because of the desperation that leads to crime. White people demonize or feel anxiety about men of color to the point where if you're smart, subtle and confident you can deal with them deftly but other minorities aren't as intimidated.
Funny...Buffalo, Bushkill, Brookhaven, Bellmore...then Charlotte. (like a southern Buffalo) with more Black folk but areas are social economically segregated. I worked in affluent area, more White folk in purpose because I knew I presented as safe, useful, good to them while ironically to brown folk I was dismissed because I presented as educated competition.
Guerneville, California a cross between Bellmore and a hippy commune. I felt a hippy White gaze that's inspired me to write a trilogy of novels about white reaction to black arrivals.