I’m sure you know the lyric from “New York, New York”: “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” So, to make along song short, I’ve recently been tested by the Big Apple—and I’m pretty sure I passed. Only time will tell if I can now make it anywhere—but things are looking good.
My New York trial began just over a year ago, when my husband landed a project that would require us to move from our cottage in a canyon in Los Angeles to the east coast. We probably would have passed on this, but our son’s family—including our brand new grandson—lived in the area. That said, as soon after we arrived, they got an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. Our first weeks here were spent helping them pack up and move. (Note: do NOT move near your adult kids unless they are deeply rooted, themselves.Maybe not even then…)
But here’s the other thing: I’ve always wanted to live in New York. And even now on our way out, I still believe that anybody who has half the chance ought to live at least once in NYC. But I will also tell you this: living here is not the same as visiting here. And the year had as many pleasant surprises as downers. In fact, even in our leaving town, this feels more like the breakup with a difficult boyfriend than any move I’ve ever made previously.
In a nutshell: I’m being tantalized by regrets of all the cultural riches I’ll be leaving behind, even as I absorb the impacts of everything from so much street noise I can’t hear myself think to dealing with a subway system that loves to switch things up at the last minute. Locals and visitors, alike, dash crazy-eyed through tunnels trying to figure out which direction the “L” train is running this weekend and I’m not sure what I ever saw in this in the first place while at the same time wondering how anything else will ever seem this exciting again.
It’s fitting that I begin my list of high’s and low’s with the subway, as I have found it to be the most magical part of living here to be popping up out of various stops on the doorstop of world-class museums, historic charming neighborhoods and towering high-rises. I have been endlessly fascinated by everything from the largest, obvious sites (i.e. I got a shiver when I saw the bronze Wall Street bull in situ), to stumbling onto a world-class hole-in-the-wall featuring Japanese anime figurines.
The biggest low has proven to be the challenges (read impossibility) of translating long-term business relationships into personal friendships. Before I moved here, I could count on having lunch with fellow authors, editors, agents and the like. Once I moved here, however, I quickly learned that anybody who has been here for any length of time already has her dance card pretty well filled. Plus, the expense of living here is such that—except for a fortunate few– every spare moment is pretty much dedicated towards multi-tasking relationships. In other words, if it doesn’t advance my (your) agenda, love is not enough.
On the other, other hand, New York City is the center of the universe for just about any field, corporate HQ, interest or organization in the world. If you have something you want to give or get, you don’t have to board a plane, rent a high-priced hotel room and make a major deal out of it. You can just grab a cup of coffee and get the spark lit for a couple of bucks. I used my time well here, and am leaving with a black book full of VIP networking contacts.
I guess you could say that I made it here—and ergo, I can also leave here knowing that I can make it anywhere. The only question is: what “it” is?!? When I figure it out, I’ll send you a postcard: from L.A.