It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in New York for half a year now. In my usual semi-sentimental nostalgic fashion, I decided this morning to go back and review the ups and downs of the move to my new home, and of course, that involved a lot of going back through old blog entries.
Sometimes it’s handy to obsessively chronicle your life, Doogie Howser style. (Cue theme song!)
I’m not even going to start with the madness of trying to find an apartment, losing the apartment, finding a new apartment through the patient help of friends, and so on. This recap begins with the act of leaving Charlotte and hitting the road, homeless for a day.
Fifteen hours of traveling via U-Haul brought us to Long Island, where we spent our first night in New York staying with our dear friends Jason and Victoria at their home. All things considered it really wasn’t that bad of a trip, as the dogs were thankfully well behaved and we didn’t drive each other too crazy. The next morning, Jason joined us as we trekked into Queens to explore our new neighborhood and home.
The apartment building — and our unit itself — completely exceeded expectations. The size of the apartment, the comparatively low cost, the closet space and view, the convenience to the train… All of these things are great. And even the one really annoying problem — thin floors and cranky downstairs neighbors — has become less of a problem in recent months. Even the trials and tribulations of home office furniture mayhem resolved themselves eventually.
Sure, there have been some low moments. The first month or so had me barely leaving the apartment, and I really had to learn to adjust to Sal’s work schedule leaving us very little time together. But after about two months, I finally started to feel settled in here. I’ve come to really enjoy our neighborhood in Jackson Heights, and we’ve been fortunate to get to know several fantastic couples within a two-block radius of our apartment.
Granted, having a couple of friendly neighbors doesn’t equal the ease of finding people on short notice to do things with in Charlotte, where guests could always be rounded up last minute for an impromptu dinner or movie night. In New York, at least given where we live and where the people we see most often live, social plans often require a bit more advanced planning to allow for trains, etc.
And yes, I do have my lonely evenings where I haven’t planned ahead sufficiently and I find myself bored with nothing to do — but more often than not, my reluctance to get off my ass and go somewhere last-minute contributes to that. I certainly can’t hold it against friends in other parts of NYC when they don’t want to commute over to me on zero notice, since I often realize very last minute that I am free to socialize but lack the initiative to do much about it.
Still, the friends who have a strong connection with you will be there, whether they are across town, across the country, or halfway around the world. And just because you haven’t seen someone recently doesn’t mean they aren’t still near-and-dear, as I came to realize a few months into my New York residency. Along those lines, it’s been interesting to see which friends from outside of New York really make the effort to stay connected, virtually or in person during one of my many trips back to Charlotte.
So where does all of this leave me, with half a year under my belt as a New Yorker? I’m happy, mostly. It costs a lot to live here, obviously, and it’s amazing how quickly “let’s go get one drink with so-and-so” turns into a long and expensive evening. I’ve joined a couple of theatre clubs so I get free or ridiculously discounted theatre tickets, which has led us to see a ton of shows in recent months. (And let’s face it, I’ve been week and purchased not-very-inexpensive tickets also, though I maintain it’s part of the New York experience that prompted me to move here, so I don’t feel too bad about it.)
I still enjoy my Sundays with Sal, and his new job as a hotel concierge (instead of Starbucks) gives him better hours. Even coupled with his other job at West Elm, he still doesn’t have outrageously early pre-dawn shifts or post-midnight closings at either job. I continue to meet new friends, and enjoy seeing old friends when time and schedules permit.
Like most New Yorkers, I’m getting by, and more often than not, I’m enjoying it. And when I do have a dark moment here or there, I have a quick pity party for myself and question every decision I’ve made in the last year, usually with the help (or at least observation) of friends from afar, and then I get a few hours sleep and get over it. Nobody ever said building the life you want is easy, and in New York that’s doubly true.