My co-editor Emma lent me a book fairly recently (Sorry, I’ve been meaning to give it back to you), entitled “Never Can Say Goodbye,” a collection of essays by some prolific writers on their love of New York. Each writer has a specific fixation about the city, something that fascinates them beyond anything else; each had a specific reason for moving here, leaving, or moving back. Reasons, it seemed, that ultimately mimicked my own; a quest for freedom, for success, for excitement, or even escape from something else.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on this--perhaps the longest summer of my life--for a while now. And I fully intend to follow up about it on a completely separate and very thorough post down the line, with some other perspectives from our contributing writers (get excited). But my postgrad experience in these three very long (and also extremely quick? I don’t get it either) months of existence have been almost completely and intrinsically entwined with the city I live in: New York City.
Slash Brooklyn, if you’re a purist.
I think this post is essentially aimed at being a love letter to the city, as my adult life would not be at all what it is without it.
The book with the essays is one that I’ve only read in snippets of time: my morning commute, where I take the R train from South Slope nearly every day at 5:45 am to get to the coffee shop I work at in Manhattan: making tips, smiling extra wide, and shaking slightly from overcaffeination. I love my morning commute, though. I love reading this ode to New York as I’m fully immersed in the world of the book; some of the essays even mention my current neighborhood, or local bars, stores, or restaurants that I haunt. I also love the people I see at nearly six in the morning, with their small cups of coffee from different bodegas, with their backpacks (because you know they won’t be back until late), with their tired faces but alert eyes.
It’s the hustle.
My post grad experience thus far has been summed up by late nights and early mornings, smiling hard to earn an extra fifty cent tip on an espresso, running back to Brooklyn for my babysitting gig every week, getting new headshots printed before that audition on Friday, where I have thirty minutes to get from work in Tribeca to the studio in midtown, doing late night shows, seeing late night shows, taking UCB classes for the price of over half my rent so I can be a “real comedy performer.” The list goes on. Never could I have imagined my post grad life would be so exciting, so painful and yet so simultaneously blissful, without the backdrop of New York City, a detail which my morning read has illustriously brought to my attention.
It’s easy to take it for granted. If I'm tired, downtrodden, a little jaded, or fill in the blank, It truly is easy to never go upstairs to my roof for even five minutes to watch the sunset over downtown Brooklyn (pictured above). It is very easy, on days when I have to sluggishly carry Trader joe’s bags to and from the subway in 80 degree heat or knee-deep sludge, to forget that I chose to do this, and that this didn’t just happen to me, and that every choice I make from here on in has a place in this dirty, smelly, hole of a city.
But It’s not even a city to me anymore, it’s a character in my story. The trains affect my daily life so completely, that an interesting and magical day can be owed entirely to missing the 5:46 R train and magically catching an express N train at 6:05. The city is so stimulating, that it actively affects my choices, and, as a result, my life. If life is made up of moments, this city is fucking momentous.
I needed to get that out, because I’m so stupidly in love. I’ve been single and ready to mingle for quite some time now. Actually, for the entirety of my tenure here. But it hasn’t been lonely. I find myself with a silly smile on my face every time I pass something peculiar, every time the sun hits the freedom tower just right, every time the Q emerges from the recesses of the city’s underground and out over the Manhattan bridge (did i mention I live in Brooklyn???), every time I stumble upon a new bar, restaurant, alley, street, or park. And these things happen to me every day. I kind of wonder sometimes if Manhattan is the only man for me.
Thanks for the hustle, baby. Every time.