What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

I’m Leaving My Heart In Broad Channel


Can you believe the view from our dock? Photo by Beloved, taken on Christmas Day, 2013

As much as I love the nutty little island where Beloved and I live, I never expected to profile it on this space. But here I am in Broad Channel, disoriented, filled with trepidation, and surrounded by a hundred boxes and lots of crumpled tissues.

It’s moving day for us. Like nine tenths of our island, we are moving out so Build it Back can lift our house, and I am freaking out a little bit. Don’t misunderstand me. We are grateful for the program, and we know our house will be much safer from water and weather when it’s done. And the adorable-if-tiny Lenox Hill apartment that Beloved and I found will be a lovely place to hang our hats for the half year it will likely take the contractors to finish the work. But I have grown attached to this goofy, impractical, comfortable, welcoming little house in ways I never imagined were possible. I feel like I’m leaving a good friend. It’s profoundly unsettling, and terribly sad, and fills me with the hopefully irrational worry that we’ll never feel truly home again. We’ll be back, yes. But when we get back, our quirky little house will be another seven feet in the air, as will most of the neighbors’ houses. I’m sure it will eventually feel normal again, but there’s definitely going to be an adjustment period. And while Beloved and I have decided that this is our last hurrah, our NYC adventure, our year of living (a little) dangerously, it still feels right this minute like a tiny death.

If I weren’t already a blogger, I suspect today would have inspired me to become one. I want to tell you the story of our welcome to the island. We were Brooklyn renters when I got the homeowner bug. Our good friend J. was buying a house in Broad Channel. Beloved and I had spent a fair amount of time here a decade+ before, but until J. moved into her beautiful house on the water, we never considered living here. After our visit to Casa J., we were hooked.

On our first day in our own house, I was alone unpacking while Beloved was back in Brooklyn cleaning the gorgeous pre-war apartment we were starting to think we were crazy for leaving. During my household ablutions, the two young women – then tweens – in the article below came to check me out. They wanted to come in, but I told them they couldn’t without a parent, thinking that would dissuade them. Not only did they come back with their mothers, they brought siblings, neighbors, family and friends with them. Unpacking took a back seat to the spontaneous party, and when my costume box was discovered by the kids, they even put on a fashion show. It was the perfect first day in a community that could have felt foreign to us, but never did.

This place and these people have always made us feel welcome and accepted and appreciated. There are a million things, big and small, that could have separated us from our neighbors – our politics, our relationship, our (lack of) religion, our personal style – but none of that ever seemed to matter to this generous, kind community.

So it is with a very heavy heart and many longing looks back that we walk away, albeit temporarily. I genuinely care for these girls, and their mothers and fathers families, and all the neighbors who became friends. Please know that we will miss you all, and we will count the days until we can be back in our hilarious, scenic, friendly, rustic, welcoming home again. Try to have fun without us. Game night at our house in 2018?

Much love,
Donna & Beloved

What It’s Like To Live On A Hidden Island “No One Has Ever Heard Of”



Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

21 thoughts on “I’m Leaving My Heart In Broad Channel

  1. When I moved out of Rockaway (just across the Cross Bay Bridge–but you know that already) I felt the same anxiety bordering on despair that you may be experiencing. Rockaway was where I grew up, where I rode the barrels between the jetties and dodged the life guards wanting just one more swim before every bit of skin became wrinkled and the sun went down. The penny arcade on 116th street. The never-ending games of Monoply that strung together summer nights to summer nights. And while I continued to come back weekend after weekend to teach my children how to ride the same waves without swallowing too much ocean, I never lived there full time again. That was over 50 years ago, but I still have the Rockaway sand between my toes. And I miss it every night when I think I can hear Taps being played over at Ft. Tilden. I hope your next year passes quickly and that your return will be on a flat bed float strewing flowers and boas to the adoring crowd of neighbors welcoming you back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I feel your sense of homesickness. When I traveled for work (I do not travel for pleasure – that is an oxymoron to me), my body would truly ache for home. It is awful to have to be away for so long, but it wonderful that you will be able to return Home. There truly is no place like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I felt the same emotions you are describing when we moved out of “the country” into the suburbs of Austin (albeit for a very good reason). I was incredibly sad, but worse: I was claustrophobic. What saved me was The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: After the move, I realized that I lived blocks from this treasure. When I started to feel hemmed in, I would go for a walk at the Wildflower Center and breath in the open land covered in beauty.

    I love how you are describing the interim living arrangement as your NYC adventure and your year of living (a little) dangerously. We have been in Austin proper for 4 years now, and I’m starting to see the convenience of running across the street for a carton of cream rather than driving twenty minutes into town and another twenty minutes back.


    • How lovely that you found your happy place! We are a few blocks from Central Park, Museum Mile, and the Governor’s mansion. I’m sure we’ll find our happy place, too. Currently, my happy place is this watermelon cucumber margarita at one of the restaurants across the street!


  4. We will keep the home fires burning!🏠💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Separation Anxiety is a female dog. Good Luck. ~~dru~~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is beautiful, Donna. You are very lucky. And, as you know, a year will fly by.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As you know my parents grew up on Broad Channel and I have the privilege of saying I was born there. My mom lived on Church Road and Smitty, my dad (yes the real “Smitty”) on E. 9th. I hope I’ll get back there one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks like a beautiful spot (Beloved’s featured photo is stunning) and reading what you wrote about it and the linked article makes me think Broad Channel is almost a pocket in time, that it has retained some old school charm and community that has been lost in so many places for various reasons. I can completely understand why it is so wrenching to leave your home and community behind, albeit temporarily. I hope all the work goes smoothly and to plan so that you are back there, safe and sound, in what feels like just a jiffy. I look forward to your progress reports.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hugs, hope, love and yet more tissues coming your way my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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