Ten years ago last month I moved to New York.
In August 2001 I moved to the city to start grad school at NYU. I was here about two weeks when I knew I was never planning on leaving. Needless to say, it was interesting timing; about three weeks after I got here the city I moved to changed in an irrevocable way. But 9/11 and my experience with being new to the city just made me love it and its people more, and solidified how I felt about being a part of this place.
But, I'm not writing this as a reflection on that specific event-it's impossible for it not to be front and center in my thoughts when I think of how I got here, but what I've been reflecting on a lot is the ten years that have come after that.
I will state, absolutely, that my first 10 years in New York have included most of the best times in my life, and, I think, all of the worst. I would be a different person if I wasn't here. I suppose, who is ever the same person at 27 and 37? But I know one thing: I'm a New Yorker. This is where I belong.
And the city has changed as much as I have in the last ten years. New York has a sense of permanence, but it's only a sense--the only true constant here is change, whether we like it or not. So...what has changed in New York in the ten years I've lived here? When I moved to the city you could still use a token to get on the subway, where the M line was Brown and if you were lucky, you might ride one of the last of the Redbird trains. CBGB's still existed, along with too many other long-standing New York nightlife institutions; just until the last couple of weeks you could still get a beer at the Mars Bar. There definitely wasn't a Chipotle and a Supercuts on St. Mark's Place. Frankly, mostly irreplaceable stuff has disappeared and everything has gotten more expensive...it's not all bad though: when I moved here the Highline was a derelict structure still threatened with demolition. I was reminded that 311 was founded too, just about the best thing Bloomberg has come up with. Speaking of being reminded, I enlisted a certain native that I've been spending lots of time with lately (ahem) to help me think about it. Her perspective was great and totally different, and in fact I think she just started to get pissed off after a while: "we used to have subway clerks...we could find good pizza...we could still smoke in bars...we had term limits." And my favorite: "bed bugs were other countries' problem."
So...here I am. I've developed a new statement of purpose lately, that fits into my life and who I am now, and it fits here too.
I'm not going anywhere.
Ok, thanks everybody. I promise to start posting funny Youtube videos and shit again.