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We just spent Shabbat in Newton outside of Boston. Gavin's uncle started a family tree and found the Samuels branch in Chicago. One son Rabbi Samuels lives in Newton.
So many people asked us if we like living in a big city and I answer that I live in a village. I really feel that NY is a series of villages. You live, shop and socialize in a few block radius. There may be many nail places or dry cleaners but you use the local ones. I have lived on the same corner for 13 years and I know the doormen, flower sellers, the fruit sellers and local homeless person, Diane. The guy at the corner market knows what kosher supervision is good and reprimanded Gavin once telling him that his choice was not good for someone with a black kippa. Each time I gave birth Diane brought-a bag of fluffy toys to my doorman who each time incredulously called up to say Diane had left a gift.
We always remark how Diane knows her Orthodox clientele in the neighborhood. She usually asks for $1 but on Friday she asks for $2 as she knows we don't give money on Shabbat. She asks for money for both Xmas and Chanukah. When Gavin asked her how she can double dip she said they are separate and she celebrates both. My most favorite Diane story however was the time I walked into the building with a male friend. When Gavin came home she was waiting at the subway steps to tell him that I came home with another man. She then proceeded to tell him "don't worry he is chubbier than you".
Oh the joys of living in NY!