Welcome to New York

Despite the fact that New York City is a place where people are more than willing to pay 2/3 their income for an apartment and $10 for a weak drink, people still flock to the city. This week’s New York magazine addresses this defiant group of incomers.

“In good times and bad, New York is a magnet for dreamers…A recent poll found that even in these times, almost half of young America wants to move to New York.”

The article consists of 30 “New New Yorkers” like James Franco, Lorne Michaels, Diane Von Furstenberg and Mike Myers, retelling the stories of their first year in the city and what they remember. My favorite?


Amy Sedaris, comedienne
Arrived: 1993
The first thing I saw when I came to New York was a man leaning up against a wall, shitting. Perfect! I was never scared in Chicago. Here your fear was sitting right in front of you. But I loved it. I started waitressing at Marion’s, and then got a job at Gourmet Garage. My brother David and I would go to Balducci’s and look at their prepared food and then go home and try to make that. We shopped at Western Beef all the time. Waitressing was always fun. I like to wait on people, I like to work around food, I like to make cash, and I like to hear people complain.

This makes me think of my first year of living in the city. Not the part about seeing a man pooping on the sidewalk, but of my first year in New York. Honestly, I’ve only been here for almost two years, so I can’t be all that reflective of my time in the city, but I can be happy that I’m still here and somehow making it work. It’s long, but bear with me.

When I first moved here, I didn’t have a job or a place to live. For the first two days I crashed on the couch of my mom’s boss’ daughter’s apartment in Brooklyn until I found a place on Craigslist with a guy who ended up taking a class from my grandpa at Columbia. Because of this association I felt his threat of being a serial killer to be low enough for me to sublet for a while on the Upper West Side.

Career wise? My entire reasoning for moving to New York was to fulfill my lifelong dream of working in the magazine industry. By visiting a few times before graduation and pestering enough people to give me a contact in HR, I was able to line up job interviews at Time Inc., Hearst and Conde Nast. If I couldn’t make it in a month, I would go back to Wisconsin and figure it out there. Yet, as luck would have it, on my fourth day in the city, I nailed my interview at Hearst and they offered me a job at Seventeen. “I will have all the lip gloss and nail polish in the world!” I told my friends. This actually wasn’t too far off. The beauty sales at Seventeen were pretty stellar and I’m still using all the hair products and face lotion I got for $1 each. The job itself wasn’t too bad either. I made copies, put together proposals, looked through magazines(!!) and even saw George Clooney! I was living the dream.

This was me on the weekends.

This was me on the weekends.

This was me during the week.

This was me during the week.

However, the dream did not cover my student loans and credit cards. So, in order to make ends meet, I found a few babysitting gigs. My life quickly became a combination of The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Dairies….without the fabulous wardrobe and romantic comedy aspect. I found out that the horror stories you read about are very true.  I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse at the life of the Manhattan upper elite. I learned that families have weekend nannies as well as weekly nannies. I learned that it is normal to hire not only a personal chef to come in twice a week to prepare meals, but it is also normal to have a masseuse come in once a week to give everyone in the family back massages. I learned that kids are actually given prozac at the age of 7 which can lead to threats of jumping off buildings. I learned that a nanny is necessary even if both parents are home in order to distract the kids so as not to bother the parents from napping, working or jogging.

As a girl growing up in the Midwest where most parents worked but still managed to be with their kids at night and on the weekend, all of this was new to me. I thought that this type of parenting was only in the very factual movies based on fiction. I felt bad for the kids–who would want to hang out with me when their mom and dad were in the next room? Anyway, I didn’t last long, I left that family after a few months.

Not looking this fabulous

Not looking this fabulous

Not having this sort of romance

Not having this sort of romance

Clearly, I’m still in New York, working at a magazine and “living the dream”.  But what surprises me is that in my first year here, I haven’t come any closer to realizing what I want to do with my life (magazines? marketing? events? blogging?!), but what I absolutely know for sure?  I know that I’m not having a nanny raise my kids–whenever that may be.

Waking Up to New York [New York]

3 Responses to “Welcome to New York”

  1. This is a good read and enjoy your style of writing. Glad I came here through Alphainventions. Have some fond memories of time spent in Manhattan thank you for bringing some of them back. As ever be well

  2. Wow. That’s pretty crazy. My dad is kind of in that nanny life – he’s head of security for an ex- secretary of state. I can’t believe how the rich people live vs. the rest of us sacrificing everything just to be a part of New York.

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