Well, it’s hard to believe that this day is almost here; the day that I move out of Manhattan, and more specifically, out of the Upper East Side.
I was first introduced to the neighborhood through my friend whom I met while interning at ELLE. Though I went to school in Philadelphia at the time, I interned three days a week in NYC and regularly spent nights and often weekends at her apartment on 87th and York Ave, and man did we have some crazy times. We spent Sunday’s tanning on her roof sipping on cheap champagne from the corner store, we regularly made our drunken visits to her local bodega to visit the infamous bodega cat, and spent many a hungover morning’s grabbing bacon, egg and cheeses from Bagel Bob’s. What can I say? We were in our early 20’s and living our version of “the dream”in NYC.
So, naturally when I was moving to the city after college a few months later, there was no hesitation; the Upper East Side was the only choice.
My first Upper East Side apartment was a sublet room in an apartment on 77th and 2nd Ave with some of my sorority sisters from college. I lived in a cramped three bedroom with three girls with barely enough room walk around the bed and dresser in my room. Though I was only there for a few months, that apartment had a big impact on me because it was my first time being on my own in a new city. At college everyone is in the same position you are, living in a new place, but in NYC, it’s every man for themself and I was there for it. We spent week nights sipping beer’s at The Stumble Inn, late night’s singing karaoke at Iggy’s, Saturday’s enjoying picnics in the park. We were enjoying being young in the city that never sleeps and to be honest, I’m not really sure that I even slept much while I lived at that apartment either.
Finally, in June of 2014, I moved into my first “real” apartment, living with an ex-boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriend, and then once she moved out, one of my best friends from college. That apartment saw many tears, two ex-boyfriend’s, two jobs, many laughs and many (too many) broken wine glasses. I’ll always have a soft spot for that apartment because I really feel like I grew up there. It’s where I really learned to live on my own and honestly, learned how much adulthood can really suck. I got laid off from a job, got a new one, finally said goodbye to an ex boyfriend, started dating someone new, met so many good people that are still in my life today, and lost so many that aren’t. I spent more time exploring the city and its nightlife. That apartment was where I fell in love with New York and more specifically, the Upper East Side.
Now, flash forward to three years later and I’ve moved two blocks and one avenue from my second apartment and six blocks and two avenues from my first apartment. But, despite how close they all were, this apartment was different because it was my first time living alone and though it took some time, I learned to love it. I really embraced my alone time here, but also loved hosting others. From my epic 2018 holiday party which I’m convinced will forever be remembered, to little everyday get togethers with friends, this apartment saw a lot of tears but it saw a lot more laughs. I had my first “date” with Zach in this apartment, watched my city win a superbowl in this apartment, hosted my first NYC Thanksgiving in this apartment. I will miss this apartment. I will miss the Upper East Side. But, mostly I will miss the person that I was while I was here.
I was young, I was naive, and sometimes I was a complete mess, but mostly I was happy. Happy spending time with some of the people who matter most to me, happy living on my own, happy enjoying nightly runs in Central Park, happy shoving my way through lines at Fairway. Happy because I was home, and that wasn’t necessarily because all of my belongings were there but because my friends were close by, the park that I loved was within walking distance, I had my own routine; these were the things that made it a home.
And after reminiscing on my time here, I realized that the reason we miss things so much when we leave is not necessarily because of the place itself, but because we miss who we were while we were there, and more specifically, how it made us feel.
I may never feel that way again walking through the park or heading to Rathbones for wing night, and I may never be that person again, but I can always visit the Upper East Side and reminisce on who that girl was.
So, instead of saying goodbye, I’m going to say see you soon. I’ll see the Upper East Side again, visit the park, stop by the Met and although I may not be the exact same person I was while I lived here the past five years, I know she’ll make an appearance and I’ll have a reminder of that crazy time in my life when I called the Upper East Side home.