It was 1998 when I landed at LaGuardia Airport on the American Airlines 757 “Silver Bird”. Fresh out of flight attendant training, I had arrived in New York City, my new base, my new home. I was 26 years old.
It was not my first time away from home. I had moved to Maryland when I was 19, and had been living on my own for quite some time. I started my career as a flight attendant with a smaller airline. It was however, my first time living in such a big city, and I was a “Super Stew” now! First step, find a place to live.
Rather than go with the average flight attendant crew lodgings in the Queens area known as “crew gardens”, I chose to branch out a bit. I found a quaint little place on the south shore of Long Island, in a charming beach town called Long beach. It was perfect for me, an hour from LaGuardia, and even closer to JFK airport.
I was fortunate to find a couple of flight attendants looking for a roomie. I had my own room in a delightful upstairs apartment in an old house within five blocks walking distance from the Atlantic! It also had an adorable balcony off of the front for wonderful ocean breezes. It was perfection! I had always wanted to live that close to the ocean.
Long Beach was a beach town, but the swank sushi bars that lined the streets of downtown, my favorite pizzeria, and the sophisticated singles bars, made it seem like somewhere out of a film. Those cute towns that exist only in movies. I was living in a movie.
During the day, I could lounge under the sun, and read a book, or I could hop the train into Manhattan. Everything was within walking distance. I would walk back home, shower and don my uniform, ready to take off to so many other exotic destinations! It was truly the time of my life!
To this day, after leaving New York in 2004, I still have dreams that I live in the apartment on East Chester Street, in Long Beach.