If you follow me on social media, you may have caught a few hints that something is happening behind the scenes... So yes, if the title didn't give it away, here goes: We are leaving New York!
I'm the worst at good-byes and this is a big one, so bear with me for a little love letter to the best city in the world (and read all the way to the bottom to find out where we are going!).
New York and I, we go way back. Well, not wayyyyy back, but I came here for the first time as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 11-year-old with my dad and what can I say, it was love at first sight.
New York was like the teenage crush of a parent's dreams - unavailable enough so they didn't have to worry, but if something did happen, they'd also be low-key pretty proud. My other teenage crush was Nick Carter, so I've gotta say my parents had it pretty easy in terms of having to worry about me. During that first decade of our love affair, New York and I had a couple of (parent-approved!) 2 - 5-night-stands here and there - ya know, to keep that love-at-first-sight flame alive and burning.
A 4-month-stint at NYU law on a study abroad program kicked off our honeymoon phase. So many firsts, you guys... my first trip to Brooklyn, my first bagel, my first meatpacking club night out, my first rooftop party, my first encounter with real-life born-and-bred New Yorkers (and the lovable way they pronounce "caw-fee"). It was that butterflies-in-your-stomach time in a relationship. I would wake up in a sweltering hot New York in August and the day-old trash smell may as well have been a bouquet of roses. The midnight ambulance sirens - music to my ears. The 3 am trudge home from the Lower East Side on a December night, through inches of gray-ish snow-slush, in heels... - a chance to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw. You guys know the feeling. Crazy, stupid love.
Fast forward 4 years, and we finally made it official. I moved out of Germany and in with my boyfriend. No, silly, I don't mean my "boyfriend" New York - I'm talking about my real boyfriend-now-husband-and-babydaddy, who, at the time, lived in the West Village. But that is a love story for another post (if you guys ever want to read it, that is).
Back to the love story at hand, though, you know how they say you don't really know someone until you live with them? Until you feel that uncontrollable rage at the toothpaste they leave open and the toilet seat they leave up and the overpriced 7th floor walk-ups and the perpetually late subways and the insane number of slow-walking people and those ridiculous 2-hour waits for brunch, and you still love the other person? Suffice it to say, New York and I, we've moved on from the honeymoon phase.
Now, every once in a while I need a little space. Like a weekend upstate in the summer, a quick trip to sunnier shores in the nastiness that is February in New York, or even just a day of apple picking in the Hudson valley or an afternoon at Jones Beach. After all, expecting one city to be everything you need, that's too much pressure for any relationship!
That doesn't mean we've fallen out of love - no way, Jose! We just know each other better and have gotten more comfortable being ourselves. We no longer have to pretend to prefer the hot new SoHo rooftop bar over our favorite neighborhood cocktails, or the 2-hour-Williamsburg-brunch-wait over Dim Sum in Flushing. And while I can't stop myself from a few not-so-subtle eye rolls as I sit in front of my laptop obsessively refreshing the reservations page of that new local-organic-farm-to-table-up-and-coming-neighborhood-Brooklyn-restaurant three blue moons in advance of the date I want to eat there... deep down I know it'll probably be worth it.
Over the years, I've flirted with other cities, had some crushes and some flings here and there... don't judge, I said New York and I had made it OFFICIAL, not EXCLUSIVE! And hey, you other cities, I'm sure you are all great cities - but I just didn't feel that spark, those butterflies, that je-ne-sais-quoi.
...except there's been that one place. That one city that keeps insisting there is something between us and that I am feeling it, too. The city that, every year without fail, keeps sending 77 F (25 C) and clear skies for Valentine's Day. The city that said, I see your apple picking and I raise you a mango tree in your own front yard (my favorite fruit! How did they know...). The city that keeps promising more sunshine, more space, more Spanish AND good schools. I wanted to be all tough like, quit playing games with my vitamin D deprived, overworked, high strung, stressed out, type A, New-York-loving heart... but in the end, I caved. You win, you devilish, tropical paradise, you.
I am writing this looking at the sliver of glittering skyline I can see from my living room couch - the MetLife building and the changing colors of the Bank of America tower's antenna. I'll miss you, my city of dreams, but we're not breaking up. After all, you're a city, not a human, and therefore neither of us is bound by the laws of monogamy. It won't be the same, of course - we'll inevitably grow apart in some ways. You'll keep doing your thing where the only constant is change, and maybe it'll feel a little awkward the next time we see each other. But just play me that ding-dong of the subway doors closing, ask me how I like my caw-fee or charge me $25 for a glass of wine, and I promise you it'll feel like we were never apart.
As for my new boo, my beach-loving, bootyshaking, fiery Latin Lover of a city... Miami, I'm ready for you (just don't be the jealous type!).