Before I moved to New York City, I was enamored with Nora Ephron’s view of the Upper West Side, as seen through the eyes of her blindly optimistic, wide-eyed heroine Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail.” I was equally enchanted by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s account of the city seen for the first time through the eyes of his quietly presumptuous hero Amory Blaine in “This Side of Paradise.”
But most of all, before I moved to the city, I was enthralled with the idea of creating a New York story of my own design — one that I could call my own.
I entered into New York the way any one should into a venture in which they are woefully underprepared — with wild abandon, brimming with unbridled curiosity, and consumed with the kind of naivety I wouldn’t wish upon anyone older than 22.
It was an age of innocence of some kind — call it a spirited quest of sorts. A quest that only a city like New York could orchestrate.
And what a quest it is.
It’s a well known truth in New York that you’re either looking for one of three things at any given time: an apartment, a job, or a partner. If you have all three, you’re working to improve them all.
At any given time, a New Yorker is thinking about any one of those three words. It’s the nature of the carousel. And the longer you stay on, the faster you will go. And the faster you will go, the more you’ll wonder what it’s all for.
When a friend recently asked me how I—someone who prefers a sky full of stars over a room full of them—makes New York “work so seamlessly,” I laughed, amused that they saw me as a realm of calm amid a world of chaos. But I’ve learned to make it my own.
When I’m cooking and entertaining in my small apartment for my closest friends, I feel at home, at ease, and in my element.
Because apartments, jobs, and partners can (and will) constantly change with the season. The challenge then is making your New York—your insular bubble—constant.
And interestingly enough, no movie or tall tale will tell you what happens when you learn to successfully — and happily — juggle all three pieces of the New York puzzle. Because where’s the fun and mystery in that?
So maybe those three words shouldn’t even be ‘apartment,’ ‘job,’ or ‘partner.’
Maybe those three words should be as simple and exciting as, ‘New York City.’