From My Rooftop

My roommates on our rooftop

I have to admit… my rooftop is probably one of my favorite aspects of my apartment. Does that give me a “god complex” in some weird way? I don’t even like heights! But there is something so refreshing about being able to go outside but not having to deal with weirdos walking down the street, or without having to protect my iPhone from getting stolen… again. Or without having to put pants on.

I guess I’m sort of obsessed with my rooftop, which is strange considering I don’t go on it nearly enough. Maybe if there was furniture up there, or a little more to do than watch the laboriously slow M train whir by… But then again, the fact that there isn’t more to do up there; it’s refreshing.

It’s our little spot. No one else can get to it (aside from our next door neighbors who are a group of three 30-something men whose WiFi name is “Playboy Mansion,” but they don’t want to come on our side because their’s has a barbeque). And yet, when you see other people on neighboring rooftops nearby, it becomes sort of a culture. An elevated city of its own. You wave to each other the same way that strangers on passing boats wave to each other; unfamiliar, but kindred in some fashion.

We seem so far away from Manhattan, but we have a beautiful view of the city. I hesitate to say “especially at night,” because when the sun is setting and everything is backlit (as it is in the photo above), the vote tends to swing.

P.S. In two days, I’ll have lived here for a year. What?!

The ship that didn’t sink

Why is it that rain makes for the best Instagrams? (Williamsburg Bridge, December 2012)

Why is it that rain makes for the best Instagrams? (Williamsburg Bridge, December 2012)

Hey guys, guess what!?

I’m still living in New York. After six months, I figured it was safe to post on here again and brag. I mean, I don’t want to say, “Haw haw! I made it!” because the phrase “making it” is pretty tacky (unless you’re talking about getting laid, then you’re just classy and/or vintage) but I just wanted to say… I told you so?

Remember when I first posted about this last May, and someone commented with the charming toast, “You’re in for a real surprise!”?

I guess my surprise was that… I wasn’t surprised. At all. I was surprised by my lack of surprise, if anything. New York City just seems so… ugh, so me. But whatever, like I said, I’m not going to toot my own horn. Point is, I’ve got a few little eggs of knowledge and wisdom!

“Three Months” as a success marker.
Within my first week of being here, I was at a bar with my friend and we needed some fresh air (although it was mid-August so the fresh air was more like wet hot midnight air, but that’s just my bitterness about humidity talking) and met a couple girls outside who decided to chat my friend up for a cigarette. After the run of the mill, “Where are you from? How long have you lived here?” questions, they were quite surprised when we divulged the truth. Just a week?! You’ll be lucky if you make it three months! Shade alert! It wasn’t an unkind judgment, she later apologized, just that three months is supposed to be a major achievement. I guess her logic was that the money you’ve saved up before moving here is generally gone by then, so you either make it or you have no choice but to get out. Three months, she told us. Well, those certainly flew right on by, didn’t they? Toot, toot!

People actually are from New York City.
It’s kind of annoying when people say that no one is actually from New York City and that everyone just moves there. It’s true to a large extent, but some of the coolest people I know are actually born and raised in the city. Including the little kid I saw on a leash the other day. He was intense.

I will find a drag scene no matter where I go.
I feel like this almost qualifies as a personal problem. Within my first two weeks of living here, I had already obtained this cute little drag posse. I don’t know how it happened. I wore my fabulously studded heels out one night to a gay bar and boom, there I was… mauled. Maybe it’s the red lipstick? Or the fringe? I don’t know, but it happens every damn place I move. I swear I’ve got a tattoo in ink that’s visible only to a Queen’s long-lashed eyes that says, “Look here, honey, I’m who you were looking for.” And I’m so into it. As an aside, the term “fag hag” is and has always been appalling. Just because “your gay boyfriend” uses it, doesn’t mean you should! Ew! Tacky! (Another aside, here is a photo of my friend wearing my few-years-back Halloween costume randomly one evening in my bedroom. He wore it better than I did! Not fair.)

I have the cutest and best apartment ever.
No, seriously. It’s a duplex. My walls are painted seafoam green. I have photos of Sigur Rós and ads of Cole Mohr in Marc by Marc Jacobs FW 2008 (look it up!) plastered atop said paint. The rest of the house defines boho chic and I say “house” because it’s actually a duplex. And my rent is the same as any California apartment. So… I’m not going anywhere.

It’s really difficult to experience NYC culture.
Ah, good ol’ New York City work ethic, where the only holidays are Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years Day; standard working hours are 9am to 7pm; and standard commuting hours are 30 to 45 minutes each way. Not that I’m complaining, because I still adore taking the subway as much as I possibly can (being from a place that has practically no public transit), but… by the time I’m off work, all of the museums and touristy things are closed, and pretty much the last thing any Brooklyner wants to do on the weekend is go back into the city, so, admittedly, I haven’t experienced many of those things. Everyone always asks me, “Can you see the Statue of Liberty from your work? How close to your apartment is Times Square? Have you gone to New Jersey yet? Seen the Jersey Shore? How many times a week do you go to the Met?” Uh, guys…

Anyway, I’ve been listening to The Cranberries all day, so pardon my sentiments. I imagine any seasoned New Yorker reading this is probably stifling a laugh and shaking his or her head, but give me a minute to reflect, and pardon my nubility. And also my bragging. Because I had a pretty bad day at work (I say “work” because I got a job in Soho a month after moving here. One more boast!) and I could use a little self-peptalk.

On Moving to New York City: Part One

Okay... I'll allow only ONE Carrie Bradshaw joke. That's it!

Okay… I’ll allow only ONE Carrie Bradshaw joke. That’s it!

So, I was talking to one of my torches (think, “flame,” but… a different kind), Jacob (not the same Jacob that I grew up with and had a crush on in third grade — that one’s lost on Girlfriend Island and I haven’t really seen him since. Well, except that one time that we and my then-boyfriend drank Two Buck Chuck on a playground near our childhood homes. If you’re reading this, Jacob, I miss you! Text me back! Please! Digression aside…), last night.

Now, for the last like, four or five years, it’s been his life dream to move to New York City and enroll in Pratt’s creative writing program. And it’s been sort of one of those touch-and-go can’t-save-enough-money, stuck-in-endless-low-paying-jobs, can’t-excel-ever types of things. And I feel terrible about it, and wish there was something I could do to help.

Instead, what am I doing? I’m doing it myself. Moving to New York City, hoping to procure some sort of job in the writing/editing field. Am I an asshole, or what? I mean, it’s not like my goal is to just snatch someone else’s dream up and accomplish it before they can. Hell, I hope that my moving might even motivate him to do it quicker (Um, hello? Use me as a bed if you have to?) But, bottom line is, we talked about it, and I told him this, “Do you feel like… I don’t know, bitter at me about the fact that I’ve basically just snagged your life goal and made it happen for myself within the last six months or so?”

“Oh, wow,” he said, surprise evident. “I didn’t even think about it that way. I never really realized that until you just said it right now.”

Then he got silent.

“Are you okay? Did I just make you angry at me?”

“What? No.”

More silence. Then some rustling.

“…Are you okay? Are you crying?”

“Hmm? No, I was chugging wine, sorry.”

My turn for silence, and then I asked again, “Are you upset with me? Are you upset at all?”

“No, I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now. It’s… not bad, though. I don’t think I’ve ever actually felt this proud and genuinely happy for someone before. It’s kind of a new feeling? I’m really happy for you, I just… didn’t even realize it, but you’re right.”

He sounded confused. He sounded sad, but I could tell he meant his words. It wasn’t even a bittersweet tone, yet I’d never heard his voice like that before. I don’t know what it was. So, I guess, step one was achieved: obtain support.

I suppose the point of telling this story was just to illustrate something I’ve learned in the past year: I can’t make decisions for other people. I can’t even really properly help people make decisions, even if they come to me for advice. I can offer suggestions, but ultimately, the only person whose life I can change is my own.

Good thing I can do that much. Look out New York, I’m a-coming!

Did you know? “Move to New York City” is goal number eleven in my list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days? No? Well you do now! Hop to!