Thank You to New York

The day has come. 
We leave for Ecuador tonight.
I really can’t believe it.
My heart has been bursting with love for New York and for our friends here.
I wrote this a couple of nights ago and sobbed all the way through it.

New York…

Thank you for chewing me up and spitting me out. So many times. On the curb, to be exact. Once when my first purchased apartment caught fire. Once on 9/11 when I got locked out of my apartment. Many times while working late nights and sacrificing my health and well being. Once on Park Ave. when my husband called off baby-making, marriage, and love. I’m thankful for all of it. I have learned so, so much. I wouldn’t change any of it.

Thank you for the best meals of my life. For introducing me to hummus and grape leaves and the best black and white cookies in New York. Thanks for making some ridiculously amazing pizza that I still crave, the best falafel ever, Thai food I have eaten more than any other meal, pho soup that has become Brooklyn comfort food, and thank you even for my first taste of sushi. (yes, it’s true. I had my first sushi in New York.)

Thank you for being the place in which I would transform my life. I learned about the real kind of love here. I felt love. I cultivated love. I feel like love changed my life.

Thank you for streets I walked while feeling empowered, songs I listened to (over and over) while healing my soul, people’s faces I loved on the subway and on the street as I learned to love the world, and love my life.

Thank you for small apartments and gatherings of friends. Dining on couches and floors. And small living rooms that were creative think tanks for business ideas, conversations about religion, politics, renovations, life, love, families.

Thank you for the amazing Brooklyn children we know and love (I’m straight up bawling as I write this). For their unbelievable love for us. For coming to find us and sit by us at church. For running to us and drawing pictures for us. For being such a beautiful and joyful part of our lives. And for thinking we’re the same thing as they’re grandparents (true story :). And also, for their dear parents who loved us, too, and involved us in their lives.

Thank you for surrounding me with the best women in the world (and their amazing husbands). They’re the best friends I could ever ask for. So talented, so kind, so strong, so creative, so smart, so giving, so everything I want to be. (sooob) I truly feel like one of the luckiest women in the world. I’ve had the best Brooklyn family.

Thank you for all the wonderful gay and lesbian friends I’ve made in New York. Thank you for a Mormon bishop who came out of the closet. For lesbians who are dearest friends and mentors. For dear gay neighbors who have been together 30 years and will marry in June. I didn’t know a gay person before coming to New York at age 23. I still had lingering childhood stigmas, fears, judgements. ugh 🙁 🙁 . But I’m thankful, oh so, so, so thankful for experiences that have helped me move past all of that.

 (photos from the NYC Gay Pride Parade, June 2013. We walked with the gay Mormons.)

Thank you for coworkers who made me laugh so hard I cried. For being family at work. For amazing conversations.

Thank you for a precious baby named Beatrice. Helping to plan her funeral was one of the greatest honors of my life. The tremendous love and care and tasks of Brooklyn men, women, and children made that week one I will remember forever. The love we all felt for each other and the love we felt from God was as near to heaven as I think I’ve ever been.

Thank you for amazing life experiences I would have only dreamed of. Suite box finals at the U.S. Open (even Andre Agassi’s last match!), spring breaks in St. Barths, date nights with courtside seats at the Nets, galas at The Rainbow Room, Mets games from behind home plate, opening nights at the NY Film Festival, and sailing the Greek Isles and the Turkish coast. (my previous job had some perks!!!)

Thank you for a woman who lived in the projects at 191 Sands Street. She taught us how to think of others’ needs before your own. Even as she was dying, she taught us how to call your friends on the phone to see how they’re doing, she taught us how to dedicate her entire life to service. She inspired a community of women to join together to care for her in her last days. And she left a legacy of motherhood, faith, and sacrifice that we will never forget.

Thank you for the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the best thing to see after a road trip. It always made me feel like I was home.

Thank you for all those designer friends who have shown me
what good taste is all about
and for making me somewhat of a design snob in the making.
(A tortured one, however, as I don’t have the skills to design anything myself.)

Thank you for the most beautiful seasons in the world. They are perfection. The spring cherry blossoms and magnolias, skipping through the streets, and dining al fresco. The summer concerts and fireflies, overflowing window boxes, and endless days in the park. Fall mums on stoops, breathtaking trees of Brooklyn, the cutest Halloween on earth in Park Slope, and trips to Storm King and Sleepy Hollow. And yes, winter. The first snows and the cozy apartments, glorious Christmas in New York, sledding in the park, and a word only New Yorkers can appreciate: Trashcicles.

Thank you for walks or runs in Prospect Park, feeling alive, feeling creative, and sometimes feeling so happy
or moved or full of love that tears would stream down my face. Thank you for all the walks I’ve had with friends and for evening strolls with my husband. And thank you
for all the amazing walks we’ve had with new blog friends.

And, thank you for being the city in which I would meet the love of the life. I cherished you before, but cherish you even more for being the city where Danny and I loved for the first time, where we held hands for the first time, where we walked the streets together in union, where we made a home together.

Dear readers here, we can’t thank you enough for coming along with us on this journey to Ecuador. We plan to put even more time and effort into this space. Because we believe in the goodness of every human being and their ability to
grow and experience the miracle of peace, even in the worst of life’s moments. We hope to get even better at sharing that message.
Thank you for ALL the unbelievable support and excitement you’ve sent our way. It means the world. We love you. We thank you. And we’ll write you from Ecuador very soon.


P.S. Has a city or town ever meant a lot to you? Tell me which one and why! I’d love to hear as I’m a sentimental mess right now. 🙂


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  1. Pam G March 28, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Oh Mara and Danny! Your sharing on this site has always been so generous and I hope you feel all of our gratitude here. Wishing you a safe journey and blessings for many, many joyful days ahead.

    As for saying goodbye to beloved cities, mine was New York, too. My airport transport had to collect a person from each street I ever lived on or had some special connection to, it was the strangest coincidence, but just so like New York. It was the most bittersweet farewell. However, the life that I didn't know awaited me is wonderful and so full of all I dreamed of: love, family, a happy home and a connection to the world around me that I was too busy to be aware of before.

    So much beauty awaits you and Danny! Enjoy! God bless you always.

    Much love,


  2. Utah Girl Am I March 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    This is beautiful, Mara. You made me all nostalgic for DC, and I haven't even left yet! (No plans to either!) Buena suerte a los dos en este nuevo capítulo de sus vidas! The nice thing about blogs is that they continue regardless of where you live in this great big world, and I'm excited to see what ABAL, Ecuador edition looks like! 🙂

  3. KMH March 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Oh Mara,

    My heart goes out to you both! What a beautiful post and such a great and exciting time ahead! I'm envious of your journey and can't wait to tag along via this medium.

    You're not alone in feeling so grateful towards a city or a place. For me, it was Lyon, France, where I took off to after my Master's degree. I went on a whim and lived there for 6 months, alone. I learned so much about myself and what I want in life. I learned not to stress the small things, to enjoy every minute of every day, and to be comfortable in my own skin and most of all, my own company. It helped that the city is absolutely gorgeous and the people were kind. I'm excited to return someday and see how it makes me feel after time has gone by.

    Enjoy Ecuador! You are so deserving.


  4. Kate Legnetti March 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    I was wondering when you guys were leaving! Have a wonderful trip…if they figure out a secure transport system for Hanco's, we'll send you some 🙂
    Safe flying!

  5. Birdie in DC March 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Good luck on your next adventure!! We fell in love in San Francisco, and I think I feel some of those same feelings for that city. And now in DC, I feel like I have grown a ton. I loved this post!

  6. zben March 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    I don't know how you wrote this, I'm bawling and I'm not saying goodbye to a hometown! But I do love NYC having spent a solid chunk of my formative years there and many happy days since. And I love you two wonderful courageous souls! I'm so very excited for this new chapter in your lives and appreciate you taking us all along for the ride. xoxo, zina

  7. Heather March 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful post, best of luck in Ecuador. The way you are both trying to live your lives is such an inspiration to me, thank you.

  8. marlene March 28, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Good luck you two! Mara that was beautiful. So bittersweet. NYC isn't going away. It's going on the back burner; a crockpot. There, it will percolate and age and flavor in a way that will be even more wonderful when you return to it! Think of it that way. Safe travels and looking forward to reading about all the ways you guys will touch other people's lives and vice versa!

  9. Anonymous March 28, 2014 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    You guys are amazing! I love reading your beautiful uplifting words, they mean a lot to me.
    Donna, Upstate NY!

  10. Anonymous March 28, 2014 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Nice way to say farewell to a city you both love. Enjoy the adventure that awaits in Ecuador!!

  11. megan March 29, 2014 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Good luck to you both! It was fun meeting you guys way back when and following your life on your blog! New York will still be here. 🙂

  12. Unknown March 29, 2014 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Hey Mara, it was so sad to read this but New York isn't going anywhere & will always be here if you & Danny ever want to come back. Beirut was my childhood home and I miss it a lot. Buffalo & New York feel like home too. I'm always missing "home" because I can't be in all three at the same time. It's a fortunate problem to have. Have a wonderful time on your new journey! I can't wait to read more. xo, Rita

  13. Original Kos March 29, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Tears. So, so so sad you're leaving. Honestly, it's hard for me to believe. I just feel like I'll see you tomorrow. I'm so excited for you though and can't wait to follow your adventures. Come visit us in San Francisco, okay? Oh man, even as I write that I just can't wrap my mind around it. New York City is such a magical place. So much love for you and Danny! xo

  14. Karen Lewis March 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    "Bon courage!" On your new chapter. I left New York 15 years ago to head back to graduate school in Boston. Leaving the city was a week of really poignant goodbyes, to people and places. As I drove out of Brooklyn Sarah McLaughlin's "angel" played on the radio. That song had such meaning for me as it was playing the first time I took the Roosevelt Island tram. We floated back into sparkling magical manhattan as that song played – an incredible moment. And there it was, supporting me as I moved onto the next phase, the next place.

    Im new(ish) to your blog – but I have every confidence you and Danny are going to do so much healing and growing during this next chapter. I cannot wait to share in your love journey! And while I'm sad I won't be able to take you up on your prospect park walk offer when I'm visiting New York this spring, I'll make sure to take a walk in my own home and dwell on how much love there is in the entire world ( which includes South America!). – Karen

  15. Elizabeth March 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I found your blog because Madison posted about it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, but in the short time that I've been reading it I've fallen in love with the way you love! It's so beautiful, uplifting and inspiring, and I can't wait to see what you find as your adventure continues. You know living here it's easy to get down on NY for all the ways it beats you up, but I've shared this post with my people in nyc so we can remember why we love it so much and what a beautiful life it is. Thank you for that and buena suerte!

  16. Margaret March 30, 2014 at 3:31 am - Reply

    This was a beautiful post. It made me so homesick for my beloved Maryland, which I left 3 1/2 years ago. Like in NYC, the seasons there were perfect, and spring was glorious. I will go back someday!

  17. beckus1234 March 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    When I think of you, I think of love and beauty! Happy travels!

  18. Eunice K. March 31, 2014 at 1:44 am - Reply

    beautiful post – good luck in ecuador!

  19. Scarlett March 31, 2014 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Loved this post, Mara! Thank you for being part of my Brooklyn family. You made me feel so welcome here, literally from the day we moved into our apartment. I have the best memories of spending time with you and our other friends in those tiny living rooms…it really means so much to me. And it's been so inspiring to see how much you really have changed. I admire your courage, strength, positivity, and self confidence so much, and I know how hard you worked to get to where you are now. So happy to know you and Danny! Can't wait to see what new adventures are ahead for you two. Will miss you, though! xo

  20. Katie Elizabeth Hawkes March 31, 2014 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Oh so lovely. I have nothing but awesome admiration for both of you for walking to support a gay pride parade — just….good on ya. Also, I'm assigning you to listen to Marie Digby's "Beauty in Walking Away." It's one of my best "leaving town" songs. And then move on to The Band Perry's "Pioneer." Go get 'em!!!

  21. Mimi March 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    This so made me cry right along with you! Love your blog! Cheers to new adventures and new beginnings 🙂

  22. dervla @ The Curator April 1, 2014 at 3:12 am - Reply

    what about a huge THANK YOU to you, too (and two)! Thank you for sharing your life with us readers, thank you for sharing your infectious love of NYC, thank you for continuing to dream and hope – because you inspire all of us. This is not goodbye at all…

  23. Savon April 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I think this is the best blog post I've ever read. Thank you. Good luck!

  24. Jeff April 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Wow, I am envious. I have been daydreaming about visiting New York for years now and can't seem to make it. Something always gets in the way. Your experience is a reminder of my dream.

    Great article, continue the journey. Looking forward to your Ecuador article.

  25. marni zarr April 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Beautiful words Mara. Best wishes as life moves forward. xo

  26. Nicole Benson April 8, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Why am I also coming to tears reading this? Lol… it is a very touching, genuine, and beautiful post. You have a gift for beautiful writing. I'm almost curious to check out apartment listings in NYC now haha… you've made me want to fall in love with it too! Can't wait to hear of your adventures to Ecuador! Hope you two the best 🙂

  27. Sophia Staska April 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I've been reading your blog for several months now and have loved the love! It's also really great to experience some of your travels and experiences vicariously– not that I want anything other than the life I have (6 amazingly energetic and charming children)– but it's nice to step out for some change of scenery, too 🙂 I loved this post, like the others, but wanted to offer my perspective on your pride in gay pride. I don't attempt to convince anyone of anything, just share my perspective.

    Why is it that so many consider disagreeing with someone as close-mindedness? Why does that accusation only go one direction, i.e. "a close-minded person disagrees with me, an open-minded one agrees"? Can we only love people if we accept every choice they make? I ask these questions because of the common assumption that love and complete acceptance are synonymous. I love that your love of others shows in your actions, but to those who love me, I don't insist they show it by celebrating everything I do, especially the things they disagree with on moral grounds.

    Also, perhaps you didn't intend this, but it seemed implied that New York is the best place to find enlightenment (maybe you just meant for your personal journey). I've seen this in several people I've known who lived there for awhile. They've expressed their newfound enlightened state and assumed that without being there, others hadn't had access to the same knowledge. I believe enlightenment comes to any soul that opens itself up to God and the truth that flows from Him, no matter the location.

    Like others, I look forward to hearing more about your Ecuadorian adventures!

    • Anonymous April 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      I don't think Mara mentioned "closed minded."

    • Anonymous April 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Sophia.

  28. Anonymous April 29, 2014 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I just started reading your blog through your post on Cup of Jo, which was thoughtful and sincere. I moved from New York City to Edinburgh 9 months ago and have been terribly homesick ever since. I feel like i think about all of those things I loved about NYC every single day and it brings me to tears. I have been incredibly negative about the move and appreciate your blog for helping me try to step back and take some perspective on what I have and have gained since moving here rather than what I have lost. Something needs to change because I feel I am becoming a terrible person who I don't even like.

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