Maspeth living room is transformed into a Thanksgiving
dining room that can seat visiting family. Tribune
photo By Brian M. Rafferty
20 something Americans:
From Across The Country Adapt
By BRAD GROZNIK
Christmas will always be a special time in New
York. The sparkling and always-magnificent tree
at Rockefeller Center, ice skaters in Central
Park bundled in matching gloves and scarves and
the holiday window shopping on Fifth Avenue will
always make the season merry.
But what many twentysomethings are coming to realize
is there is a perspective shift the older they
get and coming to terms with it is part of growing
up and moving to the City.
Astoria is the new home to incoming, ambitious
college-graduates because of two reasons: it is
still cheap and it is an easy ride on the N train
to midtown Manhattan.
Like Williamsburg five years ago, these twentysomethings
are changing the neighborhood for better or worse,
depending on who you ask. But one thing is for
certain; they are coming and not leaving anytime
They come from all over the country and at no
time is it more apparent how far away from home
they are than Christmas.
Sean Tubridy, 24, moved to Astoria with his brother
four years ago and looks forward to this season
"It's my favorite time in the City," he said.
"People are in such a great mood."
Like most New Yorkers, the shopping and seasonal
activities are the biggest draw for Tubridy but
he never second-guesses where he will sleep Dec.
"I doubt I'll ever stop going home," he said.
"The older I get the more I enjoy sitting around
the table with my family."
Tubridy admitted to feeling antsy around the family
when he was a teenager but, as an adult, that
"When I was younger, it was awkward and I couldn't
wait to leave the table," he said.
Tubridy said he does not decorate his apartment
for the holidays but will have a party with his
friends to celebrate another year passing.
It is still really about going home at this point
for twentysomethings, Tubridy said. Going to work
day after day is still a new thing and coming
home is still standard. Many twentysomethings
still have their rooms from when they were teenagers.
The first year out of college, Tubridy was working
for a hedge fund, raking in the money.
"I remember getting my Christmas bonus check,"
he said. "I didn't know a check could have that
But his holidays were cut short that year. He
only got a day or two off and it was back to the
The next year he had quit his job to discover
"That next year I was so stressed," he said. "I
didn't know what I wanted to do-all I thought
about was getting a job."
This year, Tubridy has a job in the nonprofit
sector he is happy with and took off Christmas
week to be with his family in Connecticut.
A 20-year-old Corona resident who goes by Domer
Nbt said he loves having his family around on
"When I move away," he said, "I'll find a way
to come back."
But some twentysomethings are not as lucky to
have family so close like Kelly Corbit, 25, who
hails from Idaho.
After moving to New York last Christmas to attend
the Fashion Institute of Technology, Corbit could
not make it home and braved the holiday alone.
"It was really depressing," she said.
Many twentysomethings do not make a lot of money
and depend on their parents to buy plane, train
or bus tickets to make it home for Christmas.
Corbit said the trek home, a seven-hour plan ride,
is a lot to make time for.
"The older I get the less special it is," she
said. "I just have no time."
Corbit is able to make it home this year between
school and a part-time job. She said she looks
forward to relaxing on the couch and hanging out
with the few friends she still knows who live
in her small hometown.
"When I'm home, I feel I can really relax," she
said. "New York can be so stressful and coming
home is always so relaxing."
Bring Family Here
For those who cannot make it home, sometimes family
comes to them.
Jay Mayo is a busy 21-year-old with family living
in the Philippines, where he was raised.
Mayo, who shares a place with his sister in Astoria,
has hosted his parents for the past month. He
said his mother's cooking has offered a nice break
from the monotony of junk food and City vendors.
"It's been so nice to have my parents visiting,"
Last year, Mayo was able to take time off as a
student to fly home for Christmas but knew he
was not going to be fortunate this year.
"My parents have been planning their visit, for
like, eight months," he said. "There's a perspective
shift when you move here and you have to deal