It only took 11 years

I was 18 when I first fell in love with New York. I spent the summer here as an administrative intern at a theater company. By day I answered phones and read plays and organized the office and took on more responsibility. After hours I went out, all over the city with friends who were older, to bars where I never got carded or to plays where the seats were comped. The one piece of Manhattan advice that had stuck with me was to never ride the subway after 11pm, so most nights I could be found walking blocks and blocks home alone, or piling into a shared cab. Home was an "only in New York" sublet: a 4th-floor walk-up, 1-bedroom split in Midtown with a stranger who had to walk through my room every day in order to get to the bathroom or to the front door.

Nothing about the city got me down—not the heat, nor the prices, nor my sweltering cluttered apartment. I felt certain that I had found my destiny: to live and work (and play) in New York City. I started thinking maybe I should just stay. A great job opened up that hadn't been posted yet, and a contact got me an interview, and it went well, and I almost believed that it could happen. Real life was all messy and up in the air. I had just decided to take a leave of absence from college, take a year off, and transfer. I had sworn off singing altogether in favor of directing (the first time in what would become a pattern), and I was having trouble seeing my future clearly. Nothing had gone right or turned out like I planned, until my summer in New York, which was exactly what I had hoped for but better.

Of course I didn't get the job—I didn't have a college degree (duh). I left at the end of the summer as scheduled, and I figured out what I needed, and I moved on. Whenever I visited the city from time to time, I still felt like it was mine. I had my favorite restaurants, and my favorite streets, and I could navigate the subway system with relative ease. I always thought I'd end up here someday.

And then I started working here, for a couple months at a time, and I couldn't get that feeling back. Even though I was living the "glamorous" life I had pictured at 18, with a good job, and incredible friends, and enough money for a nice apartment and dinners out, New York left me cold. I couldn't picture making a life here in anything but a temporary way. It's hard to live here. It's expensive, and the weather is mostly terrible, and it's crowded, and it's dirty. Even for two months, I feel that, and it usually makes me want to go somewhere else.

It hit me last week that this time has been different, though. I can't quite put my finger on why it happened now and not before, whether it's subletting in a neighborhood I adore, or seeing friends more regularly, or finally feeling like I know how to do my job. I do know that in the week CM and I spent together here, I could see us here for real, sometime in the future. And seeing it gave me a glimpse of the same exhilaration I felt during that first summer here, all those years ago.

I think it might be love.


All that being said, though... can we please fast forward to Monday, when I'll be back home in Wien with my kitten and my CameraMan? New York will still be here when I get back.


  1. What a great story. NY for me will always be a place to visit, not to live.

  2. Yes, NYC will probably be there when you come back; although Vienna has an advantage in terms of feet above sea level...

  3. What a nice writing, very easy for me to understand and for moments I felt I was there...NY will be waiting for you always...with love!


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