Dear New York, I’ve been living here for 17 whole months and I feel like it’s been a marathon and a sprint all at once! It’s been quite the rollercoaster of a relationship, some days I really love you and others not so much.
You’re the one place in the world that makes me feel like anything is possible. I never know what movie set I’ll stumble across on my morning jog or who I’ll end up sitting beside in a restaurant. You’re the only place where I could ever have found not one, but two of my dream jobs in one year and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Things that happen in New York could only ever happen here and that’s part of why you’re so special.
You’ve made me appreciate the little things, like when someone new takes the time to learn my name. In a city filled with millions of strangers, there are days when you can be a lonely place to be. But when my Pilates instructor says “Hey Michaela, missed you in class yesterday” or when the kind workers at Panera Bread give up on trying to pronounce my last name and start calling me soup lady, it makes me feel like I might belong here. God forbid somebody offer me a seat on the subway, I’ll be smiling from ear to ear all day.
You’re the only place in the world that’s exactly like the movies. For example when I’m walking down Fifth Ave at Christmas but at the same time, you’re also nothing like the movies because nobody could afford a wardrobe and a brownstone like Carrie from Sex and The City on a writers salary. You’ve also made me think that it’s totally acceptable to pay $12 for a salad and have given me a list of NYC eats too big for me to ever get through. Speaking of food, I don’t feel as guilty about eating a cupcake from Magnolias and a cookie from Levain bakery every now and again because I know you’ll have me walking miles and miles each day. For that my waistline thanks you, but my feet certainly don’t. Also speaking of food, I love that you make my favorite takeaways deliver food to my apartment at any hour of the night. And I’m thankful that you have Insomnia Cookies (a cookie delivery service.)
Have I told you that I think you’re so beautiful? I love that you transform yourself four times a year. With each season comes new a fresh patch of flowers planted along Park Ave, a new type of decoration for the houses and a whole new selection of treats to try at the farmers market. And when you get snow, well then you’re even more beautiful, especially in Central Park where grown ups turn into kids with their sleighs and snowmen.
Some mornings, I curse the day I ever met you when I’m jammed into the subway during rush hour wondering “did that guy purposely touch my butt, or did he get pushed?” I also don’t appreciate the fact that no matter how cold you get outside, the subways are always sweaty.
You’ve shown me what it means to have a work ethic and that hard work is rewarded. Working alongside some of the most dedicated people in the fashion industry who never complain about working 12 hour days or not getting a lunch break has made me realise that a New York work ethic will never compare anywhere else in the world
You’ve taught me to ALWAYS expect the unexpected. Just when I think I’m settled and getting comfortable, you sure know how to through a spanner in the works and pull me right out of that comfort zone. In those moments, I hate you for that but I know in the long run that every obstacle you throw my way is for a reason.
You’re extreme, in every sense of the word. The Summer’s are sweltering hot and the Winters are freezing. Nice people are the kindest, most generous people you’ll meet, while the mean people are the biggest assholes you’ll come across. The price of rent makes me stress, but living a few blocks away from Central Park makes me smile endlessly. The work is never ending and tiring but being able to go support yourself in the most expensive city in the world makes it all the worthwhile
You taught me to not be a pushover and to toughen up. People move to this city from all over the world to “make it” in NYC and every one of them is competing with each other for the top spot. The old me would always shy away from competition and be the nice one who says “after you,” but you’ve taught me that in this city, it’s bite or be bitten, and although I’ve learned it the hard way, it’s true when they say that nice girls don’t get the corner office (although I’m trying to prove otherwise!)
Photography: Edelle Kenny
You know that quote “Live fast, Die young?”, well not to be morbid but it reminds me of you. The lifestyle you have me living, working so hard, living to life to the fullest at the weekends to the point of feeling guilty for watching a movie on my couch on a Saturday, feels like it has a shelf life. There’s only a given amount of time that I’ll be able keep giving you my all before I physically can’t anymore, but that’s ok because there’s still a fire in me yet!
As much as I love you, sometimes I wish we never met because I fear that I’ll forever feel torn about where I should be. Home will always be home and I miss it so much it hurts sometimes but I think that I’ll always have a mindset that tells me the grass is always greener in the place that I’m not. In one way I’m blessed that I have American citizenship so I can come and go as I please, but sometimes that choice can be more paralysing than freeing because when you have more options to choose from, you are less likely to end up satisfied with any decision as it becomes too easy to imagine what could have been had you made a different decision. (Does that even make sense? lol) And I know the day I eventually leave you will be the day I realise I should have savoured every minute of our time together! But alas, you’ll always be just a flight away!