Well, dear readers, I’ve reached yet another New York City milestone. Yes, it is again time to pack up all my things and move them into yet another apartment, my third in this city. I loathe moving — or at least, I loathe the way it happens here in Brooklyn. Maybe outside our supposedly cosmopolitan conclave, moving is a more straightforward affair; I can’t really speak on the fact as I’ve never looked for an apartment anywhere other than New York. I assume there are places where, if you know you’re going to move, you can start looking for a new place a month to two months before the actual move date. But in New York, finding an apartment is a whirlwind process that requires large amounts of cash on hand and the ability to commit to a place after having seen it for only ten odd minutes (which if you’re me and my friends is long enough to set off the emergency exit alarm and bolt from the premises…hopefully our new neighbors won’t hate us).
On this most recent apartment hunt, we looked at our apartment, applied for it, and handed over an absurd number of twenties in a blank envelope in a period of about 45 minutes. It’s all very trying (as Zelda knows) and you don’t have time to think twice, even if you’re tossing and turning for the next 48 hours trying to figure out if you made the right decision. At this point, the correctness of the decision doesn’t matter: We have the apartment. It’s a nice apartment, it’s in the neighborhood I wanted, and my commute to work will be significantly shorter. But now….we have to move. And as anxiety-ridden as the apartment hunt may be, nothing intimidates me more than the actual move.
We’ve lived in our current apartment four years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere other than my childhood home. The sheer volume of things that can be accumulated in this period of time is amazing. One of the things that always bothers me about those pretty pictures of “small” apartments online is those people’s lack of things. I’m by no means a hoarder, but I’m also not a minimalist. And if you’ve been with us long enough, you know how much I love rearranging my stuff as a de-stressing mechanism. But this takes those little moves to a whole new level.
My new apartment will require a bit of down sizing on my part — mostly because we are going from four roommates to two, and that means less space — but getting my head around fitting things into less space is a little harder. So there’s been a lot of “cleaning out” and Marie Kondo-style purging of things that I don’t need. But I don’t think I can, or should, go totally minimalist. There are a lot of useless things I own that bring me great joy. I’ve been in New York for early five years now, so in the spirit of Zelda’s somewhat adjacent example from her own move, here are five things I’ve found while packing, for each of my five years in this city.
My Master’s Thesis, Supporting Documents, and Gavel: I moved to New York to pursue an M.A. in Arts Business, to learn about the art market and maybe work at an auction house one day. That first year in the city was full immersion into grad school (and into realizing that maybe the for-profit art world wasn’t for me, but I never would have known that if I hadn’t gone to grad school). And if I hadn’t gone to grad school, I never would have written a thesis on Art History Education and New Media, and I never would have ended up where I am now, in a job I love and that I’m good at. I’d also never have received a gavel. They don’t give them to you when you finish non-auction-related masters programs.
A Ridiculous Collection of Playbills: One of the things that’s kept me in New York so long is the access to live theater. Nowhere else in the world can I get off the train, stop at a box office, and see a Tony Award-winning show (and many many non-Tony award-winning shows). The theater is expensive, yes, but with handy sites like Broadway for Broke People, apps like TodayTix, visits from the Momma, and having friends who occasionally get comps because they work in this business we call show, I’ve managed to see many shows in the past five year, and I’ve always kept the playbills. I started doing it after I came to New York for the second time at 16. A friend of mine’s older sister had all of hers pinned up in her room like a wall of theater fan merit badges, and I wanted that too. Now I don’t have room to pin them up, but I continue to collect them.
Beer Flash Cards: I spent two years post-grad school working part-time at the Museum and working the rest of the time at craft beer bars. These are a relic of that age, when I was being quizzed on styles and asked to recommend pairings. I love beer, and I met a good number of my New York friends through the industry. I sometimes miss the days when my Fridays consisted of lunch shifts when distribution reps came in and everyone on staff got to have a little flight. I’m not planning on making my way back into the beer industry anytime soon…but I can’t bring myself to get rid of these cards just yet. I guess I like knowing that I could call on these if I did.
A Brides/Groomsmaid Dress and a Handmade Paper Bouquet: Last year, I got to be in two weddings, both of them for friends I’ve made since I moved to New York (and both with brides so chill I got to wear the same dress twice). Until I went to college, I had attended the same school for 13 years, with most of the same people. Then I went to college and was with the same friends in the same very small space for four years. I never thought I could be as close if not closer to friends I made after I moved here. Surely these things take time and incubation. But as hard as making friends as an adult is, I’m so grateful to have found people who have let me into their life in a relatively short time, and who care for me enough to ask me to stand with them on one of the most important days of their lives. And I also got this awesome bouquet made of comic book pages: bonus perk.
Some Relatively Underused Business Cards and a Cross Stitch: One of the greatest things my time in New York has given me is this blog. As hard as it is sometimes, at the end of the day I like that it forces me to regularly put fingers to keys or pen to paper. And it’s a great excuse to collaborate with my best friend. It’s been almost five years since I moved here, four since Zelda did, and three since we embarked on this written journey together. With all the ups and downs, I’m grateful for it. Maybe we’ll never be internet media lifestyle luminaries, and maybe these business cards will stay packed away in their boxes, but we’ve grown and changed and learned, and I think that’s all we really set out to do in the long run.
Thanks for sticking with me. To the next five years.