There Is a Reason We Don’t Live in the Suburbs

Paradise. (Getty Images)

It is called yardwork.

BrickUnderground has an amusing post about how a dream come true–that ever-so-rare Manhattan backyard–can quickly become a nightmare.

If the backyard was not swept almost daily and hosed down with a pressure hose before each play date, the children playing there looked like the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins. This is Manhattan, after all, and if you think your white sofa looks bad after a year or two exposed to the air from an open window, imagine the soot that can accumulate on balls and buckets and the like. You would find me or my husband out there, every two weeks or so, scrubbing down the toys with bleach.

Once the yard was clean, it was open for business and my husband and I were the sole proprieters and employees. I felt like I spent entire summers running up and down the staircase getting drinks and food and whatnot for clamoring toddlers and their thirsty caregivers. When actually in the backyard, I worried about little wet feet slipping on the stairs or jumping from the ‘grassy knoll’ to the patio.

The large trees around our yard made autumn torture. Imagine raking (often wet) leaves and schlepping garbage bags of them through your apartment. We actually had a gardener (not easy to find in the city and certainly not cheap) to help maintain the bushes and plant the impatiens without which my mother insisted no garden was worthwhile.

“Did you water the bushes? Did you put the bouncy castle away? Are you sure there isn’t a stray crust of pizza left outside to tempt the ‘critters’?” (To be fair, we never saw any outside save for a squirrel we named Mr. Squirrel). We constantly worried about the drain getting blocked and flooding our lower level.

Then again, maybe the problem is not the backyard so much as the Type-A Manhattanite occupying it.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

There Is a Reason We Don’t Live in the Suburbs