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Archive for April, 2008

So I am not really sure how to start this blog. I thought about an introduction, telling you (whoever you may be) about me, but then I figured that most of you know me and I have probably already told you I am starting a blog, so what’s the point in introductions.

Then I debated about just jumping in with some of the random posts that pop into my head throughout the day, when I turn to my friend Niamh (rhymes with Steve, not Ni-am-ha) and say “I want to blog that.”

Or maybe the best choice is a story since that seems to be what I do best; tell stories. But which one should I go with, which one should set the tone for this blog…keep you interested in reading again?

I think I’ll start with me.

Nine months ago I began my New York City experience, moving up from rural Pennsylvania with 3 suitcases, 2 parents, 1 job and no place to live. I transplanted from a town where the ratio of cows to people was 3:1 and the ratio of monuments to people, 2:1. I didn’t think I’d find many similarities to the Big Apple and my Apple Country, but surprisingly a few do exist. Bobble-neck pigeons seem to outnumber humans in the same way as the cows, a 3:1 clump I constantly dodge. Their impatient surges from the sidewalk have me batting my hands in a wild attempt to swat them away.

The monuments of Soldiers and cannons lining cornfields were replaced by obelisk skyscrapers shadowing suits and skirts, their height soaring in comparison to the transit masses.

I learned a great deal in those first few months. I learned never to order a cosmo because of SATC. I learned the 456 and NRW and everything in between. I knew where in my neighborhood had the best brunch and a great HousingWorks shop. I knew to ignore Times Square. I knew where to find a comfy bookstore and a good cup of coffee. I grew to love the noise and yet be able to find the quiet. I grew to recognize the man at the top of 33rd and Park’s subway stop who yelled, “Paper, Good Morning New York, Free Paper, Get Your Paper here…AM New York” then leaned over to nod, “nice skirt” at me as I tramped up the last few steps. That was probably the coolest part (not the man’s compliment), but when I learned my way around, I no longer felt like a tourist.

And that’s when I finally settled on what this entry should be about. My first New York Moment as a New Yorker (though I get that I am not technically allowed to call my self one for what…10 years of surviving here or something ridiculous like that?).

The worst month to move in this city is definitely August (I changed from sub-let to apartment August 1). The worst month to walk by mounds of garbage that sit out for most of the day is August. The worst month to do anything outside, including walking one block to work, is August. You can’t stand still without having rivers of sweat puddling in precarious places (gross I know, but you know too). In this weather my shirts…changed color, my make-up smeared to an abstract watercolor painting, and my hair frizzled to Don King heights.

But there were some great things about summer in the city. And my Moment that still can make me pause like a tourist was my first Happy Hour on a Rooftop Bar in Midtown. On one evening, my co-worker invited me for drinks after work at a bar close to our offices. A co-worker I’d never met was leaving and this was naturally a reason to grab drinks. The bar was around 35th and Third Avenue. When we got there, I order a vodkatonic (one word in my dictionary) and squeezed by people to the group we came with. As the new comer, people asked a lot of questions—where was I from originally, did I like the city, how was I adjusting?

They seemed to look at me as a new exhibit on display, “Small Town Artifacts” (not an interactive, hand-on display–more of a gawk and point showcase). And I made it worse by casually mentioning how I got on the subway to go up to my sublet on 96th and Second Avenue. I had stopped at a supermarket and picked up some ice cream for dinner after spending the afternoon with a friend in Times Square. I pulled out a book on the train (to fit in with the other natives) and waited to get to my stop. It was raining when I stepped off the train and looked around for which direction I was supposed to go….and I stood there…and a little longer still until I realized that I was not anywhere near my apartment. In fact, I was the Upper West Side, and yes I lived on the Upper East Side…you know, the other side of the island. I had to ask a cop how to get to Second Avenue, which clearly involved going all the way back down to Times Square across to Grand Central and up to 94th. As I told the story, I watched as these seasoned New Yorkers made pitying eye contact with one another and laughed at my rookie mistake. So I took advantage of my newness by saying that I actually love having these New York Moments.

Cassandra frowned at me and asked what I meant by a New York Moment. And I dramatically swept my arm around and said, “This.” Obviously.

There I was in my first few weeks in the city on the third floor of a roof bar. The sun was setting and I stood facing the Empire State Building, sipping a vodkatonic, watching as the sky kaleidoscoped from reds, pinks and oranges to blues, blacks and violets. They laughed as I shared my moment, shaking their heads I guess at the fact that I was still a wide-eyed lover of all things New York. But eventually they cracked their shells and shared a few they’d had when they first moved here.

Cassandra’s was a favorite: Every morning coming up the subway from Brooklyn, she stopped at the same metal box bagel and coffee stand on the curb for a small cup of coffee. Her first sip, the anticipation of it as she came up the subway steps, and the walk savoring it was her New York Moment.

So that’s my first post. I’m KT. It’s nice to meet you.

Tell me your New York Moment, good, bad, or made-up…

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