Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Last week, somewhere amidst Regents Exam grading, visiting The White House, and winning Miss Congeniality among 11th grade staff members (voted by students) I celebrated my one year anniversary of living in New York City. I did it. All four seasons. 365 days. While it passed faster than a "New York minute," it also moved at a glacial pace allowing me to stop and take notes along the way. With that, enjoy a few of my reflections re: one year in NYC!
The Subway. I have a love-hate relationship with the subway. Driving around in Charlotte, I was able isolate myself in the comforts of my Audi with my panoramic sunroof and parking sensors while listening to The Highway on Sirius XM. In New York, no matter your race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or education level, the quickest route from Point A to Point B is the subway. While usually trying my best to avoid becoming nauseas, I love taking in the sights on the subway. From the overly exerted mom trying to manage an upset baby and an energetic toddler while trying to carefully steer their double stroller to be out of everyone's way when the doors are fluctuating between opening on either side of the car, to the ever so chic woman in her designer shoes and perfectly styled hair. We all take the subway. We all hold on to the same poles that likely haven't seen a disinfectant in centuries and gasp with frustration when the conductor announces a delay or investigation ahead. While I hate the smell and want to soak myself in Purell after each ride, I love that we all paid the same $2.75 and shared in the experience together no matter where we were coming from or where we are going.
The Food. Delicious? Yes. Overabundance of options? Yes. Everything you could ever desire? Not quite. Up until a year ago, I spent my entire life living in the south. The land where sweet tea flows more rapidly than the latest juice cleanse and ranch dressing is a common side item. I've found so many wonderfully delicious incredible places that I love, but nothing quite compares to southern cooking. (Even the southern themed restaurants are a disappointment.) Which is why, I pledge my allegiance to the trusty Chick-Fil-A.
The Cost. Knowingly, I took a pretty chunky salary cut to move to a city with a significant higher cost of living. There were bound to be a few lifestyle changes but HOLY MOLY! Everything is so expensive from a mediocre chicken sandwich at a cafe to hair cuts to laundry to dog-walkers. (Fortunately, we lucked out on the dog walker department and have an incredible, affordable, trustworthy pal to treat Henry to his daily walks.) I think because I lived in Charlotte first and saw how affordable life has potential to be, New York seems extra doubly expensive to me and truthfully, I miss the mystical lands of J.Crew and Tory Burch that I now only see in my wildest dreams.
Before I turn into a Negative Nancy, a few things I love...
Walking. In the warmer months, I can walk EVERYWHERE! I love walking countless blocks (Starbucks in hand) and am convinced that all of the walking must collectively count as some form of exercise thus, I've likely earned my oatmeal raisin cooking from Levain.
Central Park. It's a true luxury to live so close to this iconic park. In Charlotte, I lived one mile from Freedom Park and I would regularly make the trek just to take in some of Olmsted's beauty. Now, I can see one of my favorite places from my bedroom window. Whenever I'm having one of those days or weeks where I feel overwhelmed or disheartened, I take a stroll through the park and remind myself how lucky I am to call this place home.
The Rooftop at the Met. If you follow me on social media, you may aware that I venture venture here on a weekly basis. I love to give my $1 donation and soak in the magnificent views. Cliche as it may be, I'm an awe of the juxtaposition of Central Park to the concrete jungle. Similar to my fondness of the subway, it creates this beautifully blended scene of equality knowing all of the hustle happening below and is unlike anything I've experienced in a city I've lived in before.
While I have no idea how long I intend to stay in New York City, I know that while I'm here, I will push myself to appreciate it. The movement can be exhausting and I've never found myself craving a more simple life as deeply as I do while here, but in that busy-ness that has become life, I have found a deeper sense of presence and gratitude for all that surrounds me.
P.S. Two things I'm currently loving. This article and this video. Oh, and this!