They say you’re not a New Yorker till you’ve lived there for 10 years. This summer marks my 10 year anniversary of living in Manhattan as I pack up my things to head to the West Coast.
In 10 years, I’ve lived in 9 apartments – all with unique stories, experiences, and dramas that have shaped who I am.
Out of all my friends, you Manhattan will be the hardest to say good-bye to. I remember at 21 years old first arriving and being swept away by your magic. The cold fall mornings, ordering a toasted everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and rushing to get to work. It took months for me to learn the subways – the 6 to the F to find a new adventure awaiting me as I walked up the grimy metal stairs.
My first apartment – in Murray hill – right out of college (along with everyone else in Murray Hill) was a small bedroom shared with a Korean man named Gun that smelled of Kimchi. I would spend late nights dancing at McFaddens to the Backstreet Boys then walking to Joshua Tree and screaming out 80s tunes with beer soaked stilettos.
My first job in Manhattan – nightlife. This job taught me how to be a real New Yorker. I quickly learned that it’s not about what or who you know – it’s about the confidence when saying what or who you know.
I fondly remember 5am mornings watching rockstars pour out of Snitch. Balancing acts of dancing on Banquets at Marquee while pouring cranberry vodka into patrons glasses – teaching them what it looks like to be “The Life of The Party.” Magicians, fire blowers, and cocaine runs as we took limos to Southside and winked at Q as he let us skip the very long line. I won’t forget the difficult weekend decision of if we wanted to flirt with guys at Dorrians or Red Lion.
DJs with fingerless gloves and Australian accents, trust fund babies, preppy Presbyterians and homeless chic downtowners jumping together to MGMT.
Manhattan, you’ve spit me out and brought me back to life again. It’s on your streets I contemplated taking my life. Crawling on the floor into my apartment, crying till I threw up. Yelling out to God “If you’re real, take this pain away…” And then God showed up.
Full circle redemption on the Upper East Side. “High class” abortion traumatic memories only blocks away from where I would eventually birth my son. Reconciliation on 23rd street – where I stepped into traffic with a broken heart and would eventually move into my first apartment with my dream husband. Restoration in the financial district. Housing occupy Wall Street leaders, rooftop prayers, and pastoring the broken hearted and leading them to Jesus.
Your Parks and Your people.
This is what sets Manhattan apart.
They say “Manhattan isn’t for the faint of heart” and I’d agree. However, no city in the world can show you what you’re really made of. The simple things like grocery shopping, getting to work, having friends over – involve full strategic planning. I’ve become wittier, more resourceful, and stronger because of you, Manhattan.
So Manhattan – this isn’t goodbye. We both know I could never truly leave you, but I’ll carry you with me wherever I may go. After 10 years, I can now say “I am a New Yorker” as I lay under the palm trees of sunny California.