Four years in the big city
“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.” –E.B. WhiteFour years ago, I arrived in New York after a three-week-long road trip through the American Southwest and up the Atlantic coast. I was single and jobless and homeless, with a giant suitcase and a dwindling bank account and dreams tinged with scenes from Sex and the City and Friends. In short, I was just another person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something: a big love, a successful career, a place to call home.
The past year has been a study in “growing up” life changes. I moved in with my boyfriend, into a sparkling new and light-filled apartment in a gritty, up-and-coming neighborhood (New York, as always, is an exercise in contrasts). We got a puppy, the starkest reminder of how much easier life is somewhere else: I think fondly about a backyard and a doggy door during the many, many times a day that I am taking her down in our elevator to a trash-filled concrete street (and yet, she’s already an expert on subways and in Ubers, which makes a city parent oh-so-proud). I’ve moved into a more challenging and rewarding role at Vimeo, and I’ve secured more interesting and lucrative blog collaborations.
I’ve spent less time doing the touristy things in New York City and more time just living here. I’ve discovered new coffee shops, learned my neighbors’ names, befriended the people who work at the wine store, ridden my bike countless miles in both familiar and new terrain. I have Opinions on subway routes, the easiest bridge to bike over, where to find the best bagels and cheapest fresh-squeezed juice and Thai delivery. For my last birthday, the most delightful hodgepodge of people showed up to drink beers on my rooftop: friends from high school and college, editors and coworkers who had become friends, former roommates and my boyfriend’s friends that I can now call mine.
After two years of traveling and expat living, I moved to New York City wanting a home. I can say confidently now that I’ve found it. I’m not sure if it will be my forever-city, but with every year that passes, I’m so glad that I took the risk to try and make it here.