Moving from NY to San Antonio in 1993 was a major lifestyle change for me & my family (my wife, Laurie & our 9 y/o daughter, Heather)…
…in, oh, so many ways!!!
The “pace” was perceptibly slower down South, which I actually found to be a welcome change after 37 hectic years in the Big Apple.
While I only worked in Manhattan for 3 years with Irving Trust Company (on Wall Street as a securities clerk while I attended Pace University), then another ~4 months as a VP with Citi (running PID/Process Improvement & Development, then getting my feet wet in Tax Shelter/Retirement Plan Services as Operations Director), working anywhere in the NY metropolitan area is, er, an adventure!
Note: Whenever you mention “NY” to a normal person, their thoughts immediately turn to the huge skyscrapers, Broadway & the crazy hubbub of a dense robotic-human jungle.
But that’s really just the borough of Manhattan…and even at that, it’s mostly just the downtown Financial District/Wall St & midtown Manhattan that’s “like that”!
The transition to the beautiful city of San Antonio…often cited as one of the very best cities in which to live & retire…was more than just work-related.
(Note: Recently, with this COVID-19 pandemic & all the remote work & learning activities undertaken, it was named as the “best major U.S. city to work from home” by inmyarea.com, a firm specializing in comparing WFH services based on technology & housing.)
The people down here “tawk” funny, though 27 years later, they STILL accuse me of having an accent!!!
What absolute nonsense! Where do deez guys get deez dumb idears from?
Ah, jus’ fuhgeddaboudit!
The city has a huge Hispanic/Mexican influence & is truly part of the Old West. The Shrine of the Alamo is more than just a popular tourist attraction.
That diversity equates to different cuisines (lots of Tex-Mex, BBQ, taco & tamale joints, etc.), different backgrounds/attitudes of its people & a humongous difference in the cost of living* from what I was used to back in NY!
* Citi used a Runzheimer (a business consulting organization that provides, amongst other things, relocation information services and business expense solutions) analysis to determine COL/cost of living scales to help classify the various cities in which it does business or have operations. There are 5 strata, ranging from the top tier with NY, SF & other “high-rent districts” down to the lowest with San Antonio.
NY (with 100 being “average”) scores a 135-150 (very expensive) while SA gets an 87. Oh, BTW, like golf, a low score is better (for COL expenses). Salaries, however, correlate to the COL score (for all levels, up through VP).
And transplanted employees from other sites across the country were allowed to keep their original NY/FL/IL/CA/etc. salaries after relocating!
And I surely know just HOW VERY MUCH this annoyed the shit outta those USCC employees who were brought on board in San Antonio.
BTW, I continually fought for higher salaries for ALL USCC staff!!!
The San Antonio site may, indeed, have been in the “lowest” salary band for all Citi U.S. locations, but there was a great deal of flexibility AND UPWARD MOVEMENT within that band that the senior powers-that-be simply refused to adopt from the very beginning.
In my opinion, it was a pretty stupid & very short-sighted decision & one that greatly contributed to the exodus of hundreds of talented & experienced Citi employees to “USCC Building #4”!
Another perfect (?) example of “penny wise, but dollar foolish”
One of the most drastic changes we faced after relocating to the Alamo City regarded my love & insatiable desire of sports.
In NY, I was a rabid Knick fan in basketball, but we also had the Nets (Long Island/NY, then New Jersey, now Brooklyn) to watch.
Strangely enough, I absolutely loved the Boston Bruins in hockey. In NY, we had the teams I hated…the Rangers, the Islanders & the Devils.
Football? Big Jets fan (😭 😭 😭)…long-suffering…and there was also the Giants. Pls don’t pay any attention whatsoever to those crybabies over in NJ!
Both teams may, indeed, play their home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, but they belong to NY…in name & in spirit.
Oh, by the way, the Bills up in Buffalo technically play football within the NY State borders, but they may as well be in Canada.
New York (as in NYC) & New York (as in the now-4th most populous state in the nation) are absolutely “worlds apart” – – most especially, in attitude!
And for my first love, baseball, I’ve always been a crazed Yankees fan (due to my outstanding taste!) & there was also this other team in town.
The Mutts? The Mess? Yeah, the Mets!
Loved college basketball, especially St. John’s, my sister’s alma mater & the entire Big East Conference (Georgetown, Syracuse, Connecticut, etc.), but, honestly, all amateur sports, at all levels, took a back seat to the pros.
All in all, 4 professional sports leagues, 9 teams!
San Antonio had the Spurs.
Could I survive? Would I survive?
Yes, high school football is big in SA & TX & the state certainly loves its college football, but…
And that was a big but, waaaaaaaay bigger than even my big butt!
What can a boy do?
The Spurs immediately became my adopted team!
They were a good team, but not a great one. That is, until they drafted Tim Duncan in ’97. An NBA championship in ’99.
Then, they drafted Manu Ginobili in ’99 (but he played another 3 years in Italy before joining the Spurs).!And, finally, Tony Parker in ’01!
They soared from good to great to one of the best teams this century!
Championships in ’99, ’03, ’05, ’07 & ’14! Best record of any active NBA franchise!
But more than anything, they were a great group, always playing a special brand of team basketball. Their players were solid citizens. They were active in the community & for 2 decades, the Spurs were the most-admired franchise in the entire NBA.
I remember the very first game I attended with, of course, Heather. It was November 1993 & we were still very new to SA.
And, of course, it was a Knicks game, played at the Alamodome. I had yet to convert to Spurism.
My biggest highlight was actually after the game!
Heather & I came down from our seats & walked rightn onto the floor, something that absolutely NEVER would have happened back at Madison Square Garden in NY.
I just wanted to meet & talk with the Knicks radio & TV broadcasting teams: Mike Breen (who does NBA games on ABC & ESPN) & Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and the legendary Marv Albert & another Hall of Famer, Walt “Clyde” Frazier!
It was in total awe!
Marv left pretty quickly…perhaps he had something kinky planned in his hotel room later! (As it turned out, in the late ’90s, he got sued by a woman after a night of “biting, cross-dressing & three-way sex”.
She claimed that she was held “against her Will”…I didn’t even know Bill was there!…and finally escaped when she pulled off his famous toupee!)
But Mike Breen, Clyde & the Pearl were all so nice & very accommodating to us!
I spoke to Mike Breen about how much I missed listening to him on the “Don Imus” morning radio show. Don was a radio icon & probably the first “shock jock”…he was Howard Stern before Howard was!
And speaking to Frazier & Monroe, two of my childhood heroes who formed the backcourt for the world champion Knicks 20 years earlier, it was amazing that I could actually form a sentence. I seemed to have completely forgotten the English language & what the hell was this tongue thingie anyway?!?
They were so gracious to us & autographed our game program. I hadn’t a cell phone yet (pagers were still status symbols) so there were no pictures taken.
What a great night!
And speaking of not having a cell phone…
Around that same time, I took Laurie & Heather to a nice restaurant (a steak & ribs place on I-10, off Wurzbach, behind Jason’s Deli) on a Saturday evening.
The place was pretty crowded so we hadda wait about 15 minute until we were seated. During that time, I was (naturally) scoping out everyone inside the joint.
There was this booth with 4 young ladies (probably teenagers) having a good time when I spotted something THAT COMPLETELY BLEW MY MIND!!!
I had NEVER witnessed such behavior like that before in my entire life!
In a restaurant, no less…right out there in public for anyone & everyone to see!
👀 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀
One of the girls had the audacity to be talking on her mobile phone.
Right at the table!!! 😱😱😱
I was mortified…and lemme tell ya, I’ve seen (and done?) stuff that would make your skin crawl!
I showed Laurie & she reacted similarly! I thought I heard hee tell Heather, “Don’t ever let me see you behaving like…!!!”
I know it sounds hilarious (weird? stupid?) today, but we really were so taken aback.
Note: Trust me, when you look up “fuddy duddy” in the dictionary, you will never, ever see my picture there.
Note 2: Just using the term “fuddy duddy” automatically makes you one!!!
Nore 3: I’m ruined!
Man, the way things have changed!
I remember years later when I got Heather her first cell phone. We actually had those time-of-day, day-of-week restrictions re: being charged for your calls.
Well, one month, I open my Cingular Wireless Bill (yes, real paper!) & almost croaked!
Something like $450!
Apparently, she had discovered texting – – at a hefty 20¢ per text charge!!!
“But you work with him! Why can’t you call him? You press one friggin’ button & you can talk forever!”
Er, about that fuddy-duddy comment back there…
I quickly learned about the flat $20/mo rate for X texts.
Nowadays, we text each other…even when we’re both home!
Did you realize I typed all these blog pieces on my iPhone? With just one finger? Staring at the keyboard?
Ya never know when you may be asked that on the street some day so you wanna be prepared.
All right, that’s it! Back to your lives…
And as always, thank you so much for listening!