MY TUCSON: From the lights of New York City to dark skies


New York was the only place I had ever known. The cracked sidewalks, the crunch of freshly fallen leafs, the Tudor-style houses that lined my neighborhood. It was all home.

I grew up in Westchester, 23 miles north of New York City. I used to take the train and visit my dad at work in the city.

He would take me to a little bagel place near the university where he taught. Plain bagel toasted, chocolate milk. We’d stroll near Lincoln Center and I’d stare in admiration at all the ballerinas walking around. At these moments, I was truly happy.

I was in sixth grade in 2001 when my parents told me we were moving to Arizona. The Sept. 11 tragedy had just occurred, and they felt it was time to leave. New York was not New York anymore.

We first moved to a house in Scottsdale, where I resided for three years. When I turned 14, my parents decided to move again, this time to Tucson. I couldn’t have been more annoyed.

To me, Tucson was nothing. I had only visited a few times and it seemed, for lack of a better word, boring.

I started my sophomore year of high school at Catalina Foothills. I remember how nervous I was, my head hung low. All I could think was, “get me out of here.”

At first, I didn’t appreciate Tucson’s beauty. Only the negatives stuck in my head, such as the ugliness of Speedway Boulevard. And why wasn’t there a Nordstrom department store? (Seriously?!)

In recent years, I’ve recognized Tucson’s beauty. The smell in the air right before a monsoon, those famous Tucson sunsets that always require a mobile upload to Facebook.

I now have new moments when I’m filled with utter contentment, especially whenever I drive the curved roads of Campbell Avenue, windows down, music blaring and the mountains as my backdrop.

It may not be Lincoln Center, but for now I’m more than OK with Tucson being my home.

Chloe stands next to her twin brother, David, in her native New York.

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