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Phelan: Big city reinforces love of Geneva

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

For my recent high school graduation, my parents gave me a weekend in New York City. I had never been to New York before, and I was excited to see Times Square, Broadway and the United Nations.

Although New York is full of sightseeing opportunities, I didn’t spend most of my time looking around at the Big Apple. My mother and I shopped ‘til we dropped, and I loved it. 

Now, going shopping in New York is different than shopping at Geneva Commons. The Commons is a tightly-packed mall of retail, with the farthest walk being from Barnes and Noble to DSW. In New York, the shops were not all right next to each other. Instead, we would find a Gap next to our hotel, or a small resale shop in the bottom of a skyscraper. Opportunities for fashion appeared to us everywhere, like when we were walking to a theater to buy tickets and decided to look around at a shoe store on the way. That shoe store had a massive sale going on, and we bought three pairs of shoes. 

Although I really did enjoy the sights, the shopping and the wonderful people-watching opportunities, I have to say that I could never, ever live in a big city. I grew up on a two-acre lot, full of trees and ample room for playing. Living in an apartment, or even a walk-up, with no yard and no greenery in sight would be impossible. My mom and I did stop at both Bryant Park and Central Park, but those seemed remarkably artificial to me. Besides, you could still see the skyscrapers and hear the honking cabs. I have nothing against city dwellers or anyone who dreams of living in a big city; it’s just that I prefer places with ample trees and flowers and the occasional cornfield. Places like good old Geneva. 

I think my favorite part of my weekend in New York was when my mother and I stumbled into a farmers market in SoHo. There were people selling fresh fruit smoothies, Turkish rugs, old vinyl and everything in between. It was considerably cheaper than any department store and with a much friendlier atmosphere. I almost would have felt at home if it weren’t for the trees planted in enormous flower pots rather than in the ground. 

I really did enjoy my trip to New York, and I know I’ll enjoy my new zebra-striped pumps and all my tank tops from the farmers market. However, like all trips to anywhere, it really reinforced my love and confidence in the Chicago-area suburbs. Wherever I end up someday, I know it’ll be on a two-acre lot, equidistant from cornfields and quite a few Starbucks. Personally, I wouldn’t mind living in Geneva all my life. It’s been a good place to live for the past 17 years, and it will always be better than any big city. 

• Courtney Phelan just graduated from Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at

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