The past few weeks, I’ve been adjusting to life in NYC. I still sort of feel like a tourist, despite having grown up here. For instance, the other day, I literally said, “After you,” to someone swiping their Metrocard at the turnstile. And last night I texted a friend, “Want to grab a drink?”– forgetting that it just doesn’t *work* that way here (everyone is so busy! always!).
So far, I’ve wandered around museums, slurped down ramen, caught up with friends, and spent an afternoon in a four-story Forever21, just ‘cuz. I’m finally used to how loud it is here, especially at night, and I have my groove back with the subway. There are times when I miss Woods Hole, but there are also pinch-me-moments when I’m reminded why I’ve always loved NYC. One warm night, as my friend Jessica and I strolled through the West Village looking for a place to eat, it felt like we were on a movie set; all the restaurants had their doors and windows swung open, string lights lit up the streets, and the air buzzed with lively chatter.
Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the *bad* parts of living here to emerge from the depths (black snow, train delays, foul smells), and send me running back to my bucolic life on the Cape. New York has an energy that’s hard to describe. It can feel rough around the edges; fast and unforgivable one minute, then tender and buoying the next. The subway is where it all comes together — one second someone is yelling (really yelling) at passengers to move aside, the next, a crowd gathers around an infant to coo and admire. I’ve felt my loneliest here, and I’ve also felt my most alive. As I’ve said before, this is my first time living in NYC as a (true) adult, so I’m curious how things will be different. For now, it feels like the right place to be, just like Woods Hole felt six years ago. It’s an opportunity for me to practice staying in the present, and I’m taking that seriously.
One thing is certain: New York will always be New York. Yesterday while browsing a bookstore, a sizable crowd of paparazzi gathered on the street. I turned to the lady behind the counter and asked excitedly, “Is there a movie star nearby?!” She looked over her glasses and simply shrugged. Oh yeah, I thought, slightly mortified. I’m supposed to be cool about this sort of thing.
New York, you cool cat, I’m glad to be here.