Growing in New York: a Three-Month Update

Here I am at a coffee shop in Sunset Park, listening to Sasha Sloan’s “Smiling When I Die” in my headphones, writing in one of my many, many notebooks. The song ends and all I hear in the distant background is nothing but the classic song:

“Baby moves her body like a cyclone, a mighty cyclone.”

You can say that that killed my vibe a bit, but it made me smile as I reflect on the challenges life has thrown at me since moving to New York.

I’m sitting at this coffee shop, now listening to Ella Vos’s “White Noise,” overlooking Industry City and Lower Manhattan, thinking to myself, “Wow, I really got here.” People often told me to keep dreaming when I would say I wanted to move to New York City in 2019. Yet here I am — already moved into my second New York City apartment and finished with my User Experience Design class.

I realized the other day that I have moved a total of three times since April, two of those moves have been since July. Third time’s the charm…right? That third and most recent move was to Brooklyn, where I have been wanting to live for the past eight years. I actually live near some friends and family, which is amazing. One of my friends has even told me about numerous places to check out in my area and, based on this list, there is no way I’m leaving the area any time soon. I now have a favorite park from this and it’s how I found my way to this unassuming coffee shop that plays “Cyclone” to create a confusing vibe.

I moved to this area and my apartment without ever checking it out or Googling it. Dumb? Oh, yes. But, to quote John Mulaney, “Adult life is already so goddamn weird.” I just hated living in Queens so much that I wasn’t going to be picky about it — I didn’t expect my situation to get much worse. All I knew about this new place was that I would have a [nonfunctioning] fireplace in my bedroom and that there was a disco ball in the living room. Those two things seemed good enough to me, especially considering my last roommate advertised that it was a nonsmoking home and then heavily smoked hookah in the apartment while also hovering over me as I cooked in the kitchen. This new apartment may have been so dusty when I moved in that I couldn’t talk for over a week — which was very unfortunate for my roommates because of how often and loudly I sing in the apartment—but it’s already better than most other places I’ve lived. I mean, I have yet to be threatened to be kicked out because I fed one of my roommates’ cats while they were on vacation. We, in my new apartment, just may have had to tag-team-style murder a giant cockroach, but that’s fine… At least I live above a deli where I can get mozzarella sticks whenever I want.

On another note, I—finally since moving here in July—am not super lonely. I have friends here—yay!—who go out of their way to check on my mental health and to make sure I get out of my apartment or away from job applications for even just a few hours. Actually, as I wrote that, one of my friends texted me to hang out so I wouldn’t get stuck in my computer more. To quote one of my new favorite songs, “I guess that makes me feel kinda cool.”

However, though I have made all these amazing friends who are giving ‘home’ a new meaning for me, I am finding myself rather homesick. Not for Scituate or Massachusetts, but for some people and landscapes. In terms of landscapes, I’m really missing staring at the sea on a rough day or taking a nap in a parked car at the beach with the windows cracked so I can hear the waves crash on the shore. In terms of people…I haven’t seen my mom in a month and I haven’t seen my dad and sister in 2–3 months, which is a lot for me. I’m so excited to go back, especially to be an idiot with my sister again, but I know I’m going to miss New York as much as I currently miss my family. This has nothing to do with my family — New York has just claimed me as its own, I guess. Needless to say, the next time the three of them visit me, I’m going to be ecstatic and we are going to be the most annoying people in the city.

These three months have thrown so many obstacles at me. I have had numerous friends tell me I deal with them “gracefully” and “resiliently,” empowering me to continue to fight these challenges. Honestly, in a cliché way, part of getting through it is just me going to any of my favorite New York buildings or parks and just staring at the building or a tree. I just tell myself that I’m supposed to be here and, therefore, supposed to be fighting these battles. In the words of another friend, “I hope you know moving to NYC was the perfect decision for you.” So far, I think they’re right. I feel like I’ve been here for years and it’s only been three months. I’m looking forward to the next three months and where they bring me.

Danni//Danielle is a curious and creative UX Researcher in New York City motivated by learning, solving, and advocating for truth for the greater good.