City Love

Last weekend while belting out the lyrics to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’Β  “Empire State of Mind” at a bachelorette (karaoke!) party, I felt an incredible surge of NYC love. I suppose this post doesn’t have a whole lot to do with running or cooking, but the last 4 years in New York have shaped those aspects of my life so much that I decided the story was blog worthy. I didn’t grow up in the city (far from it) and was never one of those people who dreamed of moving here. In fact, I distinctly remember saying I would “never want to live in New York” sometime during my senior year of college. But shortly after college graduation, I found myself working at an internship in D.C. and not really loving it. A combination of things led me to consider New York – a job offer as a writer at a internet start-up, two college roommates who were already living in Brooklyn, and a boy.

Within a matter of weeks, I had put down a deposit on my first apartment (Washington Heights, holla) and had packed up a U-Haul. My very brave (and very nervous) Mom drove the giant U-Haul across the George Washington Bridge and into Manhattan. We arrived on my street at dusk and were greeted with the sounds of bachata music and city traffic. After unloading my stuff, we headed into the Bronx around 2am to return the U-Haul. Uh, thanks again Mom. I’m going to get you a GOOD Mother’s Day gift one of these years….

Since I was so far North in Manhattan, I was able to score my own one-bedroom for not too much cash. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough $$ for a bed. I slept on an air mattress for a good 6 months before splurging on a real bed from IKEA.

Those first couple of months were tough. I lived far away from my Brooklyn friends. I missed the carefree college life – working and paying bills in NYC wasn’t much fun!

I didn’t know the difference between Express and Local trains or what the term “five boroughs” meant. I carried a map of the subway system with me at all times and studied it every chance I got.

But over time, I started to get comfortable with my new city. The crowds no longer stressed me out. I got used to traveling the subways during rush hour (the secret? zoning out with a book or magazine). And I went on long walks to explore different neighborhoods.

From the George Washington Bridge at the top of Manhattan…

To the Statue of Liberty as seen from the Staten Island ferry…

The city slowly became mine. I explored restaurants, learned the ins and outs of Central Park, and made some new friends. I’m no longer at my first job (that lasted all of 4 months hah), living at my first apartment, or in a relationship with that boy. But I’m still living in New York. And you know what? Every day I love it more. At first I thought this town would be a temporary stop for me, maybe I’d move to Boston or Philadelphia or California within a few years. But now I can’t see myself living anywhere else. I love having my pick of restaurants and stores and museums. I thrive on the busy pace and diverse population. And the longer I’m here, the more entrenched I become.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with some college friends –

and make some new ones.

And I’m genuinely grateful to be where I am.

So to Central Park, the MTA, Magnolia Bakery, my coffee cart guy, NYRR, running buddies, happy hour friends, the Brooklyn Bridge, and everything else that has made me love this city – thanks.

Love, Megan

What’s the best thing about your city? (Thanks for putting up with my mush!)

May 6th through May 15th from 3-5pm, you can get 1/2 price frappuccinos at Starbucks. Yay!

  • awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww for mush! well i’m moving out of my city asap so i don’t have too much good to say except that it’s really quaint and charming. every once in awhile i’ll get in a good where i’m like “do i really want to move?!

  • Megan M.

    Loved. this. post.

    Fyi…got a looot of nyc adventures on the docket for this summer…get excited!!!

  • Great post! NYC is fabulous – sounds like you’ve come a long way! The best part of my city (Philly!) are runs along the Schuylkill River Trail, the variety of unique BYO restaurants, and the Benjamin Franklin love!

  • AR

    <3 NYC

    Tell someone to hire me so I can move and I'll come hang with you, kthxbai.

  • Kelly

    I loved this!!! What a great tribute to a city that you are obviously thriving in! I live in Austin, Texas and I LOVE IT! I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is the only city in Texas that I would live in!

  • I never saw myself moving to NYC either. It is funny where life takes you and how your path isn’t always what you expected, but works out for the best! I love your blog by the way! Don’t be sorry about the mush! We all enjoyed it!

  • Brittany

    I love this post!!! I live here too and was a little reluctant when first moving here. I remember that same feeling… of carrying the subway map everywhere I went, feeling quite overwhelmed by everything and everyone. But now it feels like my home and I fall more in love every day πŸ™‚

  • Love this! I’ve been at home in NYC since the second I moved here. There was a possibility I was going to move to back to Boston for a few years (I went to undergrad there), but when I found out I’d be staying in New York, I was so happy I almost started crying. Haha silly but true. It’s especially wonderful here in the spring and summer.

  • Sarah

    This post made me so homesick for New York! I go to school in D.C. (I agree with you, as a city it’s just ehh) and I have come close to crying a couple of times because I miss my city so much. I love New York in the summer at dusk, especially when I run to the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s the prettiest time and place ever. I also like reading the NYT while eating bagels. You cant get a decent bagel anywhere else! My friends all call me a snob but it’s true.

  • Gabrielle

    I have been here for 6 mths and I know what you mean about being tough to begin with, managing my money and paying my rent is constantly on my mind and the feelings of lonelyness by not having many friends is hard, but I wouldnt change it for the world. I love living here. And Im looking forward to half price frapes next week too!

  • I just moved back to Houston after 6 years in New York (including college) and after growing up here, then moving to Tinytown, Oregon right before high school, before heading to New York, I’m also grateful to be where I am. Even though I definitely needed this change, I’ll miss my NY ‘hood (Astoria, Queens) and the NYRR races. I’m already excited to head back for the marathon in November!

  • I love this post so much! I love Central Park, NYRR, the MTA (in all its dysfunction), the diversity, the endless food options, the customer service at Saks… Is it weird that I’m getting emotional about how much I love this city?! πŸ˜€

  • Lisa Alcorn

    Great post!! I think a lot of us have a similar “move to New York” story, and it never gets old. I think that’s one of the best parts of living in the city – for most of us, it’s not easy and it’s always an adventure! (I get pretty emotional when I hear that song too!!)

  • that is a sweet post! i think taking a risk and adventure like you did is so cool. nyc is unlike any other city. it would be a major adjustment to move for sure. i love the space of being in houston, mix of big city, driving, big houses.

  • Natalie

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who didn’t have a bed at first!! I moved here with 2 suitcases and literally slept on a yoga mat until I could move my bed up a week later…yes, it was a shorter time but REALLY uncomfortable!!! I have quite a few “starting out” stories…maybe we can exchange some on a run soon!

  • Anonymous

    yes! maybe we can go running some morning next week.

  • Anonymous

    I’m dying to visit Austin! From what I’ve heard, I think I would really like it.

  • Anonymous

    You can stay on my air mattress till you find a job πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    I love BYOB restaurants – such a $$ saver.

  • looooove this post. i love hearing about people’s moving to new york stories, maybe since i’m intrigued by never having the ability to experience it! and to be honest, if i didn’t grow up here i don’t think i’d be bold enough to make the big move. good for you for sticking it out and loving this place despite the ups and downs. love your story, and thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    That Statue of Liberty photo is from our Stone Street-Staten Island night btw πŸ™‚

  • man-friend

    the boy has been exchanged for a man, also NYC is the amazing

  • Corey @ runners cookie

    This was really fun to read! Funny how what we think we want for ourselves can be so different from what we really do end up wanting as we experience more things. It’s so cool how you fell in love with NYC and really see it as your home now!

    I remember always knowing I loved Boston, but thinking I would hate BU because it’s too much in the city and doesn’t have a pretty green campus. But after being there for a semester, I treasured being able to walk to Newbury St after class, being a short subway ride from downtown, and being immersed in the city lifestyle.

  • Absolutely! I actually tried out a BYOT(equila) restaurant last night where they’ll make you a pitcher of margaritas! Amazing.

  • Jen

    Such a long way from your first year there when you told me you would definitely not be staying. I kind of consider you my personal Tina Fey, especially after reading this post, so I’m going to suggest you read/listen to Bossypants. It’s hilarious and talks a lot about her PA upbringing. I still miss you! O and I have not really been fond of DC but now that I’m leaving I’m feeling a little nostalgic and feeling like I missed out on a lot of the fun (and free!) things it has to offer. πŸ™

  • Man, I love this post, especially because I’ve been having such a love affair with Philadelphia! I love that I can walk or ride my bike everywhere! After living in Phoenix where no one walks anywhere this is HUGE

  • MM

    Aw this post almost brings tears to my eyes, it made me so nostalgic for NYC! I went to college near the city, and I really miss it. But the good news it, I’m moving back this summer!

  • Eileen

    I love this! I lived in NYC for years and I miss it terribly. I already hope that at least one of my children will want to live there in their 20s … I think most people should give it a try. πŸ™‚

    Also, when I first moved there, I slept on what I called a “flippy chair” … this tiny little fold-out foam sofa. Ahhh, memories!

  • Thanks to starting a long distance relationship, I got to visit NY a lot last year. I’d visited a few times before for vacation or work and liked it enough but didn’t get the allure. After a year of doing the bicoastal thing I still don’t love NY. My LA-ness probably impedes me from doing so. However, I definitely like NY and miss it lately. I got used to running in CP and people watching on the train. I’d move there if he wanted to move back (he’s now in LA), but I’d miss driving.

    I love the diversity of LA. And the weather. You can’t beat it.

  • Toleman

    You have beautiful legs. With all respect.

  • mvr

    Hey Megan,I discovered your blog a few months ago because I was browsing through the internet for some diet advice for runners. Like you, I am in my 20’s (late 20’s to be exact) and love running. In fact, I just finished my first marathon this weekend, however, I’m not as Β fast as you. Anyway, I just wanted to say how amazing your blog is and thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us, runners.Β 

  • MVR

    Β PS. I love NYC btw and would love to live there someday. So it’s nice to read your blog and live vicariously through your training runs around Manhattan. I’m from SoCal, but I hope to someday experience living in NYC. We’ll see. πŸ™‚