|Words and photos by F LoBuono|
My love for my adopted hometown of Nyack, NY is (or, should be) no secret to my family, friends, and readers of this blog. In fact, they often chide me for my effusive praise of it, calling me the "unofficial mayor". That's flattering, but I respect those who serve as our elected officials and have no desire to hold public office. Besides, most would agree that I'm unelectable anyway! But, the fact remains that I wouldn't be anywhere else. I could live elsewhere. I choose to live here.
So, it begs the question: why?
Well, there is the obvious physical beauty of the place. Being on the banks of the mighty Hudson River and at the base of the majestic Palisades provides us with breathtaking vistas and an abundance of wildlife to observe. And, it never ends. I have been photographing sunrises and sunsets every since I came to this area over 35 years ago. They took my breath away then and still do. Just the other day I had the great privilege to photograph the blazing dawn of the summer solstice.
As if that weren't enough, Nyack's (I use the name generically and incorporates the villages of South Nyack - where I actually live - as well as Upper Nyack and Grandview), greatest attribute may be its people. Their commitment to caring about how they live and maintaining the considerable diversity of this village continues to amaze and inspire me as much as the breathtaking sunrises.
And, it's demonstrated on nearly a daily basis.
Last night I was dining at one of our many, fine food establishments, when it struck me just why I love the place so much: it truly is the best of what America represents. Or, at least should.
Allow me to elaborate.
I was sitting at the bar, enjoying my standard cocktail, a bourbon Manhattan, expertly prepared by George, one of the best bartenders in town, and savoring some delicious Italian food. Because I was alone it allows me to take in everything that's going on around me. It was then that I noticed something that was truly extraordinary and summarizes just why this village is so special. The restaurant is owned by an Italian immigrant. I, a son of Sicilian immigrants, was eating Italian food prepared mostly by Latino immigrants. My cocktail was mixed by an Egyptian immigrant. I had a wonderful conversation with a fair, blonde women sitting next to me. To her left, a bunch of George's buddies were having a great time and carrying on their conversations in Arabic - while to the right of me a group of waiters and busboys were holding their conversations in Spanish. And, all of this was happening while the Yankees were playing the Chicago White Sox on the television.
THIS is Nyack, THIS is America. THIS is why I am proud to live here.