Today, I am an official citizen of Bozeman. When I first accepted the position at AM 1450 KMMS I was scared and worried. I wanted to make Montana my new home. I was tired of California and so many plastic people. Fame and money was the God of so many people I thought were my friends. I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a place like I grew up in. But I grew up in New York City and spent most of my life in Hollywood. True, but what a lot of people don't know is the place I grew up in was a lot like Bozeman.

New York City is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan (which people think of as New York City), Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. We were the forgotten borough or island. We had farms, lots of trees, open fields, one-family homes, no highways and not a lot of people. The population was just a little larger then Bozeman. About 80,000 people. The whole island had only one police car on duty most nights. Very little crime, and apple and pear trees everywhere. On my block, maybe three or four cars drove by a day.

All the houses had big backyards and our dogs never had to be tied up. You just let them roam and called them when it was time to eat. We were a secret, like Bozeman. We had no mass transit and to get on and off the island there was the Staten Island Ferry. The times we did go into Manhattan we were scared. It was big, dirty and full of crime.

Then it happened - we were discovered. A bridge connecting us to Brooklyn was built. Some people talked about blowing up the bridge. Thousands of people who lived in places like the Bronx and Queens started moving to the island. First the fields went. Apartment buildings went up. The one-family homes and yards were gone. A one-family house would sell for almost a $1 million. They would tear down the home and build a six-family house. The school began to get overcrowded. Brooklyn people brought their pushiness and rude ways to our secret island. Traffic was bad. They built a few expressways and a mall.

I was about 17 when I left my island to head to Hollywood. When I visited my family, Staten Island had become Brooklyn - crime, graffiti, gangs, McDonalds, traffic, overcrowding. My small town was gone.

When I watched videos of Bozeman before I moved, I saw Main Street. On Staten Island our main street was New Dorp Lane. Bozeman reminded me of Staten Island. Life was great before the Brooklyn invasion.

Today I got my licence. I am official. I am Bozeman.

As I live here, it feels more and more like Staten Island, more and more like home...except for the grizzly bears.




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