This week is kind of a big week for me and New York City (and John). Five years ago this coming Saturday, we drove our U-Haul into Manhattan and started a whole new life. Although I loved New York and was eager to move here… visiting and living here proved to be extremely different, and if I’m going to be totally honest… I wasn’t always sure things would work out between New York and I.
Our first apartment was a 150 square foot studio on Avenue C and 10th Street, in the East Village. The rent was over twice what I had paid for a three bedroom apartment with a yard in Wilmington, NC. It was fine – afterall, we were never home, we were off exploring our new city. And being able to cook dinner while sitting on the sofa is convenient. ;-) But then winter hit… and my relationship with New York City went way downhill. At the time I was working at the Humane Society of New York on 59th and 1st, which meant walking through the cold and snow to the 1st Avenue bus. I was not pleased with New York. Or this weird winter thing. (I’m from the South… we have a week of winter in January, and that’s about it.)
I don’t know when things changed for me exactly, but it happened quickly. I would love New York, then I would hate New York. Back and forth. Then I went home to visit North Carolina at one point and… it didn’t feel like home anymore. I came back to New York and realized, I think I really love this place, I love the good and the bad, I love the vibrancy, I love the noise, I love the street culture. I just love New York.
The next year we moved to a 300 square foot fourth floor walk-up on West 85th Street, and things kept looking up. (300 square feet feels like a mansion after living in a studio.) We had the biggest backyard you could ever dream of… Central Park. New York was suddenly home for me. It had been home for John all along, and I think he was pleased to see how much I had grown to love the city.
Now we actually live in a normal (for NYC) sized one bedroom, still on the Upper West Side. Central Park is still our backyard. And everyday when I go out into the city, I think… oh New York, I love you so. John and I love to travel, and sometimes we visit someplace and I think – oh man, I could totally live here. (Ahem… Italy.) But then we fly back to New York and I spy the skyline out of the window and realize… oh no, no no no. I could never leave New York.
So this Saturday, New York and I are celebrating our big anniversary with dinner at Gramercy Tavern and a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, because I’ve never been! Oh, and champagne, of course. Five years living with John. Five years in New York City. It’s a rather big week over here.