Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Two York City

When milestones come about in my life I realize just how poorly I write.

I sit here and stare at my computer screen with a million un-drafted fragments loose in my brain and my fingers want so desperately to paste them down. To neatly lay out every idea and emotion I experience because I want, more than anything, to share with the world the love I have for New York City.  
A large portion of my day is spent in transit. Walking to and from the subway, waiting for the train, and trying to keep my balance on the L as we jet from the island to the mainland at 50 miles an hour. This mindless commute leaves me with lots of time to float around in my own head. Perhaps it’s the playlists I regularly tune to, Ben Howard and Bon Iver are known to inspire, but I find myself writing mini novels in my mind. Only a few sentences at a time, and when I finally reach the Bedford Ave stop, they’re gone.
Moving to New York was terrifying. I have never been more painfully lonely. Never more scared and lost and confused. But above all I was overcome with an unexplainable sense of adventure. This idea of being on my own, and surviving, in a place that no one else I knew, had survived, was so appealing, it made all the negative evaporate. Suddenly I was hyper-sensitive to the little details that made this city special. The sweet smell of burnt sugar from the Nuts 4 Nuts cart on every street corner in Soho will forever swim in my heart as the perfume of my summers in New York.
I am now approaching my third New York City summer. My love affair for Manhattan only grows deeper. I can’t imagine being anywhere else in the big world right now.
I will admit that there was a bit of time last summer, when I missed the mountains and I longed for a bonfire under the stars, where I didn’t know how much longer I would last. But now, even when I am feeling truly, deeply homesick, the thought of leaving this beautiful urban life is something I can’t even fathom. I imagine it’s similar to leaving a lover, but the breakup would cut deeper and the ache would always linger. Because the notion that other people are existing in the way you used to, but without you, would be constantly burning in the back of your mind.
Recently I have acquired a new best friend: Two months ago I was accepted as a “Big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manhattan and matched with an incredible eleven-year-old girl. She reminds me so much of my own eleven-year -old self. Shy and timid but sweet with a strong, happy heart. She and I have spent the last two months bonding and learning about each other. Because she is shy, the easiest way to generate conversation has been through playing games. Any ice breaker game out there, we’ve played it. Last week we were day dreaming and talking about places in the world we’d love to live, and she asked me, if I could move anywhere in the world where would I go?
My automatic response was a far off land full of new faces and unseen treasures. And then I realized, no, that is exactly what New York is to me right now. It is my make-believe.
In the past few months a lot of things in my life have changed. We moved from the Lower East Side to the Seaport. And I am suddenly single for the first time in my adult life. With our changes, new friendly faces have made their way into our lives, many of them East Coast natives. The four of us girls, all raised in the West, see the city through very similar eyes. New York is one very long vacation and no matter how many times we paint the walls, or buy new furniture, to us, HOME is where our childhood was. This idea has come up in conversation quite regularly with my new East Coast friends. For them, this is all they know, and why they will never leave. Their subconscious judgements of the rest of the country are only natural and reinforced when people, like me, move to the city and rave about it’s magic. Although they don’t understand the magic I speak of..  

I am not sure that it is possible for anyone brought up in the East to appreciate entirely what New York, the idea of New York, means to those of us who came out of the West and the South. To an Eastern child, particularly a child who has always has an uncle on Wall Street and who has spent several hundred Saturdays first at F.A.O. Schwarz and being fitted for shoes at Best’s and then waiting under the Biltmore clock and dancing to Lester Lanin, New York is just a city, albeit the city, a plausible place for people to live, But to those of us who came from places where no one had heard of Lester Lanin and Grand Central Station was a Saturday radio program, where Wall Street and Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue were not places at all but abstractions (“Money,” and “High Fashion,” and “The Hucksters”), New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of “living” there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not “live” at Xanadu.”
-Goodbye To All That, Joan Didion

Recently I have filled my subway hours with a collection of essays, written by a variety of authors, telling their stories of loving and leaving New York. Goodbye To All That, inspired by the Joan Didion essay by the same name.
Yesterday I finally read Joan’s essay and I was moved, almost to tears, as I read every thought I have been so desperately trying to record for myself.
I write and I blog for myself alone. Yes, I share it with all of you, but my intentions are selfish. I want to remember everything. I’m very sentimental in that way. The more I can do to hoard memories, the better. I never want to forget what it’s like to be twenty-three and careless, and young, and innocent and to feel all of these things, all at once, all the time.

I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of them would count.”

Realizing that two years in New York has already passed makes me even more emotional about my writing. How has time flown by so quickly? Thirty-three days from today I will turn twenty-four. I’ve always hated even numbers and therefore am dreading this promotion in age. But to think that I moved here at twenty-one. Freshly picked off of my college campus and transplanted into this fantasy life. I don't know that I would be brave enough to do it again, but I feel blessed beyond belief to be where I am today.

New York, I love you.

Alas, I leave you all with stats. My second year in New York City ladies and gents:

>> One new “little” sister
>> First East Coast ski trip
>> Two Pharrell music videos
>> One hug from Colin Kappernick
>> Acted as a back up dancer for Cascade
>> One episode of The Cake Boss
>> Spotted: Michael Jordan!
>> My first trip to Vermont
>> and New Hampshire
>> and Massachusetts
>> and Connecticut
>> Worked one private John Legend Concert

1 comment:

  1. i love everything about this so much i can't even begin. your love for life and NYC is so contagious and in a way how i feel about my SF. loved your writing in this post and adore you! cheers to two york city! Xo


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