Leaving New York City

Seven years and two months ago, I moved onto my childhood best friend’s couch on Wall Street with a single suitcase in tow and a publishing job waiting for me.

Seven years and two months later, I’ve handed in my notice at that same job and rented out my room in the Astoria apartment I shared with that same friend. I moved back onto her couch with a single suitcase and a very different career on the horizon.

I did not expect to stay this long. My friends can attest that I’ve spent every year here swearing I’d be moving abroad “any day now.”

I did not expect to stay at my first job out of college for 7 years. Nor I did expect to make so many new friends in New York. I think of myself as shy and kind of awkward, so where did all these people who like hanging out with me come from?

I did not expect to grow roots, but apparently I did. I didn’t even notice how deep they ran until it came time to dig them up.

I stayed this long because of the people. I stayed for my childhood and college besties, for the new friends I met at work and at publishing parties, in new-to-the-area meetups and comic conventions.

Last week, I stood in my friend’s tea house (closed for my going away), surrounded by people from all my different New York social groups meshed together. The room felt like a kaleidoscope of all the lives I’ve lived here. The people I’ve known for decades, the ones I’ve only just met, and everybody else in between.


I’m leaving them all.

It hadn’t felt real yet, not until that night. Not until I had to say goodbye.

I’m excited for the next chapter. I can’t wait to explore new cities and make new friends in unexpected places. But leaving is bittersweet. I’ll miss everyone I love in New York, and I’ll miss the city that brought us all together, too.

New York is a city of transplants (with a few proud locals mixed in). It’s a city where your friends become your family, where nobody bats an eye at unusual living situations or the hijinks you get up to on a late-night subway train. You get no privacy here, but neither does anyone else, so we understand when you need to do your makeup in a cab or haul a dog carrier full of doves across town to bird-sit for a weekend.

It’s a city full of artists and writers, actors and dancers. I have a theory that they flock here for the stories. Where else can you find comedic inspiration like a mailman pushing your roommate through a window, or overhearing a drunk guy carry on a 10 minute conversation with your cat? There’s a reason so many sit-coms are set here. People called Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “unrealistically weird,” but I noticed the only reviews saying that were written by people who had never lived in NYC.

So, I came for a job. I stayed for the people. But I also fell in love with New York along the way. It feels like home right now, a home I’m leaving behind for I-don’t-know-how-long. And just like the other cities I’ve called home, a piece of me will remain here, no matter where I end up next.

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