Before last weekend, I felt like I was just flirting with the idea of moving to NYC. The words felt good on my lips. I was committed in the sense that I’d said yes – but sometimes yes really means maybe-no-wait and can-we-just-slow-down-for-a-second.
My first trip to the city lasted all of 24 hours. I think I saw about five streets in Chelsea, spent about five minutes trying to contain my enthusiasm in Food52’s kitchen, and then consumed about five hundred calories in chargrilled lamb burger at The Breslin. The burger alone was worth the trip.
Post-celebration dinner, I returned to Maine for one last week at my current job [and the sweetest send-off].
Before I knew it, it was time to think about finding a place to live. I’ll spare you the details of my nearly nightmarish Craig’s List experience, and skip right to the fun part. I had three days to find a reasonably priced studio in Manhattan. Let me tell you something: Landlords and brokers like long weekends that kick off the summer season. Let me tell you something else: the term “reasonably priced” is really relative.
Luckily, I got two applications in on Friday before the city put on its headphones and sunglasses and completely ignored embarrassingly desperate girls from Maine.
There was nothing left to do. There wouldn’t be any news until Tuesday, and I’d be back home by then. I was right about not hearing anything until Tuesday, but I was very wrong about there being nothing left to do.
There was a cookie with the heft of a hockey puck to linger over on the Upper West Side.
There was another one to stash in my purse and to save for inevitable emergencies.
There was a subway to ride and a yellow cab to hail [my first ever].
There was a big park to run around, with lots of people who weren’t at all lost.
There was a gym to tour and put on my wish list – the one with the “cottage” on Nantucket and the 911 turbo.
There was a specialty food store [or ten, on this block] to sample my way through.
There was a tiny garden to spot below a city street.
There was [a lot of] energy to be lost at Ikea in Brooklyn.
There was inspiration to be found at Paper Source on Columbus Ave.
There was a homemade meal to share and pretty pink flowers to give.
There was a lunch to split and savor at the café in You’ve Got Mail, which I think should be equally famous for its mindboggling menu. Skip to the dessert section.
There were friendly people to meet everywhere [contrary to popular belief] and so many places left to go to next time.
“Next time” might be this weekend, when I move into my third floor walkup near Central Park! It doesn’t have a closet or an oven, but it does have an exposed brick wall and a little loft for storage.
Never mind that the bathroom is so small that I’ll have to take up yoga in order to shave my legs, or that the two burners sit so closely together that I’ll have to stir-fry in shifts. Never mind that the one and only window is about the size of a single windowpane in our dining room. Never mind the fact that dorm room living sounds kind of luxurious now [with those washers and dryers right in the building!]. I say this like a proud mama: it has enormous potential.
MY mom’s job is to remind me that I have potential too, and she’s been a miracle worker. I think I feel ready to go. Mostly. But even when we’re wearing the wrong footwear and arguing over who lost the metro card, that send-off still feels like it’s coming a little too soon.