Autumn in New York v. California Dreamin’

Hi there – I’m Catherine Portman Topping, and I’m new to this blog. I just joined the Landis Communications team as a Senior Account Executive, and I’m thrilled David asked me for a few musings.


While I grew up in Northern California, I admit I am still adjusting to life back on the west coast!  As I type this, our offices are filled with beautiful late-afternoon sunshine, and I am reminded of my last office back in New York City.  


I lived in Manhattan for several years, and here are a few things I miss (other ex-NYers may want to add their two cents to this list below):


  • The ubiquitous delis throughout the city that always have frighteningly similar offerings at the steam tables.
  • Make-your-own salad shops. Unlimited salad add-ons for $8? Yes, please!
  • The MTA subway system. Sure, trains and stations are packed, or smelly, but the trains run all night, and you can get anywhere for $2.
  • The reassuring, and ultimately soothing, rattle and hum of street traffic all night. When I first moved to NY, I lived just above several major subway lines. I could have sworn I felt an earthquake every time two trains happened to pass beneath the building at the same time.
  • Seasons. Not to fall back to clichés, but “autumn in NY” really is magical. Springtime, after a long, cold, and drab winter of slush and ice made me always appreciate the seasonal changes.
  • And speaking of seasonal changes – snow! I’m a Californian, so the sight of snow falling outside my windows always amazed me. As did the quiet that fell across the busy, frantic city just blanketed by a snowfall.


So, now that I’ve moved back to my hometown, here are a few things that I’ve fallen back in love with and discovered anew!


  • The fog and the attendant fog horns. It’s natural air conditioning so that every summer evening is comfortable and the fog horns are a relaxing lullaby.
  • The incredible natural beauty within minutes of downtown San Francisco. A ramble through the Presidio or the Marin Headlands will convince anyone that the Bay Area has been unfairly gifted with stunning views.
  • Seasonal fresh produce! It’s true – San Francisco’s surrounding area offers wonderful foodstuffs. Local free-range poultry, fresh oysters, juicy tomatoes and interesting lettuces are just a few of the food items that have made it to my table. It’s pretty neat to purchase directly from the area’s farmers at any of the many Bay Area farmers’ markets.
  • The dynamic business climate. Yes, this has been a rough time in the country, and San Francisco hasn’t been spared. But I’ve been inspired by the brave entrepreneurs who are striking out to make a difference in the world by providing new services, creating new technologies or fighting for equality. It’s thrilling that San Francisco remains the hotbed of innovation and invention, no matter the field.


So, I may continue to miss my steam table lunches and cold winter runs through snowy Central Park, but you can find me exploring the Tenderloin’s Little Saigon district, biking through western Marin and enjoying the view of San Francisco’s skyline from Landis’s offices. In all, I’d say this is a pretty great move west, and reminds me what a privilege it is to have lived in both places! Cheers!


Here’s a few of the Buzz Worthy finds I’ve enjoyed here in the Bay Area:

  • Prather Ranch Meat Company – Prather raises an organic heard of cattle and works with similarly-minded pig, lamb and chicken ranchers. It’s tasty! Prather can be found every day at the Ferry Building and around the Bay Area at farmers’ markets.
  • The Cheese Factory – Point Reyes Station – Marshall bike loop: It’s about 35 miles, and is a great way to see western Marin. Plus, there’s a convenient stop at the Marshall Store along Highway 1 for lunch.
  • Descend Salon – I was delighted to learn that my favorite NY hairstylist moved to San Francisco and settled at this delightful Union Street salon. Marco Roth’s great, and is happy to reminisce about the quirks of living in NYC.


2 thoughts on “Autumn in New York v. California Dreamin’

  1. Catherine,
    Welcome to LCI!
    I can’t tell you how much I miss those NYC Salad counters where you hand the plastic bowl with mixed greens to a guy who scoops up everything you point at and then adds a perfect caesar salad dressing – I’m thinking PAX!
    But they don’t compare with a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.

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