The long good-bye

It looks as if I’ll be leaving New York City in a year to a year-and-a-half. My boyfriend is leaving in about a month to pursue a reporting job there, and I am planning to follow in order to learn Mandarin and see a little more of the world.

About two years ago, I was waiting to hear back about my applications to the journalism schools at U.C. Berkeley and Columbia. Berkeley had accepted me but I had yet to hear from Columbia, and so for several weeks leaving New York City was a very real possibility. I was paralyzed with anxiety; I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else and being really happy. To me, New York City was the center of the universe, and I wanted to consecrate myself to it for the rest of my life. I ended up getting into Columbia, and was so, so happy.

Now, however, I’ve realized that the price I have to pay for living in New York City is insanity (not to mention spending half of my monthly income on a semi-basement studio). Today I was walking past one of those emergency phones on my way to work, and I briefly considered picking it up and screaming into it: “Yeah, I have an emergency! I’m freezing, I’m overeducated and I’m POOR!” That’s when I realized, maybe I could leave NYC, at least for a little while, without breaking my heart.

As soon as I knew I was leaving, however, I suddenly began to see the New York City in a new light. Sure, I still have a bit of time here, but it’s finite and I want to get the most out of the city before I jet off. To that end, I’ve started working on a list of things I want to do before leaving:

1) See the penguins at the Central Park Zoo.
2) Go to Coney Island in the winter and take some angsty photos.
3) Visit City Island.
4) Take the tram to Roosevelt Island.
5) Go to some concerts, instead of reading about them and thinking “gee, I should go see a show, shouldn’t I?”
6) Visit all the thrift stores in Astoria.
7) Sell my freaky college wardrobe at Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg.
8) Visit the Met more often.
9) See the New York City Ballet perform more often.
10) Finally get over my horror of full-length narrative ballets and go see the American Ballet Theatre.
11) Visit the Cloisters
12) Haul ass up to Morningside Heights and have coffee with my favorite college professor like I’ve been meaning to for the past four months.
13) Go bowling at the Port Authority lanes (hopefully with the NYC Metblog crew)
14) Dress like a hipster
15) See a movie at the Angelika
16) Join a knitting circle
17) Knee a flasher in his exposed nads
18) Take the ferry to Staten Island
19) Find out where all the photo booths in New York City are, arm myself with a wad of one dollar bills, and go on a vanity tour
20) Visit more cemeteries

If any of you have suggestions for my list, please let me know!

3 Comments so far

  1. Chris Trent (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:41 am

    wow, i’ve always said that the day i decide to leave this city will be the day i start doing all the things i’ve always said i would do but never have.

    nice list. but i have to ask: number 2 isn’t a reference to me and/or this post, is it? :)

  2. lisa (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 9:26 am

    When a friend of mine left NY for LA, she planned a whole day of New Yorkiness for her friends. We went to the Cloisters and Grant’s Tomb, took the Staten Island Ferry, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and did a few other things in between. So if you ending up procrastinating until the very end, keep in mind that you can squish a lot into one day!

  3. Catherine (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

    Chris – I’ve actually been meaning to do the Coney Island in the winter thing for a while, but I liked your post about it! Ah, wintertime Coney Island… there’s no other place like it in the world (well, parts of Taipei, but that’s from my hazy memory).

    Lisa – Knowing me, I’ll totally be doing the day before thing, too!

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