I’ve almost lived in New York City for four years now. The time has gone both indefinitely slow and intolerably fast, and while I knew this place would always be one big adventure for me, I never knew just what a wild ride it would turn out to be.
And maybe, since it felt like such a vivid, unattainable dream, I didn’t fully expect it to feel quite so much… like home. But it does. I’ve called the Upper West Side (or Morningside Heights, if we want to get super technical) my neighborhood for my entire time in this city.
But as I type this sentence, I’m laying on my bed from Ikea, waiting on my friend J to meet me for dinner, looking at all of my things packed in 8 (very heavy) boxes, my bookshelves and dresser empty, the room that I had decorated with frames and sentiments bare – all of it, ready to move downtown on Saturday. I always hoped the day would come when I made enough money to have an uptown commute to work instead of a downtown one – and it has.
Saturday, I’ll trade my Central Park and my Riverside Park and my 45 minute commute (the WORST) for an East Village address. While I really couldn’t be more excited to walk or bike to work every day, live in an updated, clean and beautiful building, run by the East River and enjoy being closer to all of my friends – part of me feels very bittersweet about leaving my side of town for a new one.
I’ve grown so attached to my routine and the places, the people, the locals that I’ve adopted over the past four years. I have my grocery store, my dog park, my pet food store, my running loops, my dry cleaners, my laundry mat, my bakery, my coffee shop, my local writing joints that let me take my time to meet deadline. I have those old men in my building who always remember Lucy’s name, and the lady on the 8th floor who has a dog that loves to give kisses to women wearing lipstick (go figure). There’s that sidewalk where I kissed many men for the first time and that place where Lucy discovered snow for the first time. There’s the long walk by the water that leads to a boat basin where I’ve danced with strangers, drank a bucket of beer and written many blogs. There’s the places that M and I frequented when we were funemployed, new to the city and new to being adults. There’s those memories inside this room, with Mr. Possibility and Mr. Unexpected. There are those parties that I threw with J, and the birthday party I hosted for Lucy (because I’m crazy). There’s sunset concerts a block away and that guy on the first floor who plays the piano so beautifully that sometimes I stop, just to hear him play.
There’s everything I’ve loved about my home.
I realize that I’m not moving away – really – I’m just going to be a handful of avenues and almost 100 streets away, and of course, I can always come back, but this part of town will always hold a special place in my heart. The kindness of the Upper West Side – with its dogs, its greenery, its strollers and its wide-eyed college kids – have given me a little peace of serenity in a very hectic town. I know that this move will only be the first of many, many moves (I did already leave that starter apartment three years ago, after all) and it’s a testament to where my career is heading (and this little blog that could) – but as I trade my cheap rent for a bigger premium, here’s a look at my very first neighborhood in New York.
I’ll miss you Upper West Side – maybe I’ll be back in five years or so…