I was walking through Washington Square Park today, and I was reminded that this September marks my tenth anniversary in this fine city. In 1998 I arrived in New York as a freshman as college, ten years later, I'm still here (with a only a few brief interruptions). It seems hard to believe that a decade has passed. I remember walking down Fifth Avenue to go to class at my first day of New York University, and it is still crystal clear in my mind. I remember that first semester so well: The exciting places to eat, the endless walking, the new people, the absolute joy of a weekday matinee at the Angelica, bagels for dinner, dorm cafeteria coffee for breakfast and countless nights with David and Jed at the Corner Bistro. It still seems like just last year, but the truth is, it's been ten years.
While I was out in California visiting my parents last week, I was speaking to my mother about a job I might be up for in San Francisco. My mom turned to me and said, “You can't move here. You have such a good life in New York. It would have to be your absolute dream job to leave New York.” And you know what? She was right. I have such a good life, such wonderful friends, why would I ever leave here? More than anything it's my friends—I am rich with friends from all these years. I can't imagine packing up and leaving them all.
I always said that I didn't want to stay in New York so long that I would wake up one day and realize that I had become a character in a Woody Allen movie. I relayed this to my friends Matt and Hope (both of whom arrived at NYU in the fall of 1998) the other night. We were sitting at a rooftop bar in Midtown looking up at the Empire State Building. Matt turned to me and said, “Laura, I think it's too late.” We all had a good laugh. However, Matt may be right, maybe we're already there. I'm okay with it, if we are.
Matt and I went out to the beach a few days later and sat at a restaurant overlooking Jamaica Bay with the Manhattan skyline in the distance. There was a $1.50 for six Buffalo wings special that Sunday afternoon, and the NYU freshman in me promptly ordered a dozen. I think we both felt the same way sitting there—this feeling that this was our city. Matt threatens to leave, but I know he'll stick around, at least for a little longer.
My sister called me tonight to bemoan the busy New York hectic life, and I reminded her, that the hectic pace is why we're all here. It's the pulse of this city that makes it the city above all cities. I figure I'll rest later. I'll garden and cook dinner every night, I'll read books quietly at night and take long walks every morning, but for now, I'll take the hectic pace. I'm young and single and in my 20s. I know I'll never get to do this again. And I love it that I need to tell a few white lies to manage to get a night to myself.