Monday, July 30, 2012

New York Moments

There are a few things I didn't mention last week, that I find kind of funny, and very New York.

For example, I am on my way to look at an apartment in the West Village. Strewn across the ground everywhere are mannequin parts.  Every. Where.  I laughed, I got the creeps, I wasn't sure if this was a good sign or a bad sign. In the end, the East Village won out.

After looking at apartments in 90 degree heat all day, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep.  But I also wanted to eat.  My friend Mary recommended Bar Americain, right down the street from my hotel.  If Bobby Flay wants to make me take out, I am in!  And the daily special is fried chicken?  Done deal.  While I waited at the bar, it only seemed right to order a Ketel martini.  So very New York.  Then back home to eat fried chicken, cauliflower and goat cheese gratin, and black pepper biscuits in bed.  Yes, that happened.

By the way, I never want to get into my bed at the end of the day without a shower. Like I have to wash New York off of me. Is that normal New York or just summer?  I'm not sure yet.

So after all of the apartment hunting, the LONG hours of waiting to hear if the apartment was mine, I get the call.  I HAVE A HOME!  I am on my way to meet my fabulous Auntie Sheila (at Nobu 57 ahem...) and I look up.  I want to remember this moment.  I have an apartment in New York.  A fresh start, nothing but bright lights and big city in front of me.  What do I see?  A woman modeling in front of Radio City.  So cliche and awesome and so New York.  Definitely a moment I won't forget,

And finally, in perhaps the most New York moment of all, an under ground club.  Litterally, an under ground club.  We finish dinner at Dos Caminos in the meat packing district intent on seeing celebs (which obviously didn't happen) and head downstairs to this mystery club.  Here is the door.  I will say no more.  :)

So I have just a few weeks left in Boston, crazy as that is.  So much to do, see, eat, and pack before I go, but beyond excited for all of the New York moments ahead of me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Hunt

Oh this whole moving thing, boy is it stressful. I spent all last week at a global sales conference and didn’t have a ton of time to look at apartments online, but I am in New York today and tomorrow to find a home. I set up a couple appointments and wished for the best

I asked everyone I knew for advice on neighborhoods, and it came down to very easy to follow (and not at all contrary) advice like this:

“Live in the East Village, you will love it. Tons going on”
“Whatever you do, don’t live in the East Village”
“Live on the Upper West Side. It’s clean and quiet and close to the park”
“Definitely don’t live on the Upper West Side, it’s all families”

What’s even worse is when I email about apartments and get responses like “Before I agree to show you this apartment you need to confirm that you are ok with the $4200 rental fee”. If I like the one apartment you show me? Get real. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and go sans broker.

I had three appointments today, in the East Village, West Village, and Gramercy. And really, little to no idea of what neighborhood I wanted to be in. So I head to the first appointment and hope for the best. I am standing outside of St. Mark’s place and am startled as a metal gate flies up from a storefront and a man pops his head out asking for me. “Sorry, we are doing construction, opening a wine store.” Jigga what? Downstairs from the apartment? Point St. Mark’s Place. On we go. We enter the building and I am less than impressed. The lobby is dark and dingy and kind of gross, but up we go to the second floor. The door opens, and it’s a different experience. It’s nice, it’s normal. Nothing weird, just a small bathroom, a normal kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. It’s lovely. The current tenant is there packing for his move. I ask how he likes living there, and his response is that he and his girlfriend just broke up. Insert foot in mouth. But he confirms that he loves the apartment and the area, and wouldn’t leave otherwise. I like it, the image of the hallway is still in my brain, but it’s fine.

Sidenote: when I tell my girlfriend Laura about the hallway her response is “I also found that most entrances to new york apartments looked like the beginning of a scary movie – maybe that's just something that we need to learn to deal with.” True dat homey.

Next I went to an appointment in the West Village, just a quick walk away. The neighborhood is super cute, but didn’t feel too different than the East Village. What did feel very different was how dang small the apartment was. Like, everything micro sized. But granite counter tops (maybe 12 square inches) and a little pantry. The bedroom was just big enough to fit a bed, but very little else. Same with the living room. Oh, and the closet was in the living room. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if this apartment wasn’t at the tippy top of my price range. For the tippy top, I want the best of the best. No compromises.
Apartment number three was just ok. It was listed as Gramercy, but it was really more like Kip’s Bay. It was just OK in every sense. Not worth talking about.

I left my heart in the East Village. Apartment one had everything I wanted. I mean, the murder hallway is weird, but I love the apartment itself. So now the decision becomes do I keep looking or lock it up? There could be something better out there, or not, and someone else could snatch it up while I am finding out. I decide to seize the moment and go for it! Bottom line is I am not sure of a neighborhood regardless. I could love the East Village, I could hate it. But I love the apartment, so I’m going for it. Off to sign papers tomorrow.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still having anxiety that I didn't see every apartment, every neighborhood etc.  And maybe there is something "better" out there, but I think this is a good start!
Here she is! My beautiful little East Village refuge. Upstairs from a Pinkberry and soon to be a wine store. What else could a girl ask for? Now I get to decorate! WOOHOO!!!





Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Can Take The Girl Out of Boston...

I started this blog. Swore I was going to update all the time. Months go by, new job, new friends, new projects, and very few updates. So few in fact that I didn't realize my domain had expired. Oops.

But I'm starting fresh, because you know what Liz did? I accepted a job in New York! This is the most exciting thing to happen to me in a long time. It was unexpected, but I was approached with a fantastic opportunity and couldn't pass it up. Plus, I've had the itch to move for a while. Boston is my home. There is no where I feel more comfortable, but almost too comfortable. I have a PHD in this city. Every sight, every restaurant, every haunt. It's time to stretch myself.

So it this is how it went down. While in New York for work on June 5th, the opportunity was presented to me as a possibility, pending a few changes that were still TBD.  I had a sinking feeling that this "potential opportunity" was real. I knew it in my gut that my life just changed.  It came up during my last meeting of the day and I left for Penn Station in a tizzy. Had a few scotches on the train ride home, and immediately opened Craigslist to see where I might be living.  Oh, and I met John Slattery while waiting for my car.  I think the universe was telling me that this was supposed to happen.  I work in advertising.  I just met Roger Sterling on the street.  New York was meant to be.

And then I kept it to myself. My own little secret. Afraid to tell anyone until I knew it was real because I would feel like a loser if I told everyone I might be going, only to have it fall through. So fast forward a few weeks and S&%T got real. The job was real and they needed an answer. Tomorrow. I toughed through a conversation with my boss' boss where I am trying to play hard ball career lady and talk relocation packages, cost of living increases blah blah while fighting back tears. The first of many that day.

I leave the office and drive to meet my Be-Fri Jen for dinner, and utilize the car ride to call my parents. My dad answers, and I'm choking up. After some small talk, I break the news. He is totally supportive, yet raising all of the points and concerns any parent would. I know he is on board. He suggests calling my sister Wendy, a New Yorker of 15 years to get advice on apartments etc.

Here's the kicker. My amazing sister Wendy moved to New York fresh out of college, and is just a week away from leaving the city to start a new life California. I'm excited to tell her but beyond disappointed that we won't get to share the city together. I break the news and after a gasp of disbelief, she calls us "ships passing in the night" and is immediately on Craigslist determined to find me a home. Damn she's a good dooby. She knows this city. I mean really knows it. It makes my PHD in Boston look like a PHD in flip flops. Beyond my disappointment in not getting to live there with her is the uneasiness that she won't be able to help me find a place and give her seal of approval to my neighborhood. She also told me that if this happened six months ago her husband never would've dragged her out of New York. But everything happens for a reason. She is starting a new chapter with her family, and I am forced to do this on my own. It is terrifying but so exciting. Much like this whole experience. I hang up the phone with her, and it's on to dinner with Jen.

So ten minutes into our Chipotle burritos, I blurt out that I have to tell her something before I lose the nerve. I can see some skepticism in her face and I just spew "I'M MOVING!" She was understandably taken off guard, and of course I start crying, and explain the situation. At the end of the day I know she is happy for me no matter what, but she is upset I never talked it over with her. I know she is hurt. And I realize at that moment that we are so close that this isn't just a big change for me, it is for her too. We do everything together, and haven't been separated in ten years. I have instant guilt, and I think to be honest, she isn't over me not telling her before it was a done deal. But there is no one I am more excited to have visit me than her. We are always on the same page, love to travel together, and I can’t wait to explore my new city with her!

Now onto my mom. I told my dad he could give her the spoiler alert, so when I called she knew what to expect. I was bracing myself for devil's advocate the whole way. I was ready for her to poke holes in everything from the career potential to the financials. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was 210% supportive and recognized what a great opportunity it is for me. What I was really left with was the quote that I will take with me through this whole experience. "Suck it up, Go for it, It's nothing that can't be undone." Cue the waterworks. I hang up the phone with her and weep. It's real, I am going. And it means the world to me to have so much love and support. But I still have one sister to go…

Ugh, telling Barbara. I couldn't tell her the same night as everyone else because at this point it's 9pm, and she is 9+ months pregnant and well asleep. I wait through the next day at work, which happens to be her due date, and call her after work. From the second she picks up the phone I am dreading every second. Her husband and my nieces are hustling around getting ready for an event at church. I hear my little niece's voices and I'm getting upset thinking about how I won’t see them as often.  I just can’t let myself go there.  We talk about her doctor’s appointments and her annoyance of being so pregnant, and I am half concentrating on the conversation, and half pondering whether to tell her before or after her husband and kids leave for church. This will devastate her. I am preparing myself for her to rebut "It's so far away" "You will never see the kids" and on and on. So eventually I open with "I have some news that might send you into labor" and without hesitation she responds "Where is it?" It's weird about sisters right? You just get it. I tell her it's New York and she says "Thank God it's not London or Chicago. If there was one place I could pick, I'd pick New York". She knew I had itchy feet and it was just a matter of time before I went somewhere. What she didn’t know was that both Chicago and London were on the table at one point, and boy that would be tough. In telling both Barbara and my mom, it was not the response I expected, but it was the response I needed. And that felt pretty damn good.

So all in all, I am overwhelmed by support and love. I still don't know when exactly I am going, but I think it will be mid August. There is still a lot to do in Boston (that means a lot to eat). A lot of friends to hug and pictures to take, but I am so ready for this adventure. And the weird thing is it is ten years exactly from when I moved to New York to intern at Letterman. And my office is around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater at that.

This month just feels epic in a lot of ways. One sister is moving clear across the country, and the other is going to have a beautiful baby boy at any moment (literally). My best friend got a new job in Charlotte, but the new job means she gets to travel to New Jersey a lot, just a quick train ride from NYC. Sometime I sit there and think to myself "I'm moving to New York" and I get a tingly nervous feeling in my chest. I tear up a lot, and think about all of the people and things I will miss, but that are only a train ride away.

You can take the girl out of Boston, but you will never take Boston out of the girl. This is my home, and I will be back a lot. I worry about feeling like I am a visitor in this city. My city. But I think the experience of living in New York is something you just can't pass up. And I can always come home.

Suck it up, Go for it, It's nothing that can't be undone.