i'm coming up on my 2 year anniversary of living in NYC. as is very true with life in general, if someone had told me all that would happen in those 2 years, I probably would have laughed out loud... but i did want to take a moment to reflect on my life in this magnificent city these past two years. someone told me recently that one's first year living in NYC doesn't really count, because it's such a busy whirlwind of just trying to get from point A to point B, all with keeping your bearings + bearing a grin... it's enough to knock the wind right on out of you. another friend that's new to the city, told me she felt like it's camping to live here. because you have to walk 15-30 minutes to 8 different places to get 5 ingredients for dinner, that she'd often rather hide under the covers + stay home. cold + in the dark. hunting + gathering, urban style. it's so true. i buy dog food online so i don't have to make that add'l stop in my week... much less haul it all home. i want to preface the rest of this little anecdote with 2 points. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LIVING IN NYC.
NEW YORK CITY IS NOT AN EASY PLACE TO LIVE. AT ALL.
i think the comment of your first year not really counting rings true... because it takes almost a year to figure out the trains, + avenues vs. streets... how everything's in a nice grid until you get to the village + it throws you for a loop. that almost everyone i know that's new to New York, is late for meetings because nobody accounts for delayed trains, or the amount of walking sometimes involved. or that a body has been found on the tracks + you're stuck on a train with no cell service for 40 minutes plus. yes that's happened. twice to me. this place is crazy. it's non stop, it's blazing, it's pulsating with energy + buzzing with life every minute of every hour of every day. i would associate moving to NYC like someone very out of shape, getting on a speeding treadmill... + it taking a good year to get caught up, to get the rhythm down + to find your groove. after the initial honeymoon stage was over, there were quite a few times that i really had to ask myself what i was doing here... because i didn't really like it. most first year timers it turns out have had the same thought. here's another big point i'd like to make. LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY, IS NOT LIKE VISITING NEW YORK CITY. when you visit you're ready to fill every minute of every day with walking the streets + cramming as much into your agenda as possible. you're spending all kinds of money + plastic on shopping + wining + dining like you probably never do at home. + you're loving every minute of it. that's what my first visits consisted of. when you live here, the rent is so sky rocket high that trust me... you're watching those pennies so you can just afford a roof over your head. + you can almost forget you ever had those $16-$18 cocktails you enjoyed nightly on your visit. being at the mercy of the extreme weather, on a day that you have the brave a 5 hr. wait at the DMV, only to be relentlessly cut off by CRAZY drivers on the way home is enough to make any sane person mad. you should have seen my jaw drop the first time i went shopping at the trader joe's in union square... only to picked back up as i dropped my basket + walked out realizing that the line to pay wrapped around the store probably 2-3 times over. being a photographer in NYC is not easy, as you're hauling your gear on your shoulder on 100 degree days, in torrential downpours, or cool 11 degree mornings. lots + lots of places need permits. + there's lots + lots of people to contend with in the background of your shots. want to know one of the craziest places to shoot? the brooklyn bridge. (they even recently instituted pedestrian police to keep the peace because of the throngs of tourists that flock + the local bikers that abhor them + shout obscenities while speeding by) ok, enough negatives about the place. stage 2 years ago enter me : i came knowing one person (ONE!) with $1900 in savings + a crazy hope + a dream that i could make it as a freelance photographer in one of the most saturated photography markets on the planet. someone else told me before i moved here that NY was the loneliest place in the world. i can also attest to this. so my first year here i threw myself into my work... + worked... all. the. time. enter present day : i'm still freelancing + have been carving out my living from my photography since day 1. being a location photographer has allowed me to see more of this city than most i know. + at the 2 year mark, i'm really starting to get a feel for the place. i'm starting to KNOW the city really well. + I love that feeling. (I also love driving through Manhattan... it's one of my favorite things to do...) i'm finally starting to create + commune with a real community of dear friends + fellow photographers. this as anyone knows is priceless... + a time consuming endeavor to build. i love that there's always something going on... something happening... someone to see... somewhere to eat... it never stops + i can never get enough. once you cross off the big must do's you can concentrate on the little ones... i'm trading in the MOMA for the tenement museum. + the 4th of July on Coney Island for the Jazz Festival on Governor's Island. french food in soho is getting exchanged for greek in astoria. + while the west village is prettier... the east village has won my heart (as Irving Berlin said : "everybody ought to have a Lower East Side in their life.") I'll leave you with an amazing quote by E. B. White that I think sums it up perfectly :
“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. ...Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. ” E.B. White, Here is New York