I recently told someone that I had a life altering experience in New York City last year. While that statement sounds dramatic, it’s also true.
I had the chance to visit New York for work last August and something just clicked. Anyone who visits there speaks of the vibrancy, life and energy that exudes from those city streets, and I am no exception. From the minute stepping off the plane at La Guardia (even with its run down state) I loved being bombarded with different languages and aesthetics and just the magnitude that is New York City. The anything goes mentality and organic diversity is so refreshing, being very different from the rather homogeneous city in which I currently reside. I went out a few days before the work meetings, stayed with friends in Brooklyn and proceeded to walk all over Manhattan. It was August and hot and sticky, but it didn’t matter I was in it to win it and experience it all.
I thought I had wanted to move there after college and yet when the time came, I didn’t feel the intense pull after graduation that I needed in order to really make the leap. I then considered it again after being in San Francisco for a few years. I had a couple of phone interviews, but again I held myself back and didn’t fully understand why I was considering such a drastic change. I realize now that more of it was not wanting to leave the comfort of home in the Bay Area, but now having already pulled myself out of it, the lure of the city during this most recent trip had new appeal.
I came back thinking “This is it, I have to move. I HAVE to be in NYC NOW”. I have one other intensely driving experience similar to this – I was living in Berkeley right after college, dating someone very nice, but not particularly interesting, and I had gone to San Francisco for a night on the town with friends. While waiting for a cab at the end of the night, I had an epiphany that THIS is what I need to be doing. I needed to be living more, in a city, surrounded by new experiences and a vibrancy that my life then didn’t have. Three months later I had broken up with the boyfriend and three months after that was living in Germany, for one of my greatest adventures of all time.
Sometimes you need a kick in the butt to get things rolling and I have found that listening to your intuitions can lead to great things. I did come back from New York thinking that I needed to be there, but after deep consideration (and looking at apartment size vs. cost on craigslist), I came to the realization that maybe I needed to start with changing my perspective on being in Denver. Obviously I’m not able to recreate the emotion that runs through New York and brings it to life, but I could seek out more museums, arts, restaurants and diversity in the town where I’ve already made personal investments, instead of packing up and starting all over again.
So that’s what I did. Over the past eight months (how is it eight already?!?) I have made a conscious effort to truly engage in my life here in Denver – joining the Denver Art Museum, taking German classes, seeking out local activities and instigating evenings out, striking up new friendships and further developing existing ones. So far it’s been great. I feel like things are coming together and am grateful to have had this realization about what it takes for me to be happy and fulfilled in my life and to further prove to myself that many times one’s happiness is a factor of one’s own making.
I was back in New York again in February, and it was wonderful. More comfortable, just as exhilarating. At the same time, I wasn’t dying to pack up my life and move there again. It’s not completely off the radar, but for the time being I’m happy to know it’s there, I can go play whenever I want, and the rest of the time I can attempt to lead a big city life in little city Denver.
No individual experience was ‘life altering’, but here are the adventures and excursions from the last two visit:
- Brazilian brunch at Beco
- Walk through the East Village, drink at McSorley’s, macaroon from Laduree, down through SOHO into downtown to visit the 911 memorial.
- Lunch at Russ and Daughter’s Cafe
- The Whitney – recently redone, a lovely space and experience with great views of the city
- The Standard Beer Garden – quite the scene on a weekend, but weekdays are just right
- Walk through Chelsea, continuing up along the Hudson river
- A visit to Grand Central Station after many years, I had totally forgotten about the wonderful constellations on the ceiling
- The Breslin – continuing my obsession with April Bloomfield, Scotch egg, lamb and halumi sausage and lamb burger not to be missed
- Her bar Salvation Taco was also on my hotel’s rooftop, obviously I went
- Walk through Central Park on my way to brunch with a friend at Bar Boulud from the Upper East side where I was staying
- Coffee and a pastry from Dean & Deluca on the way because New York City
- MOMA followed by an accidental detour to Queens on the way back – I should have known a Saturday in winter would be busy at the MOMA. I ended up buying my ticket online while I was waiting in line and easily skipped 40 people as a result
- Broadway show – I saw The Present with Cate Blanchett, wanting to experience a famous person in the flesh and a play that would not eventually be traveling
- Momofuku Noodle Bar – late night dinner post play, so excited to finally try a David Chang restaurant
- Pastries and The New York Times at home for a leisurly Sunday morning
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with a quick detour through picturesque DUMBO before ubering to Greenpoint for a Superbowl party
- High Street on Hudson for dinner on my last night, I had heard a lot about it and read about the seaweed bucatini, which I just had to try
Photos in order:
- Grand Central Station
- Pathway under a Central Park Bridge
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Kate Spade New York office
- 911 Memorial / Chelsea
- Sunday Morning
- Salvation Taco rooftop bar
- Russ and Daughters Cafe
- Times Square for the Broadway show
- Perfect resting view at The Whitney
- MOMA – I was not the only one
- View from The Whitney / piece I liked from the museum
- Super Bowl Sunday flag football