I'm sitting on my roommate's couch, sipping a strong cup of coffee, and can hear a helicopter flying above the building. The two dogs are sleeping on the floor beside me, and the sun radiates a strong glow throughout the living room. To an outsider, this would appear to be like any morning for us, but we know full well how different this truly is. Today is my last day living in New York.
I arrived in this city in the winter of 2011, with three suitcases hung around my shoulders, and less than a grand in my checking account. I moved here by way of Connecticut, after my position as Literary Associate at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center came to a close; and I began serving as the Education Intern at New York Theatre Workshop that January. It had been my dream for years to live in this city, to be a part of something larger than myself, to immerse myself in theater and the art world. A great deal of my vision was romanticized from watching movies like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or "When Harry Met Sally," believing those to be true representations of New York. Wanting to live a beautiful life similar to those ficticious characters I read in books growing up. It also came from listening to Frank Sinatra in my Grandma's house, bellowing the lyrics "If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere." Now that song echoes within me as I hug my friends goodbye.
These past couple of weeks have been full of farewells and checking things off my New York bucket list. I went back to 30 Rock and sat in the plaza, drinking a coffee and eating banana pudding from Magnolia's Bakery. I tried new restaurants, and enjoyed the simplicity of meals in my friend's apartments while watching TV. I walked around the park and basked in the sunlight while watching strangers roam by. I drank tea from Alice's Tea Cup and enjoyed a pumpkin scone while walking by Strawberry Fields. I took a bus downtown because the subway seemed to dreary on such a beautiful autumn day. I sat at the Bethesda Fountain and listened to a violin play. I drank at my favorite bar with some of my closest friends. I walked around The Cloisters with the dogs. I have taken every moment in for what it's worth, and will hold onto these memories for years to come.
Throughout my time here, I have succumb to the city's own definition of rebirth through trial and failure, time and time again. The best way to summarize that is through this blog entry I wrote in September of 2011:
Dear New York
It's hard to look back at this and not see how much I have grown. Since that post, I worked at a non-profit for two years, moved a few more times, but was able to travel the country more than I ever thought possible. I was able to see one of my plays performed in the same space "RENT" rehearsed at New York Theatre Workshop. I was a Core Member of an independent theater company called FullStop Collective; in which I directed a play produced at Gallapagos Art Space, and was able to see a reading of a play I wrote that I had been developing for nearly four years. I directed another play as part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and filmed two movies with my friends. I'm leaving this city with a novel and TV show tucked between my fingers, and will continue to develop them as I begin my new job in California.
New York has been my home for the past three years. I have met some of the best people I'll ever know while living here. I have had my life explode before my eyes, and was able to rebuild it again several times over. Now I'm moving onto a new chapter and am closing this one. It's hard to flip the page and not feel a sense of loss, but I remind myself that New York will always be here. The friends I made will always be in my life, regardless of time and distance. We will always have each other and the stories that we share are embedded deep within this city. This city that holds so many stories for so many individuals. It's a place many people dream of, and aim to achieve success. It's a representation of something wonderful, frightening, and completely worthwhile. I'm proud I was able to call it my home for so long, but am looking forward to the new adventure coming my way. Unsure of what will happen, but full of confidence and strength I did not have several years ago. I really do believe Frank had it right. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.
Until next time, New York.