I always wanted to live in New York City. I can’t remember a time when I hadn’t ached to live in the big city with the bright lights, exotic people and constant movement. These fantasies were fed by old movies, family stories, and the TV show Fame, of course. As a young girl, I was lucky enough to have family to visit, to eat lunch at the Russian Tea room, visit the Met and see the Rockefeller Center magically lit up at Christmas time, further feeding my romantic notions of the city. In my teens, I sipped coffee in a tiny, crowded cafe in the east village surrounded by foreign accents. I saw a performance at St Mark’s Church, walked the snowy city streets, and it was then that I knew I had found my city and my people, that I would someday make this place my home. Just a few years after that visit I did. With a backpack and $300 to my name (borrowed from my very worried grandparents), I shared a bed with college friend for a month and then graduated to an egg foam mat in a filthy bachelor pad in Brooklyn for 8 months after that, scraping by on hard-earned tips from a bagel shop on Court Street. And I was smitten.
New York has surpassed those original romantic notions in so many ways. It is my big love and my biggest heart-break. It is my family and my heart…and it is magic. How do you leave your family and your heart and all of that magic? Knowing that you can’t ever really leave. Even though I grew up on the west coast and I’m so grateful for that, I am a very proud fourth generation New Yorker. I always will be, no matter where I live.
I wrote this mid-flight, straddling both coasts physically and psychologically, having just come off of a marathon of crying jags, and a flurry of mini panic attacks. I was finally able to address how I was feeling about leaving my home of 18 years. The truth is, it took up until the very last-minute for me to feel the heft of it all. I’ve been so excited about moving to LA and looking ahead, I wasn’t doing a lot of looking back. But packing up my entire adult life in New York City for the past five days straight into medium-sized cardboard boxes to be shipped over 2,000 miles away to an apartment I hadn’t even laid eyes on yet in real life, forced me to let it all sink in. And, hoo boy, did I! While I KNOW that I’ll be back regularly and it’s very important for me to stay connected to New York – it IS still the cocktail epicenter in many ways, I wanted to acknowledge the end of this particular chapter in my life. And because New York has been a huge part of this blog, I wanted to let you all in on that as well. It’s been a crazy, beautiful, mad love affair for nearly two decades, not without its bumps(!), but without any regrets.
Now I can really look ahead with the knowledge that I’ve floundered and flourished and everything in between in one of the greatest cities on earth. And I know there is life and a world outside of that. I’m so ready for what’s next. And to share this next journey here. Los Angeles, I’m coming for you.
All photos by Shannon Carpenter from This Aperture