Significant Moments, Significant Places
It’s been over three months since I moved to New York City. Sometimes it feels like 3 years, sometimes three weeks. Time is moving like a river; swift, fluid, powerful. I’m unaware of how quickly it's moving until I see how far I’ve come.
I’m not an expert on this city by any means (I have the credibility of a long-term tourist), but New York has been the backdrop to significant moments I don’t want to forget. The river is rushing past, leaving barely enough time to savor the sweetness, saltiness, or whiskey-sour-ness of a moment until it’s gone. So, as a three-month-old rookie to this city, here are a few places of significance so far.
Turnstyle Underground Market | Columbus Circle. I walk through the Turnstyle Market every day on my way to work. It’s actually such a pleasant place to exist in the morning. The combination of smells is overwhelming, but so is New York. I walk from one end to the other, smelling coffee and donuts and sizzling Thai food, passing the wine store, the greeting card store, the macaron pop-up and flower stand, and eventually exiting through the SW corner to 57th and 8th, passing the newspaper man and the barber shop before a blast of cold air and car horns greet me at ground level.
Penguin Random House | 1745 Broadway. My beloved office. There’s nothing particularly special about the PRH building. It's just a typical midtown high rise (with thousands of books in the lobby). Every morning, hundreds of trendy-librarians walk through its revolving doors with their loafers, cardigans, and New Yorker tote bags. We scan our IDs to get into the elevator, greet the security guard, and punch ourselves up to our respective floors (12th for me). Eight hours a day I spend in this building, and not a day goes by that I'm not overcome with gratitude that I get to work here.
Coreum Deo | Hell’s Kitchen. I come to the Church of the City prayer room on Mondays and Thursdays at 8am––a quiet haven in the middle of a smoking, honking, and hurrying city. I leave my apartment at 7:28 to catch the 7:34 bus to Hell’s Kitchen. I take off my coat and slip through the curtain into this quiet space of prayer, worship, and the Presence of God. The bus pilgrimage and the prayer room are both sacred spaces in my week.
The Bowery Hotel. I came here for the first time last weekend when Ashton and Liz Langford were in town. The dim lamps richly illuminate the velvet couches and the drapes are heavy with musty, gold fringe. It reminds of Clue or a smoky, after-dinner lounge from Downton Abbey. “You can write your book here,” Ashton told me. And I think I just might. (This is also where I had my first celebrity sighting: Chris Pine).
The Valerie. We stumbled into this vibey bar after church one night. My friend Erin and I were headed to Chipotle (lame but easy), and found this restaurant on accident. We ended up staying for a few hours, drinking wine, splitting entrees, and talking about literally everything.
Graffitied building in the middle of Brooklyn. I’ll never forget this night, my second weekend in New York City, I was invited to a party in Brooklyn by a guy I hadn’t even met in person yet. My friend, Delainey, and I got off the L train and found ourselves next to a silent, dark industrial warehouse. A piece of loose leaf paper was taped to the door and the words ‘fall party’ were scrawled in pencil. We almost didn’t go because I was a scardy cat. But we met so many new friends that night, many of whom I’m still friends with today. It was the beginning of a network of wonderful, creative, Jesus-loving people in the city. I look back on this night as the time I decided to say yes to invitations, to jump into fellowship with both feet, to hold my head high and introduce myself to complete strangers. This has opened so many doors for me.
Matto Espresso | Upper West Side I got my job offer from Penguin Random House on a Tuesday afternoon, eight days after I moved here (this is abnormally fast, a complete gift I did not deserve). I had just spent the day exploring Columbia and Riverside Park with a friend and was strolling through the Upper West Side when I got the call. I hung up the phone and stood very still. The city moved at its usual pace and I stood in the middle of the sidewalk, smiling at nothing, screaming inside. I went to the first cafe I found, treated myself to a pastry, and savored it on the Crosstown bus back to the Upper East Side (where I was living at the time). I had a freaking job in New York City. I was here to stay.
My apartment | Upper West Side. My apartment is my favorite place in the city right now. It's a tiny fourth floor walk up, tucked into the heart of the upper west side––a haven, a safe space, a quiet nook in the middle of bustling everything. I love squeezing in here with my roommates, in our tiny living room, bathroom, kitchen, and railroad layout. We quite literally live on top of each other, but I love it and love coming home every day.
Honorable mentions go to The Belfry (Union Square), Buvette (Greenwich Village), and Fawkner (Brooklyn) for having the most flawless mulled wine, brunch, and fireplace ever (in that order).