New York State of Mind

by Ginger on March 29, 2011

in Becoming Myself

Years ago, I worked in New York. It’s sometimes hard to remember that that’s a truth of mine–which seems funny considering how LARGE New York is in my mind.

It’s been 4 years, almost exactly, since we picked up our life in New York/New Jersey and drove west. Which means it’s been about 7. 5 years since I first moved from Arizona to make my way in the big bad New York publishing industry.

I both loved and hated New York. I hated the weather. I hated that I only was happy with the outside about 2-3 months out of the year. I hated the drain. I hated the expense, and the small spaces. I hated the noise, and the dirt, and the wear. New York is a hard place, an exhausting place, that goes and goes and goes and goes. For someone who likes, very much, to NOT go all the time, it was hard.

And yet.

New York is…New York. I mean, it sparkles and glitters and vibrates and hums. It is pure energy, contained in a speck of land on the eastern seaboard. New York is full of stories and imagery. New Yorkers are, by and large, some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It’s NEW YORK.

It shocks me sometimes that I can practically forget the 3 years I lived there. That I can vividly think of growing up in New Mexico and Texas, going to college in Arizona, and then just skip right to San Diego. Other times, I can’t believe I ever left–it feels like just yesterday I was hiking through the city for job interviews, running out in a blizzard to throw snowballs with N.C., riding an elevator with a famous author, sitting in a cozy little bar listening to jazz. I want to remember all that stuff, in fact, I’m afraid of forgetting it sometimes with how I’ve washed the New York years out of my head.  They were hard and took a toll on me, but they also helped shape the person I am today in a LOT of ways. I don’t want to forget that.


Carolyn (temysmom) March 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I grew up in Connecticut about 45 minutes from Manhattan. We used to go into NY all the time when I was a kid. When my parents divorced, my father moved to the city and we were there two weekends a month. Then, I lived there for a few months while I was working at an internship for an interior design company. I hate New York! There, I said it. I hated living there for all the reasons you did.

New York is an amazing city if you are visiting. It has lots of fab museums, Broadway shows, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park. If you have the means to spend a week or two and have tons of money it is a great place to go. But living there? Nope – it wasn’t for me. My brother lives there now and absolutely loves it. I can’t figure it out. I need sunshine and wide open spaces. I like getting in my own car and going wherever and whenever I want.

Ginger March 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I always say now that I will ALWAYS visit New York–and I will recommend it to other people–but I’m not sure you could pay me enough money to live there again. I’m with you…give me sunshine and space any day!

Also, I lived for about 6 months in Stamford, and rode the train into New York everyday for work. Connecticut is a beautiful place, but not made for a 20-something commuter!

Carolyn (temysmom) March 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm

No way! I grew up in Stamford! Obviously I left as soon as possible. Went to college in Philadelphia (with a stint working in NYC) and then moved to California.

emily @ the happy home March 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Like carolyn, actually, I grew up in Connecticut right outside of the city (about 45 minutes– I’ll bet I know of the town where she’s from!). It is the most magical, brilliant place in the world, and because I always went there for plays or museums or zoos, I will always believe it to be the most cultured and knowledgeable city in the world, too.

But after living in LA for five years, and going back to visit, I don’t know why I always wanted to live there. The crowds and the noise are too much. But the history and the incredibly nice people? They could draw me back, I think. Angelenos are the rudest lot in America– I miss warm and helpful New Yorkers. I say that without sarcasm!

Ginger March 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

It is a fantastic place when you’re seeing the sights. When you’re living and working smack in the middle of the sights? Pain in the ass. I love the city in a lot of ways, but it is a hard hard place to live. Great people, not an easy place.

Brooke March 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I always wonder when I find out I lived in NY at the same time as someone else if we ever passed each other on the subway.

I lasted 8 months. And then I decided that it took more energy to live in New York than I got out of living there. So I left. I do miss it some days though and wish I could visit yearly but not stay until I get tired!

Ginger March 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm

The crazy thing is, it’s very very possible! When I lived there, we ended up, in one night, running into 4 people we had gone to college with. At separate locations. It was…uncanny.

I “get” to go back every year for work, but I’m always so tired from the conference stuff that I don’t really get to enjoy it. It’d be nice to go back and meander through the streets…or powerwalk, whatever.

Brooke March 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Also, as someone who likes to go all the time, it was STILL exhausting!

I did love wandering through Central Park in the spring. It was the one time of year I truly truly loved it.

clara March 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm

It is so strange to have that sort of magical fever dream of a living experience. I have never lived anywhere but here (Vancouver..and various suburbs surrounding) but my Great American Road Trip is one such memory – so life changing, so pivotal, and yet. At the time I thought I would always want to be on the road. I couldn’t imagine living in an apartment..and now I have 5 years paid into a mortgage. What the what heck!

Never been to New York (we ran out of money & gas on our road trip round about the mid-west) but would LOOVVVVE to see it.

Ginger March 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I’ve always wanted to do a big American roadtrip. Well, one that didn’t involve a uhaul and driving across country in 3.5 days.

And New York–yeah, if you get a chance to ever go, you really should. It’s an amazing, wonderful, thrilling place. Great for vacations!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks March 30, 2011 at 10:34 am

You sound like a lot of people I know who live (or have lived) in New York. Only difference is, you actually got out (so many love it, hate it, love it, hate it and never leave). I think it’s special you were able to spend so many years there and really kick-start a career that you were able to carry with you back to the West Coast.

Ginger March 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I had to get out…or lose my sanity! I know some people have stronger wills than I do–let them enjoy New York.
But I am grateful I was able to go, and start my career solidly, and learn everything I learned there.

Elizabeth March 31, 2011 at 1:31 am

I’m not built for big, compact cities, I don’t think. I adored Cambridge, but not Boston so much. I didn’t get a chance to really get to know New York either time I visited, but it’s such an enthralling city that I can’t wait to get back and dig in a little more.

Ginger March 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I sometimes miss the walkability that a compact city has, but yeah, they’re not for me. Give me some space, and I’m a happier girl.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: