I’m in NYC, got in yesterday and so far it’s been pretty great. I had some delicious pizza with my mom before she headed off the Harlem. That’s the only sore spot of the trip, my mother, convinced (and honestly, rightfully so) that Air B’n’B was the best way to go she found her a nice little spot in Harlem… fast forward to yesterday and she finds out the place is in a not so savory neighborhood and the pictures of the place were less than accurate. Now she is stuck in some place with little peace of mind as to her surroundings and out of $130. Although it’s cheaper than what she would have paid for a hotel, I think that she would have felt better paying a little more and not ending up in an (almost) dump. I feel bad since she’s slumming it and I am sitting pretty in a 3 bedroom apartment on the UES in a building with a elevator and doorman. I wish there was something that I could do, but I will try to rendezvous with my mother today and gauge how she’s feeling about her spot.
Last night Sylvie, Wes, and I went over to LeAnna’s for dinner. Honestly, this was the FIRST legitimately pleasant experience I’ve had with her, but in hindsight I realize that she may not have realized that she was kind of being a bitch to me, or at least coming off that way. We had a delicious salad, mediocre pasta, copious amounts of wine, and enough laughs to last us for the entire night. Catch Phrase was a fun time and having hilarious conversations about the craziness that is being a (ex-)CC student made me remember why I love that place so much. It also made me so much more excited to move to the city after graduation.
When dinner commenced and we were all sufficiently wined and dined, Anna Zekan, Laura Blackett, Sylvie and I walked to the 4 train: them to get home and us to meet up with some of Sylvie’s friends for a birthday celebration. It was a long-ish voyage down to the LES but when we got there I was greeted with the NYC you see in movies. As it was almost 1AM by the time we got off the train the streets were dark and slick with rain and mystery city puddles that always seem to be there no matter how hot it might be. They were illuminated by neon signs and streetlights, the glare reflected like paintings on the shiny streets. There was graffiti and grit, people in everything from slouchy Alternative Apparel-esque bro tanks and denim cut offs with combat boots, to stilettoes and slinky tops atop the skinniest of jeans and embroidered pencil miniskirts (more than likely a la Zara than Balmain). It was a barrage of people, an anticipated and well-received (at least on my part) sea of young 20-somethings, and some notso-20-somethings holding hands, arms draped over shoulders, shepherded and wondering in and out of bars and lounges, cabs, and emerging from the metro stations. I felt like had stepped into my version of Wonderland, the NYC wanderlust that I had never really understood until I was old enough to venture into NYC nightlife. There were outfits of every kind although I did feel a little out of place (my outfit was decidedly day), and only the part above hip level was particularly inspired, chock it up to “jetlag”.
It felt otherworldly as the neon signs from every bar, DuaneReade, and 7/11 in the area shone like beacons to the droves of youngsters continuing, starting, and ending their nights. At the same time, it also felt very familiar, the girls in a smattering of different styles, but the predominant dress code alluding to nights on West 6th and post-prep school parties. Most of the guys wore the usual uniform, designer jeans or nice pants in white and khaki, a button down or a trendy t-shirt. It was as if I was going out with my guy friends from home, strange and comforting all at the same time. We went to Whiskey Town to meet up with Sylvie’s friends and they were already outside, quite visibly boozed and looking to move on. At 1:30/:40 we couldn’t really complain despite the sounds of the music pumping from inside beckoning us to join the fun. We headed to 4th St to get to a spot that had been recommended to them, B Bar. The line was long but one of Sylvie’s friends, Ann, had drunkenly dropped her phone in the toilette and so while the others waited, we went on a mini-expedition to find rice. Needless to say, it was futile and we weren’t able to find rice; or Anne for that matter, after quite a few minutes of searching. When we joined the rest of the group in line we were more than halfway through and the wait was a little more bearable. The group was in constant flux, and it seemed that everyone was rolling deep with people, a far cry from how I usually prowl the city. By the time we got in we’d been joined by another of the group’s friends, Devon, who was just dropping by on her way home to prepare for an early flight. There was a sense of casualness to the encounter that one seldom experiences living on the outskirts of the city; or in this case, living in a city that isn’t quite as accessible as NY. After happily suffering through some terrible and sometimes not-so-terrible Top 40 hits, a claustrophobia-inducing booth at a table sticky with beer and god-knows what else, and one of the worse pick up attempts I’ve ever experienced, we decided to return back to our sleeping quarters on the UES and save our energy, money, and goodtime spirits for today, Camey’s birthday.
The walk to the train was nice and surprisingly I wasn’t as bothered by the bad smells and mystery crap on the sidewalks or the mounds of trash as I thought I would be. There is something to say for the NYC dweller. I totally understand people who have an adamant dislike of the city generally. It’s dirty, there are strange people everywhere, there are too many people sometimes but despite this you can feel like you are completely alone. But on the flip side there is so much beauty to be seen, experienced, and found, interesting places and people everywhere and a plethora of things for any person to indulge in at any time of the day or night. There is an energy the comes from the streets that makes you feel like you could literally do anything, that if you survive in NYC, you can go anywhere and absolutely conquer.
For me, I have this gut feeling that NYC is where I need to be for a while. Although I know there will be lots of struggles, long commutes, and hustling to make ends meet there is this undeniable feeling that even if I live here for 2 years, I will come out on the other end a much better and much more confident version of myself. Today we are going to be exploring Brooklyn, hitting up Williamsburg and hopefully making our way to Buchwick. I think that tonight will be a lot of fun and I’m excited to see Camey after not seeing her for the whole summer. This weekend, I know, will not be enough and there are a million things and million days that I want to have in this wonderful city. But for now, I will suffice for a great weekend and look forward to those to come.