Hometown Nostalgia: Long Island and New Mexico Edition
Written by Bwog Staff
In this next installment of tales from homeville, hear from Daily Editor Liz Jacob on the much-maligned Long Island, and read a submission from New Mexico-native Simon Rimmele. Other reader dispatches are more than welcome. Send your photos and anecdotes to [email protected]
Roslyn Heights, NY
I live on Long Island. Specifically, I live in a small pocket of Roslyn Heights called the S-Section, where all the street names begin with—you guessed it—the letter “S.” Quintessentially suburban, the S-Section boasts lanes with names like Strawberry, Sycamore, and Snapdragon—cute, yet terribly impractical. Located on Shepherd Lane is the S-Section Park, which features only a child-sized jungle gym and bucket swing set. It used to have adult-size swings, but town officials removed them, hoping to discourage neighborhood teens from loitering (read: smoking pot, which they still do anyway). In this winter season, my house, with its traditional Santa Claus standing guard at the front door, is one of very few decorated for Christmas. When my family and I first moved to the S-Section, our neighbors’ lack of holiday cheer astounded us. Later on, however, after receiving kind invitations to join the local synagogue (our last name is Jacob—misunderstandings abound), we realized that we were surrounded not by Grinches, but rather, by Jews.
I’m from Albuquerque. Actually I’m not from Albuquerque. I’m from a tiny little town that’s not even close to New Mexico’s best and only metropolitan area (here defined as place with buildings rising more than three stories and presence of Trader Joe’s). But in the same way New York City is New York, Albuquerque is New Mexico. So I’m from Albuquerque.
If you’re already acquainted with the Duke City it’s either because you flew there before renting a car and going to “quaint” and “so beautiful” Santa Fe, or because you watched many episodes of COPS before our mayor unceremoniously evicted the show’s camera crews for obvious reasons. My parents for one refused to let me go to college there because “have you seen what happens on that show?” More recently, AMC’s quite good. Breaking Bad gave those who missed COPS’ glorious daytime run a similarly criminal introduction to my city.
Albuquerque has a character both undefinable and unpronounceable. Our regional dialect is nothing but countless attempts to find a suitable and practical nickname for a city with three ‘u’s and two ‘q’s. My favorites are ‘buque (say like bouquet, but stress the first syllable) and the stop-consonantal ABQ (ah-b-ke). Trapped by the insanity and inanity of Texas and Arizona to the east and west, the unbearable naval-gazing earthship denizens of Santa Fe and Taos to the north, and Mexico to the south, Albuquerque has to fend for itself. As a population of nomadic Air Force families, native Americans, semi-native ranchers and east coast retirees we are bound by the sense that “we’re all in this together,” even if we don’t quite know what “this” is.
So I guess I don’t know what makes Albuquerque special. I can’t even work in a cheer for a local sports team because we only have the minor league Albuquerque Isotopes, who themselves moved from Springfield in the mid 1990s. If there’s one thing we all have in common its our love for green chili (our biggest export!), which you’ll just have to experience for yourself. The weather’s always nice, the drainage canals are great for skateboarding, and if you’re into film making we have great subsidies for that too. And even if you can’t make it in person, you can always see Albuquerque every Wednesday night on the AMC channel.