I’ve put off writing this piece partially because of the amount of work I’ve had to finish, life events that need to be properly prepared for and celebrated, but also because some part of me still believes this isn’t real. But considering my future roommates were handed their keys and I’m on my way to pick mine up today, it’s finally here. No longer does it remain an unanswered wish, an unfulfilled promise to my younger self; it is so very real now.
I am finally moving to New York City and I feel unstoppable.
Technically Brooklyn, but hear me out.
People move to “The City” all the time; half the people in my newsfeed are either apartment searching, or writing about doing so. Big deal, you’re moving to a place where the rent is double and the space you can afford is half. You’re choosing to pay $15 for a drink and sleep in a closet. All for the pursuit of “making it” in The Big Apple. I get it, I could choose anywhere else in the world and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper/more practical. The amount of stress this decision has given me almost makes me forget the reason behind the madness that took place in a real estate office about a month ago.
The apartment hunt begins.
It started off with us in Greenpoint, vying over tiny railroad apartments that pushed the ceiling of our budgets. “What you’re really paying for here is the location,” the broker repeated – as if that would magically make the third bedroom without a real window feel lighter, the crudely constructed hallway less claustrophobic, all to live inside a shoebox in a “nice” neighborhood. This wasn’t what I had prepared for. Where was the pre-war charm, the exposed brick, the sprawling rooftop? Not in our price range, I realized. After having a late showing cancel, I remembered a final listing in South Slope that I added to our spreadsheet the night before. It seemed strange, something that was in our price range, in a decent neighborhood, but also gave you room to breathe?
Plus a garden?
It was worth checking out, we decided. You know, just to get a sense of the spot.
After waiting in the dark for twenty minutes for the broker, we weren’t too sure if we were about to get stood up. It had started to drizzle and doubts about this guy or this place even existing began to bloom within my chest. Was this all for nothing? Or so I thought, until I saw the man with a clipboard and the largest key ring ever, approach us.
Something was different about this place.
I didn’t feel a tightening in my chest as soon as we set foot inside; there was a sense of lightness despite it being completely dark outside. The only feeling I could compare it to was the moment I walked into my college for the first time, erasing all the doubts I had about a full-time photography school. These moments are few and far between for me, yet this was one of them. I inherited my slow decision-making from my dad, always looking for something to question, yet I was left with nothing but a growing sense of calm.
This was the apartment.
So here I am, a month earlier than I intended, but headed into Brooklyn all the same. My anxiety has not allowed me a moment of peace, making sure each decision from towel color to room selection will not be an easy one. But this is something I have yearned for ever since I was little, smiling to myself whenever we passed the highway sign “TO NEW YORK CITY”, knowing full-well there would be a day where I’d look up at that sign on my way to make the city my new home. My heart would tighten and explode all at once each time I got off the Metro North and walked the twenty blocks to my internship by the Flatiron or hop on the subway to a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. The city has felt like my second home whether I wanted it or not, same with anyone who has felt an inexplicable pull towards a place without truly understanding why.
So now begins my newest (and greatest) adventure so far.
Who will I be? How far will I go? What projects will keep me up at night, burning with passion and the need to create? Only time will tell. Am I ready? No, probably not. I could have spent a little more time saving up money, creating a few more contacts, making sure my life was in order before taking a leap. But if we wait for our lives to be perfect, to have everything planned out, what would be the point of the leap in the first place? We would never get anything done if we all waited until we were completely ready.