I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned here that before we moved to San Francisco a little less than two years ago, we were planning to move to New York. For various reasons we ended up in San Francisco, and I’m really glad we did. But New York is never far from my mind.
I have mentioned that my sister lived there for almost eight years, and that my college career in Boston overlapped with her first years in New York, so back then, depending on my school schedule, I visited about once every month or two for a weekend. I’d do my homework on the bus from Boston to New York, and by the time I arrived, Brooke had weekend plans for us.
Brooke and me up to no good circa 2009.
New York is where I gulped my first sake bomb and learned that snowy Sundays in February are for ordering in and watching movies in bed. I made my first Apple purchase at its 24-hour store on 5th Avenue after midnight one night. On a different night I helped Brooke clear the furniture out of her bedroom so we could host a holiday party in it. Her bedroom was bigger than her living room. How New York, right?
So in some ways New York felt more like home than Boston, where for two years my kitchen was the dining hall. In New York I got a taste of young adult life, and heading back downtown to Port Authority Bus Terminal on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings to catch my ride to Boston, I always wanted more.
Because New York wasn’t mine. My friends weren’t there. My clothes lived in a bag there, and I definitely wasn’t paying New York City rent. But I always figured one day New York would be my own. One day I wouldn’t be my sister’s guest, and I’d take the wallet-size subway map she let me use and pass it along to my own guests.
Jordan and I tried to make all that happen, but San Francisco insisted on us.
Last summer, when we’d been in San Francisco for less than a year, I wasn’t over our extinguished New York plan. Some days I’m still not, but last summer I was hyper-focused on New York life. I got in the habit of reading the New York Time’s New York Today series that sums up the weather, the train lines that are down, which art exhibits are starting and closing, and other New York City history and cultural tidbits. It was like if I just knew what was going on I could somehow insert myself into the action.
Watching the sun go down at Riverside Park.
A lot of things still make me daydream of life in New York.
Like when we had a bit of heatwave in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Warm nights are such a rarity here, and walking through the city at night in a t-shirt reminded me of summer nights in New York.
Or a few weeks before that when a friend and former New Yorker had a birthday party at a brewery in the Mission that despite its sprawling size felt like it could have been in New York.
And that two of my dearest friends — my college roommates — just moved in together in Brooklyn. A friend and I sent them an “East Coast girls are hip” print that made me want to be one so badly.
Or even just the song that came on the radio last week that I hadn’t heard in years and reminded me of a particular weekend in New York with my sister, hanging out at dive bars too late.
So many things make me think of the city that never was for me, and yet, I really do love San Francisco.
I wrote about my experience of falling in love slowly with San Francisco for Miss Melange today. Some part of me will probably always daydream about the life that could have been in New York, but part of being an adult is making tough decisions. Moving to San Francisco was one of the first big concessions I had to make in my life, which I realize shows just how ridiculously fortunate I’ve been.
And, turns out, San Francisco is a great place to live.
Read my post on the things that made me love San Francisco and happy to make it my own, after the disappointment of a New York City plan gone dead, and thank you to Emily and Stephanie at Miss Melange for having me!