Sunday, April 28, 2013

Being A New Yorker

Random 8th Ave Street Fair
So, I just experienced my first street fair as a New Yorker.  I did stumble upon one as a tourist back in 2008 and we've passed them since we moved here earlier this year but this is the first time we walked out our front door and our main avenue, 8th Avenue, had been co-opted by street fair merriment, complete with entertainment stage and police placed traffic barriers.

In the days leading up to this event there were no signs announcing that 8th Ave would be closed on Saturday from 9am to 8pm; there were no advance warnings.  We just start Mike's morning commute at 8:50am and see a few portable toilets, barriers being placed, booths being erected and hear a dude screaming, "you want me to fuckin' respect you, you better use your head" to some guy for some inexplicable reason.  I believe, my friends, this is what being a New Yorker feels like.

I just returned from visiting my local street fair and feel more like a New Yorker than I did when I left the house this morning.  First of all, this is my neighborhood and there's a certain level of pride I have in the fact that I just walked down the street and was able to partake in a freaking New York City street fair.  Secondly, the New York Times had a booth and I signed up for my Sunday delivery, with my 10011 zip code, which I will get delivered to my freaking NYC brownstone basement apartment beginning next Sunday.  Additionally, not only did I get a golf umbrella and tote bag (emblazoned with "The New York Times" for my trouble) but, and how fun is this, I got to deal with a super crazy old time New Yorker in the process of subscribing for said delivery.

Super crazy old time New Yorker lady was in front of me in line at the booth but didn't believe that it was a real New York Times booth.  She wanted everything in writing and kept asking, "how do I know you're real?".  It was awesome.  Apparently, even though she doubted their legitimacy, the tote bag and umbrella were too good for her to pass up.  But, she still made those poor staffers work for their wages.  And, after about 3 minutes of her shenanigans, I decided to jump the line and said, "I believe you" which almost instantly resulted in my receiving their full attention.

Crazy New Yorker lady didn't like my impertinence or the fact that I was a more welcome customer than her.  She responded by stating, "can you help me first since I was here first?  I'm sorry I'm being difficult but I'm a New Yorker.  Now, can you put everything you've told me in writing along with your first and last name?"  The two New Yorkers working the booth (and myself, thank you very much) just continued as before.  Lesson of the day: crazy does not equal New Yorker and New Yorker does not equal crazy.  Crazy equals crazy.  But, all of it equals entertainment.  And that, my friends, was perhaps one of my best New Yorker experiences since moving here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Awesome April

Three whole months after arriving, could it be that our lives in New York City can finally begin?  After failing twice to secure a real job at the Ford Foundation, I was fortunate at least to have made a positive impression during my attempts and was offered a long-term temp assignment within the Democratic Participation unit.  Monday was my first day and it already feels like home.

In addition to having my dream job, my commute is quintessential New York.  I get to ride the 4 or 5 express from Union Square to Grand Central where I exit the subway station through the Chrysler Building.  Seriously.  How cool is that?

Mike also received some good news of his own this past week.  After a pretty rough job search he finally scored with what could possibly be his dream job.  These are early days and he's still within the trial period but to even get the opportunity to audition, especially after these last few demoralizing months, is just amazing for him.

Now, before we can truly begin to celebrate our new life in NYC, there is the small matter of finding a new place to live.  The lease on our furnished basement studio on West 15th is ending in June.  We would love (LOVE!) a one bedroom in the East Village or Lower East Side but we don't know how feasible that is.  Apparently, getting an apartment in New York is a competitive enterprise and we're not really prepared to compete.  We've got bad credit, no savings, poor employment history, and equally dubious address history.  Yeah, we're screwed.  So, until we can beef up our game, we may have to settle for something less desirable and who knows where that will be?  Otherwise, our rebuilding year is looking pretty close to officially beginning and we're getting pretty excited about our future again.

One observation to note, since returning from abroad we've both recognized that we now consider ourselves adults (though we technically became adults nearly two decades ago).  During our time abroad we somehow managed to shed our adolescent need to eschew convention.  These last three months have especially made our new adult statuses apparent and we now find ourselves ready to wear blazers, work late hours and toe lines.  Although we still have fires in our bellies (and reserve the right to rebel against the establishment), we're much more welcoming of, and grateful for, the opportunities we have and we're not going to discard them quite as thoughtlessly as we once did.  Perhaps that's one of the lessons one is supposed to imbibe from the college experience?
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