An Ode to New York City

The NYC Years: November 30th, 2013 — March 9th, 2020

2,292 days of living in the city I’d dreamed of moving to since I was 9 years old

Times Square, 1st official night as an NYC resident — 11/30/13

New York City is my home.

But in light of this deadly pandemic, coupled with moving overseas upon my graduation from Columbia, I’m afraid my time in it has abruptly come to an end.

And so, New York — to thee, I write you my final tribute, now.

From here on out, I know that I’ll live vicariously through memories of my friends and I in the heart of the greatest city I’ve ever known

Memories of the city and me, myself, & I

Riding the Bronx Bx9 bus to Westchester Sq-East Tremont Ave station after spending a weekend in Throggs Neck

Riding my beloved Staten Island Ferry, gazing from afar at the vast, stunning Verrazzano-Narrows

Getting forever lost wandering the dizzying streets of FiDi

Wishfully thinking I’ll end up on TV while catching a show at the Ed Sullivan Theater or ABC Studios

Feeling eternally peaceful at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Reflecting at the 9/11 memorial

Overlooking the New York Harbor and Lady Liberty from the edge of Battery Park

Bowling a strike at Brooklyn Bowl & alleys on the edge of the city

Drinking bizarre cocktails in dimly lit speakeasies — Apotheke & Back Room & Beauty & Essex & Flatiron Room

Catching a nail-biting final at the US Open with Mimi in the ever timeless Flushing Meadows

Watching the Knicks lose again and again at MSG

Eating garlic fries at Yankee Stadium

Living a Manhattan life, forever dreaming of a life in Queens

Delivering a deeply personal speech at Toastmasters on a Thursday afternoon

Grabbing an “international cuisine” meal at the MS cafeteria

Being forever a tourist at a landmark — Grand Central & Times Sq & Rockefeller & Oculus & Freedom Tower & BX Zoo

Becoming a regular at Taverna Kyclades & Elysian Fields & Magnolia Bakery & Dim Sum Go Go & NY Bagels & Cafe & Burlap Sack Potato Eatery & Metro Diner & Waterside Cafe & Cosi & Subway

Taking the uptown 1/2/3 from Penn Station back home after an excursion in midtown or downtown

Scrambling to impress David with a new analysis on GPS

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with soon-to-be best friends

Boring myself to death at one of the city’s glorious art museums — Met & MoMa & New & Brooklyn & Cloisters & Guggenheim (meanwhile being fascinated at the Intrepid & Bronx MoA & M. Tussauds & NatHist)

Gyming at the MS basement & Waterside & SoulCycle & Dodge

IM’ing MS buds on MS Communicator far too often

Big city livin’ at 44th & 2nd/3rd & 25th & FDR & 100th & Broadway

Grabbing a dim sum platter at my favorite Chinatown spot before walking home up through LES and SoHo

Shooting pool at a billiards spot — Amsterdam & Space & Bleecker Street

Taking the 2 train up to 233rd St in the Bronx to see Jadah

Dancing like no one was watching at The Apollo

Traversing the city with Abs & Gabs & Kels

Getting a facial on Lexington during a far-too-long lunch break

Indulging in the latest workplace drama with the admins

Venturing out on an ever rare occasion to Staten Island

Experiencing a new spot within 60% of Manhattan’s eclectic streets

Walking to Chelsea every Saturday for GRE lessons

Walking across the city’s many magnificent bridges — Brooklyn & Manhattan & Williamsburg & George Washington

Going to indie concerts at the Knitting Factory & Bowery Ballroom

Passing by kids playing ball on one of the city’s courts in Queens

Taking a birthday helicopter ride over the East River

Spending hours finding everything I want at Queens Center & Fulton Mall

Uncovering the quirky, strange, beautiful street art of Bushwick and Bowery

Gazing at the mesmerizing New York skyline on a rooftop — Above Allen & 230 5th & Mr. Purple & Bookmarks & Monarch & Spyglass & Delancey & Salon de Ning

Discovering new food spots all around the city with a larger-than-life best friend

Grocery shopping at the Union Square Trader Joe’s or Fairway when I got too fed up with Gristedes

Exploring restaurants of every cuisine in every neighborhood imaginable — Astoria & Eastchester & East Village & Hell’s Kitchen & K-town & Curry Hill & St. George

Discovering every classic bagel spot & burger spot & dim sum spot & pizza spot & dessert spot & taco spot & coffee spot & Jewish deli the city had to offer

Hanging around new spots in the city with Jadah

Finding a strange, welcoming home in the Stonewall Inn

Grabbing a “plain bagel with egg & cheese” at Subsconscious after a long class

Chasing Pokémon around town for two straight months

Climbing atop the Twin Towers as a kid, looking down at the city’s tantalizing night lights inviting me to my future home

Hookahing at Babylon & Kazuza & La Sultana & Horus on B

Catching a sleepy jazz show at Smalls & Smoke Jazz & Supper Club & Blue Note

Competing in speech competitions at work and 92Y

Taking a spontaneous night bike ride throughout the city with Mr. Wendal

Marveling at a performance at Radio City & Carnegie & Astor Place

Catching a movie in Kips Bay or Union Square or Battery Park

Walking every morning from 44th b/w 2nd & 3rd to work, when I lived at the Indigo

Hopping on the M34A bus to get to the NQR train in Herald Sq, when I lived at Waterside

Walking from 100th & Broadway to Columbia, when I lived at Whitehall

Marching at anti-fascism rallies and women’s marches after work

Taking long walks from Waterside Plaza down to the crazy St. Marks Place

Flash dancing and shooting hoops

Dancing to old school hip hop and R&B at B.o.Bs

Masterfully cooking up an Angus burger or pasta with cheese & marinara sauce

Fighting with a roommate over rent & noise & cleanliness & live-in boyfriends & other cliché New York problems

Missing JFK and LaGuardia terribly while stuck at EWR

Internally sobbing every time someone played ‘Empire State of Mind’ when I was out of the city

Begrudgingly going to happy hours at Hurleys and lunches at Pongsri with work buddies

Awkwardly attempting to dance to EDM in Williamsburg clubs

Stayin’ healthy on Maiden Lane & Lexington & John Jay

Eating a combo platter with extra white sauce at Halal Guys

Ordering takeout from Jing Fong & Bareburger & UNO’s & Aangan & McDonalds much too often

Loitering in the Columbia merch store on my way home after class

Taking breezy walks along the FDR Drive promenade, stopping to look at the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in LIC

Hitting the beach in the Far Rockaways or Coney Island on a hot summer day

Painfully doing group projects at Lehman or Publique

Studying for hours into the night at the law school or Butler Library

Revisiting my all-time favorite old haunts in 2019 & 2020

Venturing out on ‘The Hangover’-like Halloween nights as Lola B & Heisenberg & Dustin Henderson & Lana Kane & Trump

Checking out the latest weird flick at the TriBeCa Film Festival

Strolling in nature at a park — Prospect & High Line & Washington Sq & Central & Bryant & Hunter’s Point South

Triggering Fox News at a protest at Trump Tower

Stopping to listen to a talented busker at the subway

Apartment hunting with Ed & Mimi throughout the city

Taking the S from Grand Central to Times Square and back

Freaking out over a roach spotted in the kitchen or bedroom or bed

Hitting up Gotham Comedy Club on Tuesday’s at 9:30 after work — my 2nd home

Discovering ever other iconic comedy club in the city — Comedy Cellar & New York CC & UCB & Carolines on Broadway & Comedy Village & The Stand

Just missing my purchased Bolt Bus to Philly and waiting in the cold for the next one

Feeling like I’m back in the suburbs while at Lowe’s & Bed Bath

Watching 42nd Street & Book of Mormon & Les Mis & The Lion King & Hamilton & Phantom of the Opera & Aladdin & Mamma Mia & Wicked & Cats & Chicago & Cinderella & Finding Neverland & Thoroughly Modern Millie at one of Theater District’s glorious theaters

Finally not confusing the Chrysler Building for the Empire State Building

Walking around the windy South Street Seaport before the C&C walk kickoff

Complaining about the pretentiousness of Meatpacking every time I was dragged there

Empire State livin’ in Turtle Bay & Kips Bay & UWS

Singing in the Great Lawn with Baby Too at Global Citizen

Eating my heart out at BK Smorgasburg & Queens Night Market

Infinitely dancing at Gorillaz at Barclays

Walking around on the picturesque streets of SoHo

Arguing with my friends that Chicago Deep Dish > NY pizza any day

Getting in far-too-stereotypical New York fights with people on the subway

Lounging around at Ramzi’s place while he cooked us up a healthy meal, or perhaps just some good ‘ol Vegemite & bread

Listening to Paint It Black or Pursuit of Happiness on a breezy night of reflection

Walking under the bridge on FDR Drive every day home from work

Gazing across the East River to Greenpoint and the bridges of Queensboro & Williamsburg & Manhattan from the plaza at Waterside

Forever living on a New York timeline

I’d dreamed of living in New York City ever since I was 9 years old. Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I’d tell my best friend Daniela we’d move there one day. I did. I moved there when I was 22, and had been there ever since.

New York City is my home.

No matter where I end up next, it always will be. There’s no escaping it.

I love you, New York. 19 years later, I’m back to dreaming of you once again.

Driving out of the city for the last time — 3/9/20

hey young world, the world is yours

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