Today marks exactly 9 years since I moved to New York. Flew here with just a weekend bag for a job interview on Tuesday, January 30, 2007; they offered me the job before I even left the office (I’m either that charming or they were that desperate) and asked me to start 6 days later. As the world’s best negotiator, I accepted immediately and spent the next month living out of my weekend bag in a tiny Thompson Street sublet before the rest of my belongings joined me on this crazy NYC adventure.
The NYPD said I officially became a New Yorker last year when someone broke into my apartment and stole some of my most prized possessions (a bottle of Jameson, a bottle of Jack, Grandma’s 1990’s Nike track jacket). The DMV said I officially became a New Yorker when I finally forfeited my Georgia license last summer.
I say I officially became a New Yorker the day I moved into a fourth floor walkup and carried/maneuvered/finagled a mattress and box spring up to the apartment by myself, while my roommate waited downstairs with the U-Haul. And an hour earlier when we rented said U-Haul and I survived driving it down Park Avenue, even when a pothole shook the side mirror completely off the truck.
I officially became a New Yorker the first time I went home to Atlanta and someone asked, “Are you seeing anyone?” and I answered, “Haven’t had much time for dating since I started a company.”
I officially became a New Yorker during Hurricane Sandy when I carefully climbed up the fire escape of my powerless, cold apartment and marinated in the black Empire State Building, the barely there glow of cars on desolate streets, and the unfamiliar sound of silence in New York City.
I officially became a New Yorker the day I stole a pair of socks from a woman at a sample sale.
I officially became a New Yorker when I decided to live by myself for the first time ever, found an apartment for sublet on craigslist, showed up early (check in hand), followed a neighbor into the building and waited on the stairs for the tenant to show up. I officially became a New York when that tenant called later that night and said, “the place is yours if you still want it, because you were the first person here.” I still live in that apartment.
I officially became a New Yorker when I had NYPD Vice on speed dial because drug-dealing prostitutes were renting the apartment next door and the cops wanted me to call them anytime I heard or saw something suspicious.
I officially became a New Yorker when I got a handwritten thank you note from a club after “accidentally” putting a $700 magnum of champagne on my corporate card…and not getting fired.
I’ve been a New Yorker since January 30, 2007. I’ve just been making memories for the past 9 years.