NYC Part One: Your Mother In Law

✍️ 🕑 Late Summer 2016 • Series: My Days in New York City • Tags: New York Citylife events • Places: Brighton Beach

View from Brighton Beach B/Q Platform, January 2019
View from Brighton Beach B/Q Platform, January 2019

This site seeks to answer one question and one question alone: “Where is Steve?”

The answer: I’m in New York City.

So, how did I come to this place, what are my thoughts and feelings about it? How long can I continue to tease thus? To answer these questions, I henceforth christen this the first in a series of posts tentatively entitled “NYC Days.” And get started we will!


I could start telling this story with the day I moved to New York. A friend and I finished splitting bottle of rosé around 3 AM, after which I had to take a 6 AM flight, which became a 10 AM flight thanks to all of the security being on strike at the Berlin Airport. After four hours of bleary-eyed wandering and sandwich consumption, ridiculously exorbidant baggage fees, and a trans-Atlantic flight, I emerged from John F. Kennedy airport, and braved a ludicrously unruly taxi line as I valiantly struggled to find a Lyft that could deliver me to my sister’s air mattress.

Of course, that’s less an NYC story, and more a tale of how ludicrously out of it I can be whilst still enjoying a Danish hotdog. So, perhaps somewhere else would make a better start.

There was that time I went to NYC as a child*, seeing the world as a child, looking upon Manhattan, and quietly wondering what it would be like to live in such an “urban” environment. But, living in NYC wasn’t really something I was dreaming about. If it was, I’d probably spend less time languishing in urban ennui. Maybe.

* okay, I was 14
Statue of Liberty, 2007 - this is the single nicest photo of myself I could find from that trip...
Statue of Liberty, 2007 - this is the single nicest photo of myself I could find from that trip...

More reasonably, though, I could point to a series of NYC jaunts I took over the years, often involving the overnight Megabus and some quality time with my sister.

One particular jaunt struck a chord. But it probably needs enough contextualization that I should split this off into a separate paragraph.

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Autumn 2019
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Autumn 2019

Reverse Culture Shock is the WOOOORST

From 2015-2016, I was teaching English in Tokat, Turkey on an ETA grant. Afterwards, I was trying to figure out the next best thing to do. I returned home for the summer (or possibly longer?), and was suffering from quite a lot of reverse culture shock. And so I happened to go to NYC, and make plans to meet up with Sherri, who was a former Turkish classmate, and former English teacher in Turkey herself.

Sherri chose the restaurant.

I don’t think she could have made a better choice.

Cafe at Your Mother-In-Law is a Uyghur-Uzbek-Korean restaurant located in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

I haven’t been there since and it was 3.5 years ago, so I can’t really sit down and write a review of the meal. Instead, I will link to the review from Eat The World NYC, a lovely blog that really gets around a lot.

Punctuality: A Severe Character Flaw

My parents are perennially early to things, and though I try to be as exactly on time as I can, it’s difficult, particularly when one factors in public transit. Strangely, I recall it taking a long time to get from wherever I was staying. (White Plains?) to Brighton Beach. But, it was a lovely trip on the Q train. And by lovely I mean, a long enough trip that I made goddamned sure I was early…

Which meant I had time to explore.

And by god. Did I have time to explore.

For starters, Brighton Beach is full of little shops, selling a lot of things that I recognized well from Turkey or Georgia, things which seemed like they would be impossible to get elsewhere. Things like lots of kinds of tea I had never tried before, various kinds of kompot from Armenia and Azerbaijan, jars of food products, etc. Before I knew it I had wound up with quite a few shopping bags. Frankly, it was ridiculous.

Even better was being able to hear a mix of languages. The sound of Russian, and a smattering of Turkish brought a smile to my interculturally-deprived face.

Brighton Beach is also home to a beach. It’s not particularly nice, but it’s a beach!

And so, after my lovely dinner with Sherri, lengthy train ride north, and so on, NYC was firmly on the list of places I wouldn’t mind living at…

Selfie, Brighton Beach, Autumn 2019. Clearly my hair improved in the 12 years since that other picture of me.
Selfie, Brighton Beach, Autumn 2019. Clearly my hair improved in the 12 years since that other picture of me.

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