I’ve been living -surviving- in NYC/BK for 14 months and 13 days. Recently I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people complimenting me regarding my persistence and positive outlook in spite of all the obstacles I have faced since transplanting. Damn! I’ve got to say, I don’t always feel positive. But I refuse to give up. I’m here now. There is no turning back.
When I lived in Michigan I owned a 2 bedroom house with a nice yard in a great neighborhood, I had 2 vehicles, and I made about $50,000 a year with a full benefits package. Starting March 2008 I was visiting NYC it was always hell for me to return to Michigan. I was literally in and out of the hospital and medical treatment for stress, anxiety and depression that was so intense it started manifesting into physical ailments. I have been here in NY for just over a year… and I have not been sick since I got here. In 14 months I have lived in 9 different apartments in 7 different neighborhoods, I make less than $10,000 a year, no benefits… and I have no desire to go back. Don’t get me wrong --- I’d love to finally settle down in a place to call home, stop living out of a suitcase with the same 3 pairs of pants and 6 shirts, and have a steady paycheck… but I never expected this to be easy. If you move to NYC and expect anything to be easy, you’re a fool.
While I have not always had money… I have to say that living here in NY is the most broke I have ever been. I am usually the one helping others, paying for drinks, dinner, movies, buying gifts… all that good stuff. I wanted to pay for everything for everyone when we’d go out. Now, the tables have turned.. I am quickly being humbled by the generosity of my NY family (“friends”). I’m tearing up just writing this paragraph. I’m certain and determined that one day I will be back on my feet and all will even out. But for now, I am supremely, graciously, forever thankful to everyone that has helped me in any way. Even just getting on a guest list to see live music is huge to me. While it is normally just a few dollars, it is a few dollars I don’t have… but going to shows is such amazing therapy for me!
After graduating high school in 1995, I quickly moved to Indian Harbor / Melbourne, Florida. I was 18 and only lasted a few months until I ran out of money. But it was a great experience that really piqued my desire for travel and change. My path is as follows: Michigan - Florida - Michigan - Indiana - Arizona - Michigan - Indiana - North Carolina - Michigan - New York - 10 states in 16 years. (Lord only knows how many cities!).
Just about everyone asks me why I keep hopping around. Why don’t I just get a place and stay. Well, I’m still new to New York. When I was visiting here, I would stay at Carlton Arms Hotel in Gramercy area of NYC. I never ventured into Brooklyn. Everything I wanted to do was in the city. I walked and/or took cabs everywhere because I knew nothing about the subway system. Once I finally got moved here, I was living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I had only ever been there once, the night before I flew back to Michigan, to view the apt and for a very quick meet with my future roommies. My sublease was only a few months. Long story short… I didn’t want to sign a lease somewhere without really knowing the area(s). So, I decided to just pick up month-to-month sublets in different neighborhoods until I found one I like(d). As it stands, Greenpoint/Williamsburg (south/proper) wins!
I am in my current place until the end of February. I’m hoping to round up some chill roommies and find a decent long-term place to move in March.
I moved here originally to get a job at the ASPCA animal hospital in Manhattan. Now that I am here, I have been spending oodles and bunches of time on the music scene. I love it! I’ve been shooting video, helping with promo, street team, merch, booking, networking… etc. Since I am not a musician, I suppose I never really thought I could do anything with my love for music. I just thought I would forever be nothing more than a fan. But the music community here (specifically in and around Rockwood Music Hall) have really welcomed me with open arms, spectacular people and outstanding music! I’m thankful for all of the love and encouragement I continue to receive.
I am determined to be settled into a long-term place by this summer. I am hoping to find a place to share with some great people and also have space enough (even just a living room couch) to allow friends / family to stay when / if they ever need to. I know what it is like to be in need… and if I can help others avoid that misery, I’ll do all I can.
My sincere thank-you to all of the people that have helped me in any way… from guest lists and metro card swipes to couch surfs and financial support. I am forever in your debt for helping make my dreams come true.
this isnt going to be a back-tracking, up-until-now nyc update. i'll get to that soon. for now, i just want to share with you some happy news!
i've been trying to not let things here get me down. yeah, i am broke. yeah, i had to break down and borrow money from a couple of people that were generous enough to help (even though i feel like they need it just as much as i do). i am beyond grateful to them. and with their help, I AM LIVING IN NYC! i knew it wasn't going to be easy right away. my huge savings that was going to allow me to float into NY with such ease, was drained by all of my medical turbulence over the last year and a half.
yeah, so, i am broke, but i am enjoying my new life. maybe not "new"... just "improved". that sounds better. like i said, i'll delve into all the deeper stuff some other time.
what was i saying?!
i got a job at crumbs bake shop. i absolutely love the people and i sell cupcakes all day, so how bad of a job can it be?! right?! i get about 35 hours a week.
(they dont allow overtime, so i might be looking for a small side job at some point. i am still trying for the aspca... that'll be a different update.)
my boss has been wicked flexible with my schedule so that i can make it to my rock n roll shows! many of the musicians/comics i have been fortunate enough to see on a regular basis, have been super duper sweet and welcoming. over the last 3 years when i would visit, after the shows it always seemed to be - ME: "great show!" MUSICIAN: "thanks!" - and then i would wander back to my hotel. now that i live here, i feel like i am becoming more accepted. i'm getting hugs rather than hand shakes. (i cant begin to tell you what a great feeling that one little difference makes in my heart.) i feel like most musicians/comics are realizing i am not just a fan that is cramming in shows while on vacation... i am a devoted follower, supporter, and admirer of what they do. a bunch of them have been introducing me to new people at shows and i am making some good acquaintances that i hope become great friends.
i am currently subleasing from friends (anna and rachel) of a friend (lauren). our lease is up in march. anna and rachel have planned on moving out of this apartment and finding a place for just the 2 of them in a "nicer" part of brooklyn, or manhattan. i do not want to renew this apartment lease on my own and 1) have to find two new roommies to fill it or 2) still live in this neighborhood. don't get me wrong... it isn't scary or anything like that... it just doesn't have many (any) conveniences. i want a neighborhood i can enjoy! i have been spreading the word that i am apartment/roommie hunting, but nothing promising has presented itself. my friend lauren is super sweet and we always have fun, so i asked her about living together (she currently has a miserable roommie situation) but she already has plans for her next roommie/move. so, that sent me back to craigslist and junk roommie sites. such a headache.
well, last night when i returned home from a sensational ego puppets show, anna was telling me about a spectacular apartment that she and rachel found in park slope. for those of you unfamiliar with nyc/brooklyn... park slope is (i'm told) the bee's knees. anna said that since we all get along so well, she and rachel were wondering if i would like to move with them to this fabulous apartment in park slope!!! i believe i contained my excitement quite well, but inside i was doing cartwheels of relief! this would be so wonderful! anna and rachel have already seen the apartment... but they want me to go back with them this evening to see it for myself and, if we all agree, fill out the necessary paperwork to make it ours!
to sum it up:
i sell cupcakes all day with people i enjoy being around then i go to live rock n roll shows at night. i get along so well with my current roommies that they have asked if i would like to move with them to a lovely apartment in a marvelous neighborhood. (there are a couple of other things that are making me smile, but i'm not jinxing them with publicity.)
all of that being said...
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