I’m sitting at a window enveloped cafe in the West Village watching every kind of fabulous person walk by.
A photographer is in the middle of the street shooting photos of a beautiful girl on a bicycle in a sheer floral pink tunic. Everyone else is coming, going, exercising, shopping, dining or dog walking.
New York City is many things but this kind of scene is what I have craved year after year. I really want to live in this part of town and I fully intend to someday. I think it’s important to surround ourselves with the sights and sounds we want our reality to consist of. That’s how I justify the trip from Bushwick anyway :)
“New York is the biggest collection of villages in the world.”
For installment #2, I feel like much more of a New Yorker than I was last time. So what kind of wisdom can I impart on you?
I went to Burning Man in 2007 and have since described it as just an amplified and exaggerated version of real life, but I think that label is more appropriate for New York City. We (yes, we!) have every extreme here and it’s grand.
A few tips:
- Flip flops just won’t do. Though, I do see people wearing them all the time, I personally have tried and failed painfully.
- Urban Outfitters flats won’t really work to your advantage either.
- Rain boots are a must. Granted, hurricane Irene doesn’t happen all the time, but on more than five occasions I have found myself wishing I had a good pair and I’ve only been here for about three weeks.
- MetroCards: if you intend to call any of the five boroughs home, don’t waste any time getting a monthly unlimited. A friend made this suggestion and I’m very glad I didn’t put his advice to the test.
- Manhattan seems to be far more bike friendly than I expected. I have yet to try this out myself, but I see cyclists everywhere which I assume is a good sign.
- Laundry detergent is mad expensive here.
- So are almost all sandwiches worth eating.
- Cabs really aren’t necessary. Avoid them and your days will be significantly cheaper.
“Manhattan is a narrow island off the coast of New Jersey devoted to the pursuit of lunch.”
This city is known for many things but coffee isn’t one of them. If you re a coffee snob like I am this is an adjustment you might just have to live with (sigh).
Art & Opportunity
If you’re thinking of moving here, I implore you to IGNORE any commentary about how competitive and difficult it is. While New York doesn’t coddle anyone, and while it is more competitive all across the board, the opportunities for networking and collaborating with other artists are worth every penny of rent. I have had more opportunities for my own business and livelihood in a few weeks here than I ever had in years of living in Salt Lake. Just sayin’.
“You come to New York to find the ambiance that will evoke your best. You do not necessarily know precisely what that might be, but you come to New York to discover it.”
-Dr. James Hillman
Beautiful and skinny here are in a league of their own. Utah happens to be known for its attractive folks but damn, Gena. It is easy to lose sense of your self esteem here because no matter what you wear, how many pounds you lose from walking constantly, how fabulous you feel in your jeans, or how much money you make, there will always be someone five steps away who is skinnier, more attractive, better dressed, more talented, and more successful. As a side note, I was recently consoled by Garance Doré’s post: N.Y. skinny versus Paris skinny.
Upon moving here, all of these facts shocked me a bit. Especially coming from a place where there is so much inherent sameness that I never felt I fit into very well. I will admit that packaged carefully inside the eleven boxes I moved here with was the expectation that New York would understand me better that I wouldn’t feel like such an outsider and so in my head all the time. Ha!
The beauty I’ve learned is this:
- We really are who we are, regardless of where we reside. You can never escape yourself and thank God for that.
- There are over 8 million 6 billion people in this city the world and if you try to keep up with any of them you’ll drive yourself mad.
- All of these people coming and going also experience insecurity, self-doubt, fear, and the pressure to make it . No one is exempt.
- Every one of us is unique in our own way, which is way more exciting than it is overwhelming.
These are obvious points but I think they’re important to remember and I’m grateful to be in a city that forces me to everyday.
“It wasn’t until I got to New York that I became Kansan. Everyone there kept reminding me they were Jewish or Irish, or whatever, so I kept reminding them that I was mid-western. Before I knew it, I actually began to brag about being from Kansas! I discovered I had something a bit unique, but it was the nature of New York that forced me to claim my past.”
“The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.”
“A hundred times have I thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: It is a beautiful catastrophe.”
“Sometimes, from beyond the skycrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.”