What is most striking to me about this post is how long ago I wrote it. I honestly feel like I just posted that entry a few months ago. It's actually been almost three years since I posted it, meaning I've lived in NYC for almost six years, which is four years longer than I initially intended to live here. Time really does fly when you're having fun... Or, it could be from working too hard and drinking too much.
In any case, this is most likely my last entry as a NYC resident. I don't think it's possible to write a "My Last New York" entry because that seems stupid, but maybe I'll indulge you with another story from my early days here.
That first autumn I lived here, I was renting a windowless bedroom at 441 East 9th Street. It was a classic "first" NYC apartment. I found it on Craigslist and lived with two other random people who I rarely ever saw. I hated seeing the female roommate because she was weird, and I suspected she was the cause of the apartment's strange scent. Because my room was windowless, it actually stayed pretty much the same temperature no matter what the weather was like outside. I didn't even need a comforter until after I moved out. The downside was I'd wake up and never know what time of the day it was. The bathroom was arranged in such a way that if you sat down on the toilet, my knees were basically touching the sink. Despite all of this, I wasn't complaining. I was living in the heart of the East Village for the grand price of $800 per month, including all utilities!
Anyway, that same autumn, Roommate #2 had just moved to the city to start law school at NYU. We were interested in going out somewhere we'd never visited before. We decided to venture to a faraway land called Williamsburg. I remember that it was the exact same night the Tigers lost the World Series to the Cardinals because I was considering not going out. I was too bummed that the Tigers just got swept, but he talked me into keeping our plans. We had already been emailing each other all day with potential bars to visit. We Googled all the hottest Williamsburg recommendations, and he bought a Williamsburg version of the NFT. (Laugh all you want, but this was before Yelp, before we had smartphones and before we knew anyone that lived in Williamsburg.) Plus, everyone we had tried to corral into going with us flaked. Apparently, going to Williamsburg is "too far."
We pressed on with our trip, making stops at Pete's Candy Store, Royal Oak and Union Pool. We met our first real hipsters at Pete's, drank our first $5 pony beer+whiskey shot combo at Royal Oak and had no idea how we even got to Union Pool (there was an outdoor back section?!). In between stops, we hid in dimly lit corners to look at our Williamsburg NFT. We had no idea how to get around the neighborhood, and we were too ashamed to let people see us looking at the NFT for recommendations and directions. Those Brooklyn hipsters are intimidating.
In the end, we had an amazing time and got amazingly intoxicated. Despite praising all that the neighborhood had to offer to my Manhattan friends, they just responded with a skeptical glare and an expression that screamed, "as if." I would come to find that this is not an uncommon reaction when trying to spout the benefits of hanging out -- for real, and not ironically -- in Williamsburg.