Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Anniversary - mine and NYC's

9 years ago today I moved to the concrete jungle and have never once looked back with regret.

I found it appropo to write this in the middle of night, since it is after all the city that never sleeps and I am one of its minions who abides that rule without fail.

I will never forget making the trek halfway across the country with my dad driving the Uhaul, Selbs in the passenger seat, and me holding Indy in the middle for a two day adventure to our new home and new life. Excitement was all that filled me. Seeing the Twin Towers as we left New Jersey and entered the city was breath-taking. Driving through midtown wasn't scary, it was home. At 22 there's not a care in the world. What I wouldn't give sometimes to go back to the early-20s naivety... nostalgic sighs all around.

My two-bedroom, $1100 a month apartment in Kew Gardens was my mecca for my first 5 years of adulthood. To this day I have such fond memories of that neighborhood (though it now seems so suburban), the apartment (which I remember thinking was so small... not so), the restaurants (Dani's Pizza anyone?), and the local 7-11 (helllloooooo Naahdim).

I moved here with one friend, a dog, and dreams of changing the world. And as the song very correctly says, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." NYC is a beast. It either quickly becomes your worst enemy and swallows you whole, or it becomes the true love of your life. I can thankfully say I fall into the latter of those.

I have met so many people and have had so many opportunities. Yes, this may have come at the expense of the savings account most people my age have. Yes, this may have meant that homesickness becomes a regular part of life in the back of your mind. And, yes, the list below are just a few of the things that I've "picked up" and are now just part of my every day life.
  1. Sighing heavily as tourists in Times Square stop for no apparent reason to take pictures.
  2. Rolling my eyes when a suburban mom gets on the subway with her larger-than-life stroller.
  3. Shouting "C'MON" when a cab tries to mow you over.
  4. Learning that part of life is dealing with the MTA and its delays even when they raise the subway/bus fare.
  5. Loving the droll Pat Kiernan on NY1. (And the innane banter with Roger Clark)
  6. Refusing to drive within the marked lanes when I get a zipcar... sorry Mother, this is the New York way.
  7. Forgetting to acknowledge that walking 2 miles is actually a big deal to out-of-town guests... it's just old hat to us.
  8. Taking only one earphone out and simply slowing down to give someone directions rather than stopping to chit chat.
  9. Finding absurdity and plain old confusion in the non-New Yorkers who protest things like the proposed downtown mosque and gay marriage.
  10. And finally calling NYC "the city" because to a true New Yorker, it is indeed THE only one.

Those (and I'm sure many more) are things that make me a non-native New Yorker. But here are some things I hope I never lose:

  1. Tearing up every time I fly into LGA and see the skyline.
  2. Getting giddy whenever I look up at the Empire State Building from any vantage point in the city and see camera flashes go off.
  3. Proudly showing off my city to guests and never growing weary of the tourist hotspots.
  4. Never taking for granted the art, history, sports, and constant energy here.
  5. Loving all the many diversities of friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and even just the people I sit next to every day on the train.

9 years, New York. I still have that one friend from the beginning. I still have that awesome dog. And I've never given up that hope of changing the world. I've lived. I've loved. I've lost. But mostly... I've found.

Here's to us, NYC. And may we have many, many more to come...


  1. You nailed this! This made me see what you see and feel what you feel. I too, love NYC. Maybe for completely different reasons....I love NYC because it is YOU, for all the maturing, growing and adventures you have experienced there. For the joy I "see" in your eyes, the joy I "hear" in your voice when you talk of NYC cause to a mother if you're happy, I'm happy!! I do love the first sight of coming out of the subway and seeing TIMESQUARE! (I know I am soo tourist)and to even admit...when you drove in NYC and I was in the backseat (with eyes closed) I did think you drove very well, we made it and you were at complete ease! You continue to amaze me all the time with what you seem to master. So happy 9th anniversary. Love my girl......

  2. Your descriptions of New York make me smile and think that ok, maybe I can give it another chance. My previous experiences were just from driving through the city on my way to other cities...not fun...and the one time I stayed overnight there with my dad when we drove up north visiting colleges. I just might schedule a trip up that way one day! Love your blog and stories...remind me of what a fun person you were to know back in our AR days!

  3. joy, am still surfing your blog (aka still ib bed with my dogs procrastinating the gym ). you are a REALLY good writer. not sure what you might want to write about novel wise but best of luck for coming up with an idea. ever thought of a sitcom? MTM in 2010 , THAT GIRL....all this has been done before but put your on twist on it. arkansas girl goes to big apple focus.

    hope you had a good 2010 xmas. you inspire me to begin a blog. i do a morning journaling / meditative reading but it's a bit personal for a blog or i'm too self conscious about my own "stuff". if you have any other good blogs of friends fill me in. even though i do the run on sentence without punctuation writing style i do like to get things out of my ead and onto paper/screen. i'm curious as to what is out there. hit me up sometime when you feel the urge to write and lets see where it takes us.

    happy new year...kelly