Today I was thinking about my life since I have moved to New York and how it has been in comparison to how I had imaged it would be. I moved to the NYC when Sex & The City was still a show and I hate to admit it, but I was one of those girls who thought I would have a Carey kind of lifestyle. I left my life in small town Connecticut and my boring UCONN education to “make it in New York”. At the time, I only had my parents and my boyfriend behind me. Everyone else, meaning my siblings and friends thought I was nuts for leaving during my third year of college to take a year off, and move into a loft apartment with 3 (at the time) roommates in what was still the mostly ghetto of Bushwick. I had a clear vision of what I would do, but I guess so many people have dreams and hopes that they themselves can never fulfill, I can understand why I had a few opposers.
When I moved in October of 2005 I realized that New York would be nothing of what I expected. The first two days after I moved in, I didn’t leave the apartment. The third, I ventured to the local health food store – Bushwick was still ‘up and coming’. While in the checkout line I read a posting that described an obscene crime to woman that occurred within two blocks of my apartment. With that information, I took my $6.00 tomato sauce and pasta and walked home as quickly as I possibly could without looking like a total fool. On the fourth day, one of my roommates took pity on me and offered to take me to Bedford, the avenue in the most gentrified part of Williamsburg. I had only ridden the subway one time in my life – never before in Brooklyn, and honestly, I was scared sh*tless! Luckily, my subway experience was fine, we got a seat, road the 5 stops down the line and ended up in Hipster Haven. The next day, I finally forced myself to ride the subway alone. I can still vividly remember my thoughts of telling myself to “only look at shoes, don’t stare at anyone.”
Amazingly, I adjusted pretty quickly, and fell in love with my new town. My time in New York has made me realize that although I haven’t lived the life of the Sex & the City woman I had imagined, I have in a sense lived the stereotypical life of a young New York creative. My experiences are like so many of my peers who have moved to the big city. My first place was in a shady part of Brooklyn, lived with up to 5 people at one time, worked at American Apparel and Diesel all the while being in art school, got mugged, moved 4 times within 5 years, and finally have settled into having a moderately nice living situation with my boyfriend and landing a career that I truly enjoy.
I think the greatest difference between my imagination and reality was how I was really going to spend my time in New York. The television show made going out every night, shopping at Barney’s and eating at Pastis to be common practices. But really, this city is one of the most expensive places to live in America and young people do not do the above mentioned. Everyone of my friends has realized that we’ll always have to suffer the cost of living vs. the amount of income – especially since the recession is still strongly effecting us. But honestly, I think it all evens out, rent may be ‘too damn high’ but there are plenty of other activities and experiences that can be had in NY that are super cheap! My favorites are definitely the free museum days, cheap happy hours and walking . . . a lot!
*Please Note: I started writing this post a about a few months ago. At that time I had no idea that I would be getting kicked out of my apartment. I was so grateful to have the place we’ve been living in. It just goes to show how life in New York consistently involves surprises and turns a corner when you least expect it.