I realized this long weekend that in some ways, it's been ten years since I first came to New York.
In May 2002 I moved to Brooklyn for the first time, to work a 3 month internship at Scholastic, the children's publisher. I lived with a couple in their brownstone in Sunset Park, the same neighborhood I live in now. I had never intended to move to New York City, or the the U.S. at all, it just kind of happened.
I was scared, sure, probably. I remember coming home from visiting a friend in Pennsylvania for a weekend, getting on the wrong subway from Port Authority around midnight, ending up at Coney Island in the wee hours and having no idea how to get home. Oops. It would not be the last time the Q train would wrong me.
I would like to think that in my ten years NYC has made me hard, but the
truth is I'm still a little bit afraid of jay-walking. I have seen many
dozen rats, and several dozen celebrities. I have been flashed more
times than I care to remember. I have lived in 5 different neighborhoods Bay Ridge (twice), Kensington, East Village, Crown Heights, Sunset Park (twice). I have eaten probably hundreds of bagels. I have (touch wood) never been mugged. I still work in book publishing, but I went from kids to adult non-fiction.
After my three months in the summer of 2002 I went back to Guelph to finish my final year of
school, before moving here permanently the following May. I often think
that it must have been some level of youthful stupidity/bravery that I
was ever able to move myself to NYC with so little thought. I have since
spent a lot of time wondering how I will move out of this city. We have
a love/hate relationship and I spend a lot of time plotting my escape,
knowing that I probably will never get far.