Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chelsea Couple Find A New Home On Roosevelt Island - Enjoying Small Town Life In Little Apple NYC And Little Cranberry Island Maine Too

Stephen Quandt recently moved to Roosevelt Island. I asked him for his impressions of his new home here on Roosevelt Island.

He kindly agreed and reports:

Moving On Island

Soon after closing on our new apartment on Roosevelt Island this July (my husband Thom and I lived in Chelsea for twenty-four years) we ran away to the Maine coast for a week of stress relief and escape.

When we arrived on Little Cranberry Island, our twentieth summer there, we were greeted by many old friends the same way over and over, "Welcome Home”, they said.  Welcome home. And it was like coming home, to our magical place.  Little Cranberry has a year round population of around sixty people, and in the summer the population swells to about four hundred. It’s roughly the size of Roosevelt, maybe a little wider, and not as long.

There is one restaurant. One small grocery store about the size Roosevelt’s Subway shop, a post office, a library not much bigger than a postage stamp, a couple of art galleries and gift shops, a pottery shop and a couple of churches. That's it.

Tuesday is movie night (free) downstairs at the Neighborhood House (upstairs they show kids movies, and in the morning there is yoga.)  And if you're walking through "town" you often get delayed because you will invariably see a friend and will want to stop and talk. If you see someone in a hurry they're probably trying to "make the boat" which means they're trying to get to the Tram, oops I mean the ferry before it leaves. People who wear helmets while bicycling are definitely day-trippers.

Speaking of day-trippers, when they get off the boat and amble down the dock they'll walk into the dock shops not unlike going into the Historical Society kiosk. They buy little island maps (one dollar, supports the historical society) and tee shirts and stuffed lobster toys and homemade fudge. They ask for directions and we happily give them.  We bask in belonging but we are glad they visit.

Sometimes when I'm on the boat returning to the island I can feel the difference between us and them, the residents and the day-trippers. I know I'm coming home, and they're just visiting. They don't yet know the joy of belonging.  They don't know what it's like when the last boat leaves for the day and it's just "us". Unless of course someone misses the last boat and then one of us will put them up for the night.

I'll never forget one perfect July afternoon “on island” (don’t ask me why, but residents always drop the “the” before “island”, maybe it’s a part of belonging). That glorious day the clouds were rushing by, the just warm sun on our faces, what many of us call “sailing weather.” The annual Maypole dance was being performed in the town field by the ocean with live music and a nice crowd watching (it's too chilly in May so we always wait until July to perform it). And there was this Norwegian family, parents and two young kids, just off the boat and who had wondered into the field. Maybe they heard the music wafting towards the dock? Try to picture them. All four standing in a line staring at the dance. All four, mouths agape. All four watching the kids and grown ups weaving the maypole streamers to the notes of flutes and violins. Perhaps wondering…."Where are we?"

Thom and I have always wanted something like this year round. Our own Little Cranberry but close to the city.  And we’ve realized we've found it here on Roosevelt. Realized it when we told a Roosevelt Island friend of ours that we had just closed on our new apartment “on island” -- realized it when he sweetly and innocently said just two magical words to us. He said, "Welcome home.”
© Copyright 2017 Stephen Quandt
Another similarity between both places. At one time, Roosevelt Island was known as the "Little Apple".  Let's take a visit to Little Cranberry Island Maine and see what life is like.

Meet some of the people. Affordable housing is an issue on Little Cranberry Island too.

The local fresh lobster business is trying hard to make it a success.

The view from above

Maypole: Little Cranberry Island, Maine from The Knowles Company on Vimeo.

and Little Cranberry Island's version

of Jimmy Buffet.

Welcome home on Roosevelt Island Stephen and Thom.

UPDATE 8:10 PM - The NY Post reports today on another Island community, Newfoundland, Canada - also known as The Rock.
Roosevelt Island has also been known as The Rock.