My on-again, off-again love affair with NYC

New York CityI lived in New York City for five years — as long as I’ve lived anywhere my entire life. And yet, I’ve barely visited recently. The reasons are two-fold: my practical aversion is that after years in Austin, Vegas, LA and Costa Rica, I don’t have any winter clothes, which limits when I can visit the place I called home. The second reason? My most recent trip there a year ago had been a disaster. My best friends spoil me, visiting Vegas often (and indulging me fun trips to places like Hoover Dam), when not getting married in Maui or throwing a bachelorette party in South Beach. So, I avoided visiting Manhattan. Until a recent trip to New York changed everything…

I don’t know who told me that your first job shapes your entire career, but I firmly believe it’s true. I still set every standard in my work to the two years I spent at New York magazine. (This has sometimes had disastrous results). But those first few years in the workplace in NYC had lasting results in habits outside of the office as well. Not that it was easy: I kicked off my love affair with New York with a difficult year getting my masters at Columbia, before facing the six months it took me to get work. Those were simpler times then, for sure! Little did I know that I would later face almost two years of unemployment during the recession.

Hundred Acres

One of the facets of life in Vegas that makes me chuckle is that “brunch” can be as early as 10 am. Haven’t you people ever seen Sex and the City? It’s a Sunday afternoon tradition! One that I enjoyed with my girls to kick off my most recent trip, at the delicious Hundred Acres. (I got eggs, of course, always eggs.) When I moved from NYC years ago to find warmer weather and cheaper rent, I really thought that some, if not all, of my friends would follow me west. You don’t really stay in Manhattan for life, do you? Slugging through winter and living in a shoebox… Well, it turns out you do. To this day, all of my old friends still live in the city!

New York CityOf course I will never know every single little restaurant in Vegas, but I am definitely close. One of my favorite parts of living in NYC was wandering around, stepping into new places. I had a snack and glass of wine at the bar while wandering Chelsea with a friend during this last visit. I loved this chandelier… I mean, how can you not?! I miss that feeling that around any corner could be a thrilling new go-to spot.

Smyth hotelDespite the constant feeling of adventure in the city that never sleeps, it is still a special place to call home. There’s a familiarity to the busy New York streets, even the ones I don’t know. And apartments can feel homey, cozy even, especially because, not in spite of, the small-ness. Whenever I go for work, I stay at the Smyth hotel, which is right down the street from the main offices of Niche Media, where I serve as editor of Vegas magazine. Whenever I check in, I feel like a guest in my old hometown, not a tourist. I always sleep like a baby.

New York CityI had such an amazing time during this last trip, although I’m not making any plans to move back… At least not anytime soon!  But for some reason, I am so, so happy that I am once again in love with the city that changed my life so. I never faulted the city for anything, but it was starting to feel like a strange dream, how I was so in love with such a tough city. I know that this visit was during the idyllic end-of-summer months, but I don’t care. I have my NYC spark back, and it’s a very special feeling.

How that messy entanglement of a city is giving me peace at this moment is a mystery. But the fact that it is such a puzzle why some people would choose to live in that concrete jungle has always been part of its allure…

At least for an adventure-seeker like me.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. I think that feeling of “newness and adventure around every corner” is the reason I found New York so fascinating & exciting but also kind of overwhelming. After living in Toronto (aka Canada’s “big tough city”) for 12 years, there’s always interesting nooks and corners to explore yet, I can say I actually know the city really well. Whereas, I feel like you could live in New York for decades and still continually be surprised.

    I get where you’re coming from – I love the West so much but I can’t deny that my “big tough city” (Toronto) shaped who I am today, which is why it will always hold a special place in my heart.

    I’m so glad you had a fabulous trip to NYC!!

  2. It’s definitely a love-hate relationship, I’ll give you that 🙂 Come back and visit soon!

  3. What a gorgeous post! Love what you wrote, because that’s exactly how I feel about the Big Apple. Great shots too!!!

  4. Thank you, ladies! Love it or hate it, NYC makes you think, for sure!

  5. I love the way you write  – and think. I have always wanted to live in NYC at some point in my life… hey, you never know 🙂

  6. Thank you. 🙂 A huge compliment coming from you!!

  7. If there were no kids in the picture, I’d love to live in NY for a little while. Don’t know how many winters I’d be able to get through though. I prefer my snow on the fields or mountains, not the streets.

  8. No winter clothes must be one of the most original reasons for not going to New York. Wish I could use it too:)

  9. I like visiting NYC, but I’m not sure I could live there. Love your photos and the idea that you can have mixed feelings about a place even though it’s close to your heart.

  10. Great story. NYC has everything so why wouldn’t it still be attractive! I’ve visited four times and I know I could live there.

  11. Winter is such a pain in NYC, because you can’t hide from it! I do miss it though. It’s hard for me to be there and be treated like a tourist!

  12. I love rediscovering an old fav city!

  13. It’s true, there’s no other place like it. I love NYC and think it would be a fun adventure to live there {temporarily}. I have friends who have had their own times of living in THE city and some that are still there now. What a great story!

  14. Please don’t fall too much in love with NYC! 🙂

  15. I hear you! I love it during certain seasons and in small spells. I wasn’t raised their but can appreciate all it’s beauty. So happy to hear your love affair is back on!

  16. Ahh….I love NYC, too. The last time I went I was recently married with no kids wandering the streets with my sister. We had a blast! I’m so glad I had the chance to do that then. I am finally, 10 years later, getting back this December, but this time will be a much different experience as I am taking my two older kids with me. I’m excited, but also long for the days of the freedom to explore like that! Thanks for sharing!

  17. I’ve only been to NYC once, but absolutely loved it.

  18. Oh, NYC…. how I love you. I love the grit of the streets, more than anything. The culture, the accents, the multiple of Latinos that come in every shade and speak the kind of Spanish my family speaks. Anyway, I love NYC and thank you for this great post that helped remind me.

  19. I lived in New York for the same amount of time, and ugh I just can’t take those winters…. I really can’t. But its still my favorite city in the world, and I feel my heart leap every time my plane/train/bus arrives!

  20. I’d love to see the city again! It really is something. I think my Vegas born children would go bananas over it too. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Each time I go there I love the city a little more…although I still think Toronto is better but I suspect I am the only one who believes that.

  22. I need to catch some of that spark the next time we are in town. I’m kinda meh about it right now.

  23. I loved reading everyone’s memories of NYC!

    Ayngelina, I am dying to visit Toronto. As I learned when I ran my friend’s guest post on it, it is HUGELY popular, so I do not think you are alone!

    Erica, that was me last night, plus a disaster… Someday you will try again!

  24. I miss living on the east coast — so much energy.

    NYC is one of my favorites — thank’s for the reminder!

  25. We want to hang with you in New York at some point. I think it’d be fun!

  26. I took my very first trip to NYC only a couple weeks before you were there, sadly! All I could think of before I went was how expensive it would be and I couldn’t decide if I would like it or not. I loved it. And hated it. I want to go back, but would I live there? It’s just so hard to say. It reminded me SO much of Buenos Aires, my love/hate former home. I feel like I will always have the love/hate thing with NYC and BA, and I don’t mind. It’s exciting!

  27. I’ve never been to New York, but always wanted to visit. It’s one of those place on my travel bucket list. And now your post makes me want to go there even more. One of these days.

  28. Ah, I do love the Big Apple myself! I’ve always toyed with the idea of living there, at least temporarily. Nowhere else in the world seems quite as fun and magical (as far as cities go, that is).

  29. This is a great post on NYC. I recently visited and enjoyed NYC more specifically the Brooklyn area. I went to the Smorgasburg which is basically a big food event. They say NYC never sleeps, I think different.

    Great post and I can’t wait to go back to New York city again. 🙂

  30. It’s only been recently that I’ve been able to actually picture myself living in NYC for awhile. It’s a place I love to visit, but usually I can’t wait to leave. It’s just too much stimulus for me — and too cramped! Haha, I say this though now I’m living in China! Glad to hear you seem to be at peace with New York again … cause it really is a special place.

  31. You know as well as anyone that I’m not a big city person, but NYC has always had a special place in my heart. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Mary is from Staten Island. That being said, I don’t think I could ever live there. I’m wired with intensity enough as it is…

  32. About 2 years have passed since our last trip to New York, and I am having serious withdrawal…

  33. When I visited NYC a few years ago I just couldn’t decide whether I would like to live there or not. Guess I’d need a few months to decide 🙂 I think it is difficult going back (to visit or live) to places that have been important to you.

  34. I loved my week long stay in New York – it was all so eerily familiar from film that I felt I had already visited, and was just returning to say hi.

  35. It’s like Marmite NYC you either love it or hate it. I love it, although I had to leave before I became too hard. I think a city has the power to change you if you live there long enough and sometimes that change is not for the best. On the other hand, there is nowhere like NY anywhere in the world and I have fond memories of it.

  36. New York is without a doubt my favourite city in the world – I’d love to go back. Still haven’t seen Vegas, but looking forward to it some day soon 🙂

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