Come winter, when New York’s street life grows scarcer and the public parks become frozen stretches you either race through or avoid, my fantasies of suburban life are revived. They began when I was a boy, and I’ve held on to them, I think, out of a deviant nostalgia for a way of life that remains almost as alien to me as that of a farmer. The houses, as I thought of them, were like miniature castles, with their small bubbling furnaces and hideaway rooms. They seemed complete unto themselves, each set in its own apron of soil, with its inviolable border, able to contain the entirety of a person in a way that an apartment could not. You could become absorbed in such a place without leaving for weeks at a time.
Maybe it was the term “bedroom community” that first captured my imagination. I thought
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