Illustration by Ashley Elander
It’s been two weeks since I moved to New York City, and taking the time to write this feels like the first stretch that I’ve been able to focus on one thing in quite some time.
In short, it’s been a rush, but completely magnificent.
Really, this is a hell of a place. I understand I’m still wide-eyed with the newness and excitement of being in a different place, but I think that’s something that even the most hardened New Yorker doesn’t actually forget. This place feels endless. It’s like a theme park with all these different rides, and even if you have been on them a million times already, they never get old.
Most people from back home approach me here with a bit of tenuousness about my experiences here thus far – and that’s understandable, because I have a less than stellar track record when throwing myself into a new situation. This time, though, I’m not writing to detail my feelings of nervousness or anxiety, mainly, because they have been minimal. Since I got situated here, I’ve really felt one thing.
Besides the initial first-day “WHAT DID I JUST DO?” after I moved in to my apartment, it’s been really fun. In my free time, I’m constantly moving about Manhattan and Brooklyn, learning the subway lines (and all of the transfer points, natch), stopping at bodega after bodega for water (the heat wave here has been totally insane – moving day, it was over 100 degrees out) and any pizza joint that looks remotely decent. I’ve had arepas from an Argentinian restaurant, taken advantage of being geographically close to a Pinkberry, and devoured Tastycakes Kandy Kakes that are available at Duane Reade.
I don’t think I truly understood how much of a cultural melting pot this is. There is really an insane division of people here. Chicago, it’s more or less black and white (literally and figuratively) but here – I don’t think I’ve heard so many different languages in an enclosed space.
There’s something about New York City that separates it from any of the other cities I’ve visited. It feels so huge, so self-contained, like it’s completely independent from America and operates as it’s own country. I don’t know how to explain it other than recommending a visit here. You’ll feel it soon as you hit the ground. It whacked me in the face when I was sitting in one of the pedestrian plazas in Times Square last week. It’s weird to feel so alien and so home in one place.
We’ll see where it goes from here. There’s still a lot of this story that has yet to be written. I’ve found plenty of things to do, may it be shows that pop up, places I want to visit for the first time, or people to see that I’ve met through my various travels over the years. I’m excited for what’s to come and I think that’s the best attitude to have going forward.
Visit Ashley’s site here.