My first full week in New York has recently wrapped up and it has singlehandedly been the most eventful/stressful week of my entire life. So much has happened in those seven days that I quite literally have forgotten the order in which things happened. However, a few things do stick out which I feel need describing.
I almost got robbed on Sunday.
My friend and I were on a “Tourist Adventure,” in which we gathered a map from Grand Central and walked to and from New York City landmarks, paying attention to the streets that we were walking down and the bus routes that we were taking. It was lovely really- our adventure ended at South Ferry where we actually contemplated taking the Staten Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of those wonderful city views and the Statue of Liberty. The weather was downright dreadful, and despite my new “New York Girl” coat- a puffy number that made me feel like I was wearing an adult version of the adolescent “snowsuit”, we thought against the ferry ride. We did, however, decide to check out one of my apartment options in Bushwick while it was still light out.
We arrived at the Dekalb stop and for a few blocks felt fine about the area, we crossed the street and were instantly transported to a block reminiscent of my time in Puerto Rico- grocery stores and corner shops all in Spanish, reggaeton blasting out of cars, and not a single person on the street speaking English. We decided to truck on, being that we were only a few steps away from the apartment. The street was dimly lit and during our entire 8-10 minute walk we had only seen about six people out and about (it was Sunday at 6:30, mind you). I said “No, hell no. This will not do,” and we turned around. We reached the intersection of Himrod and Wyckoff and something told me to turn around. I turned around and saw a stumpy guy in a blue jacket trailing somewhat close to us; I told my friend to walk faster and we made a right on Wyckoff only to realize that we were lost. We stepped inside the corner store instead of searching our Google Maps outside, and when I asked the shop manager for directions he blatantly told me he didn’t speak English. Awesometown.
Our subway stop was on the next corner and we ran out and down to the subway. On the platform we were approached by a guy pretending to be a police officer and despite my friends condescending tone and questioning of his “ghetto police lanyard,” we had still wasted too much time on this guy, who was literally stalling for time until the subway car had arrived.
Needless to say, we got out of that situation unscathed but it was only when we were comfortably at dinner at a cute little pasta and pizzeria restaurant in Union Square that I realized the guy who was the faux-officer was the same guy who was following us.
Welcome to New York.
Since that instance, I have had a few more job interviews, viewed a few other apartments- including a really nice, renovated place in Clinton Hill with, wait for it, a washer and dryer in the apartment, for $1050 before utilities- and made a friend- a girl named Marissa from the Bronx, who is in my phone as ‘Marissa from the Block.’
Wednesday night I got the stomach flu. Instead of continuing my job and apartment search, I was sprawled out on my friends floor, swaddled in Afghans and rotating my fluids between Gatorade , water, and hot tea. That’s also how I spent my Thursday. Friday, I managed a subway trip back to Morningside Heights where I am couch-crashing, contemplating the nearest trash can if my luck had not become me, and pausing for a quick smile while a trio of B-boys breakdanced in my subway car. Saturday, I come to you in better spirits.
Through all of this epicly long blog post, that barely hints on my first week here, I have learned a few things that I feel need to be shared. Despite how courageous or prepared that you may feel for a big move, the smallest things that you believe you can overcome, do in fact add up and have the potential to stress you out the most. I always said, if anyone from St. Louis could move to New York and make it, it would be me. And while I still believe that with every essence of my being, ‘making it’ in New York isn’t just getting a job, finding a place, or getting an article published; its understanding that 116th street on the A is different than 116th on the 1, or remembering to be mindful of your surroundings, or finding a quality friend who is still your friend after you cradled his toilet for some odd 12 hours, among other things. I hope that next week is less eventful, but the thing is, everyday that I deal with these kinds of situations is a day in which I am harder, better, faster and stronger. I could have the exact repeat of last week and would react to things differently. Being a “thug” doesn’t involve gun-toting and drug-pushing, sometimes it’s just a matter of being resilient and adaptable in various surroundings. Therefore, I hereby declare myself a thug.
Keep calm and thug on.