This past Saturday night I ended up going to a get-together at an apartment of a friend of a friend. And really, this “friend” is a relatively new acquaintance. But I show up (another newly acquainted friend in tow) and basking in the glow of Midtown high rises, I had some drinks and conversation with a bunch of strangers.
A couple of things stood out to me about this evening. One was the view. We were up on the 20th floor… buildings all around but a gorgeous and unobstructed view of the Chrysler Building. I know I haven’t even been here a year yet, but I hope I NEVER get tired of seeing these iconic buildings. I imagine that if I lived in this apartment, I would start every day by going to the balcony (yeah, they had a balcony) and staring up at the sunbursts on the spire. Seeing these buildings on a regular basis is a reminder of my new life (as if I could forget). I still don’t know what this city holds for me in the long term, but keeping my eyes looking up to the sky is something I never want to stop.
The other thing that stood out to me was the social aspect. This is not the first NYC gathering I went to where I knew only one person… and then came to find the strange chain of who knew who and how they knew each other. It happens more often than you’d think. But that’s what’s so great about this city. It is full of displaced people starting new lives. You meet new people, you hang out… sometimes you get offers for cheap haircuts, sometimes you get really great dating advice (or really terrible advice), sometimes you get talked into late night karaoke, sometimes you get convinced to take an improv class… either way, it’s always interesting and seems to come from a genuine place of community.
A few weeks back I was sitting up on my roof (a favorite leisure activity) having some drinks with friends (another favorite leisure activity) and listening to some great music (you get the idea). It was a gorgeous night, we were having some good conversation and suddenly I had this feeling of being nostalgic for the present. I realized that I had been missing something… and though I can’t fully explain what it was, I knew I hadn’t had it for a while. The best I can figure is that it was a sense of community. People accepting each other… wanting to be together… just existing on a similar plane… or something like that. And living here, I am surrounded by it. And I love it.
It’s been nearly a year since I left California and started on this strange journey. It’s been really tough at times, but I feel like I’m getting what I wanted… without knowing exactly what I wanted. I am constantly invigorated by this city. Every time I go to a party full of strangers or pass under the shadow of the Empire State Building or get beers with my softball team or have meaningful conversations with my roommate… I am reminded that I’m living my life. And living it the way I always wanted.
Blog title song: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z
Photo credit: files.myopera.com