My mother once referred to me as “a typical midwestern boy.” She was right. The Midwest was all I knew up until the age of 23. So when I first moved to New York, I experienced a bit of culture shock.
I noticed immediately that life moved at a faster pace. People didn’t take the time to ask how you were doing as much. They were more assertive, and there was no sugar coating things out here. This way of life took some getting used to, but I eventually learned to understand the culture of New Yorkers. Still, part of me yearned for the hospitality of the Midwest.
Then I discovered Pearl River.
Driving in on my way to a blind date, I noticed a sign labeling Pearl River, “the town of friendly people.” I remember thinking, “give me a break.”
Then I met my date (a Pearl River native, who is now my wife) out in town and experienced Pearl River’s genuine friendliness first-hand. Everywhere I went folks were as nice as they could be. People were quick to smile, and everyone seemed happy to be there.
I moved to Pearl River about a year later. From there, it was one great experience after another: fine dining at Kwan Thai, efficient service at Munno’s Deli and Zimi Bagels, friendly workers at Schweizer Florist and Pete’s Barbershop—I could go on and on. I began making friends of folks who grew up here. They were all lovely people who had one thing in common: they all loved Pearl River. I could see why. This was a great place.
It turns out, the sign was right. Pearl River really is the town of friendly people.
I’ve lived here for three years now, and not since my days in Kansas City have I felt so comfortable within a community. But Pearl River still has all the things that make New York great: proximity to New York City, delicious pizza, the YES and SNY networks, and the best bagels anywhere.
But what really makes a town great is the people. That’s what separates Pearl River from the rest. Go ahead, give yourselves a pat on the back.
I don’t take our town for granted. Hopefully, neither do you. Every day I drive past that sign, I reflect how fortunate I am to be part of, “the town of friendly people.”