Making the Transition from Maine to NYC,the village of Irvington,on the Hudson,offers the best of both worlds with scenic water views, parks, and a short train ride to Grand Central.

With its many amenities and progressive vibe, Irvington, home to legendary Washington Irving, is the kind of friendly place Millennials want to move to after a stint in the City and babies start arriving.  My sister and her family moved to the village center over twenty years ago because of great public schools and an easy commute to Manhattan (36 to 55 minutes) on Metro North Railroad’s Hudson line.  An almost empty-nester, she’s given me a place to stay (I’ve been as helpful as I can possibly be) while looking for a room to rent in Brooklyn.

Irvington has attracted industry big names and celebrities alike. The first African American woman millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker, made her fortune creating a hair straightening formula. Eileen Fisher has her corporate headquarters here, along with a retail shop and second hand outlet. I recently passed Meredith Vieira on a walk in the woods, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are the newest neighbors.

While Irvington has its mansions and tony neighborhoods, it does offer condominiums, cooperative apartments, rental units, and some affordable housing. Taxes are high, then again, garbage pick up each week is Monday, Thursday, and recycling Wednesday.

I feel like I’ve been on vacation as my days include reading the New York Times each morning starting with the Arts and Business sections, taking long walks on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, walking the dog, Cactus, in the 400-acre Irvington Woods, and enjoying train excursions to Manhattan.  Irvington is a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll 19 miles away.


Old Croton Aqueduct Trail


One of my favorite houses on the trail.


Another view on the Croton Aqueduct trail. I love trees, even more so since reading “The Overstory.”

I  so love the train!  Riding off-peak is $19.50 round trip. In less than an hour, Metro North deposits you in the magical world of Grand Central, and you are swept along with the tides of humanity to all the dizzying din that is NYC. This apt quote by Charles Baudelaire captures it: “What strange phenomena we find in a great city. All we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.” Check out on Instagram, Subway Creatures.

I recently met up with a friend from Maine who was baby sitting her grand child in Manhattan.  When I explained taking the subway and locating her address, she responded, “Wow, I don’t know how to do that.” Another recent field trip was to“The Whitney”, The High Line, and a new Swedish Bakery Fabrique, that boasts the best, ever, cardamon Rolls. I’m getting around.

Best of all, I qualify for senior discount MTA subway and buss fares!  A single ride is $2.75: senior, $1.35;  A 30-day unlimited pass is $127.00 a month:  Senior, $63.50; A 7-day unlimited pass is $33.00: senior, $16.50  Something to be grateful for (I list them daily) in this youth-obsessed culture.

How lucky am I to be living again with one of my siblings at this age!  We’ve been able to support each other during times of big change for us both.  After being the sole occupant of my home for so long, I’m really enjoying sharing my space. I even think I said a few years ago, I’m kinda tired of living alone.

Well, this will sorely be tested as I try to find a room to rent in the city and live again with a roommate, more likely roommates, after 40 years. It would be so easy to just pay rent here with my sister, but I know deep in my heart, I’d disappoint myself.  So… this begs the question:

Can a woman my age find a room to rent in the fresh, young, cutting edge world of Brooklyn?

The answer will surprise you.


  1. Wendy Barrett · December 6, 2019

    It’s wonderful to hear your voice and writing again, dear Cousin of the Ottmann kind! Fun caption detail: Alisa is reading The Overstory also! She’s read beautiful passages to me. (I need to remember to put it on my list!).


    • connieottmann · December 6, 2019

      Hey Wendy! thanks for the note! I’m excited and have moved to my apartment in Brooklyn two day ago. I’ll be writing about how I found a roommate! Interesting.


  2. Alisa R Wolf · December 6, 2019

    Hi Connie: This is Alisa of Wendy and Alisa…I love that you’re taking these risks, so inspiring! I am reading The Overstory now and really loving it. It’s so great that you can live in a place that’s a little bit country and just a train ride away, a little bit rock and roll–the best of both worlds. Looking forward to the next installment. Alisa


    • connieottmann · December 6, 2019

      thanks so much for the note, Alisa! It has been interesting so far–especially finding a roommate! I’ll be writing about that coming up!


  3. Jenny · December 7, 2019

    Very much looking forward to your city journey.


  4. Debra Jacques Minervino · December 7, 2019

    Love reading your blog. Your words and photos bring your story to life for me. Not being the adventurous type myself, I can tell you how wonderful it is to experience this with you second hand. Carry on!


  5. Cathy Whorf · December 7, 2019

    Once again…thank you for sharing your experience with us! I am another one of those folks who needs to pick up The Overstory. Dealing with the ‘land barron’ to the west of my lake, and his clear cutting, has lead me to soaking up as much info as I can about how this affects everything around it. I originally fell in love with the redwoods out west. You really can hug a tree that is thousands of years old and feel a connection. The trees on Lake Tahoe smell like vanilla and are soft to embrace. What we are doing to trees up here in Maine is a disgrace. Ok…off my tangent….I can’t remember the name of the park in NYC that I went to on a chilly November day a few years ago, I think it started with a ‘B’, but it has all of these little craft vendors. I think you would love, love, love it! I also loved the people in NYC. They were warm and inviting. They really have a sense of who the tourists are and if they see any hint of confusion they will offer to help get you to where you want to go. Someday I’ll go back but for now I’m going to enjoy your blog! Oh…and please be safe!


    • connieottmann · December 8, 2019

      Hi Cathy, I hope things work out for you. Meditate on it! It think you are referring to Bryant Park, near the library and Grand Central! It’s beautiful this time of year. So nice to hear from you, and I appreciate you reading my blog!


  6. Valerie Nesbit Hoff · December 15, 2019

    So there you are. I so admire what you are doing. You just came up in a conversation the other day. I was telling someone about when you had just arrived here in NZ and we were sitting around gabbing about what you wanted to experience. You said you had never felt an earthquake, and within a very short time one hit, strong enough to slam teh metal chimney against something which made me shriek. I will enjoy following your blog. Glad you found a place to live so fast. You will make the most of this adventure.


    • connieottmann · December 15, 2019

      Hi Val! So nice to hear from you. I catch your posts on Facebook–boy oh boy do I remember that! And the volcano. I recall looking at it from your upstairs bedroom where I stayed.Glad you are back in NZ. I really hope to make it back there at some point. I heard from Jen that she and Mal will be in Maine sometime this spring. I have to be in Maine the end of June for a wedding but would love to catch up with them. I told he to let me know when they thought they’d be in Maine. I still have two of your art books! Will return when I see you again…which is soon, I hope. So enjoy our conversations.


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