The closer I get to my move from Manhattan to the world of uncertainty, the more I think about all I will miss in New York. I moved here three years (plus 3 weeks!) ago; newly graduated from the University of Oregon and starved for adventure and travel. I flew out with only a few hundred bucks in my wallet and was taken in by my lovely sister, Echo and her husband, Utku. I still remember walking out of the subway and on to St. Nicholas and thinking “wow, I’ve really done something”. And so I stayed for three years. Those three years have been some of the most transformative of my life. The best and worst things have happened within this concrete island but my heart told me to go. Now on the second to last night in my sweaty apartment in Harlem I am introspective and slightly melancholy as I think about leaving these pulsing streets.
The Top 10 Thins I Will Miss About The City
1. My Sister. Honestly this is what makes me most sad about leaving. My sister and I have formed a whole new bond living down the hall from each other. We were the only family out here and there was a unity in this and I will miss it. My sister has become my running partner, my after hours counselor and my support system and for that (and so much more) I will miss her daily.
2. Fame. Ok, so I’m not sure how to word this, but I’ll try. It is amazing living in a city that is known world-wide, that is the setting for movies, art, books and so much more. This city is famous and for good reason. Everything that you could ever dream of doing (that doesn’t include wilderness of course) can be done on this little island. Because of this there is an energy here that is addictive, that pulls you towards it and won’t let you go. There are endless book readings, restaurants, galleries and celebrities. You never know who you will see and what you will do around each corner. Prime example, just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the always witty Anthony Bourdain. This is someone who I have followed and enjoyed and always day dreamed of meeting and only in NYC is that actually a reality.
3. The instant identity. This was awkward to admit, but living in the city gives you an instant identity. Wherever you go “I live in Manhattan” is all that is needed to give a first impression. Sure, this is shallow and superficial, but it’s the truth. Leaving New York will be a painful adjustment. No longer will I have that clout and smugness that all New Yorkers share.
4. Work. So this probably sounds weird to those of you who knew pre-New York. Let’s just say that from a young age I have despised being caged in. I couldn’t handle being in school all day and therefore was a kindergarten drop-out (thanks for schooling me, ma!). Every job I have had I immediately begin to fantasy my escape; there is something that makes me antsy when forced to stay in one building for 8 hour increments. My job (last day was Friday) as a career manager (basically guidance counselor) was absolutely the most fulfilling and moving role I have ever played. I will speak about this more later, but I will say that my work with my students was amazing and I’ll miss the and my co-workers dearly.
5) Harlem. Ok, this post has become WAY too serious, but that’s what happens when I approach changer; every moment becomes one to dwell on. So, Harlem, oh lovely Harlem, the source of so much love and so much hate. It was on 149th where I fell in love, but it was also on Sugarhill where I had guns pulled. Oh wait, this is things I’ll miss about Harlem. The energy, the diversity, the feeling of standing out like a sore thumb. The “sugars”, “snow flakes” and “blondies” and even the “god bless you’s”. There is spirit here and a flavor that I have never felt elsewhere.
7. Fellow New Yorkers. Neurotic. Pushy. Loud. Blunt. In your face. hypochondriacs. Everyone has a shrink and loves to talk about it. It’s accepted to argue your point and push thru crowds. Confrontation and speaking your mind are a must. Of course these are the exact things I can’t stand depending on my mood.
8. Summer Concerts. How I love the summer stage series. Free concerts in parks with the beautiful NY skyline surrounding you. It doesn’t get much better. In the past I’ve seen Slick Rick, Afrika Bambaataa, and Sugarhill Gang to name a few.
9. Wandering the streets. I’ve always been a wanderer. When I was growing up in a town of 1,000 I yearned for places to walk and discover and made do with strolling the beaches. New York was heaven for a roamer like myself. No matter how many times you walk the streets you find something new to do, see, eat. I know this city better than any other and yet there are countless nooks and crannies that I’ll never see. Whether its walking the narrow streets of the Village or roaming Central Park, these streets were a haven that will be missed.
10. The beautiful city. It’s like no other. I’ll miss you.