Leaving NYC Soon (Worried)


I am planning to move from New York City in less than a week.  I will still be in and out of the City for work, etc., but I will no longer “maintain an abode” here, as they say in New York City income tax lingo.

I first moved to the City almost thirty-five years ago.  A cheap apartment had become available in my then boyfriend’s building.  (It is amazing how many life decisions are made in New York City based on real estate.)

We only heard about the apartment by chance–we were driving around Idaho when my boyfriend happened to call his super about some mail and found that a fire had burned out a tenant the night before.  (I don’t think the tenant had died, but honestly, I do not remember.  The only thing we focused on at the time was that the apartment was rent-stabilized and that we had better rush.)

Rent-stabilized, at that time anyway, meant cheap, i.e. affordable.

We hopped into my boyfriend’s van and hardly stopped to change drivers.  (The good thing about a van and out West was that two people could wiggle in and out of the driver’s seat with one foot maintaining, more or less, constant pressure on the gas.)

We got back to downtown NYC in fewer hours than should be legal, sweaty, window-blown and reeling from the sudden descent of Eastern skies –all that lowdown leafiness (much less the dinge of Manhattan), and, after delicately slipping a suitable reward to the super (a palm’s wad of crisp twenties), rejoiced.  (Which meant, got some really terrific pizza.)  (There is no pizza like true New York pizza.)

Of course, I couldn’t yet move in–smoke damage–but the apartment–a fifth floor walk-up with the bath tub next to the fridge (i.e. in the kitchen on concrete blocks)–was mine.

And so it went, through thick and thin, leafyness and damage, wads and wads (and wads) of twenties (and larger denominations), until, I realize, I have been here for most of my life.   Not, thankfully, in that apartment.  (Well, maybe I’m not so thankful.  It  really was cheap.)

I am not someone who grew up wanting to live here.  I certainly would not have come in the absence of that apartment (and okay, that boyfriend.)

But people are a bit like plants (or maybe just potatoes) – they are plopped some place and before they know it, they have put down roots, sent forth tendrils.  They entangle with that fence just to the side,  knot in the scraped brickface to the back,  fix themselves into whatever specks of earth (o.k. concrete) their feet find.  There’s inertia, but also–friends, jobs, family, and of course, familiarity — that family feeling we develop for a place, the comfort in our normal routes (even if rushed), the quiet calm that takes over us when our normal seat on the train or in our favorite restaurant is free, and that proud awe, almost a sense of ownership, we assume for wonders we come to know well–the entrances of museums, concert halls, the views down certain avenues or way up over our heads.

I am happy about the move and the fact is that I will still be in the City a great deal.    And yet, another part of me worries – oh yes- that still something may get left behind here, something I don’t know how to pack.

(PS – the above photo was taken a few days ago from Battery Park City, which is where I currently live, and which is absolutely nothing like my original neighborhood in NYC.  BPC is nice in its way too–beautiful–but definitely is lacking in some of the grit and character of that old neighborhood which was at the edge of Little Italy and Chinatown.  More on all that another time, if anyone is interested.)

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24 Comments on “Leaving NYC Soon (Worried)”

  1. Sounds like a big change after 35 years–but maybe a welcome one?

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Thanks for sharing some of the tales of your wanderings, k–always nice to look under the hood and see the various moving parts. Coincidentally, a boyfriend brought me here to the Dust Bowl where I have lived for lo these many years, and might never even have otherwise seen–it’s home, but like everything on this planet, it has changed, and fits less and less the life I live now. I think the things you can’t pack in the suitcase, or even the big packing crates, perhaps you can pack in the heart, but sometimes, it just is time to move on.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ah. What a great way of putting it–packing in the heart. I hate it to say it that it is my brain I’m a little worried about – forgetting everything. Because I’m not completely sure I want a New Yorker’s heart. That sounds a little scary! (I am laughing at the thought, but honestly, well–New Yorkers can be nice but I have been on at least one street I can think of where someone is being bonked on the head and every body else is studiously looking away. Of course, bonker and bonkee seemed to know each other, but sheesh!) k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      PS – it is very strange how life leads us places. Now that I have been here so long, it is a bit hard to imagine what it would have been like if I had not moved here. Though honestly, I really never expected it. Crazy. k.

  3. kkkkaty1 Says:

    I enjoyed reading this k, as it’s like a conversation with the readers and I’ve always wanted to visit N. Y….it is strange how we end up in certain places; how much of that we can and do actually plan out in our futures depends on so many things, boyfriends and ex-husbands aside. For instance, I would love to live in England or Ireland for an extended period of time but know I could not be that far away from my daughter and grand kids, so a visit will have to suffice. I think if you are moving into a place that you love and have your familiar luggage with you, you are more apt to leave any you don’t need behind you…and Hedge is right,..all the good goes with you inside as memories to draw on if you need to….and it’s normal to feel worried. If you are like me worry, though, it is something I we do regardless; )

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I am, I think, more worried that I will really miss the City, as well as the memories. I may write more about it in the next few days. And in truth, I’ll be back all the time! In mid-town more than downtown, but I can always take the train down! k.

  4. brian miller Says:

    well on one level i am excited for you…change freshens things a bit…though i understand your worry at leaving maybe some of the intangible behind…esp after being there so long…i hope the transition goes well for you…and just hink now you have all new stories to find…smiles….

  5. Nancy Says:

    I remember that apartment. I’d never seen a bathtub in a kitchen. Was it really that long ago? Sweet memories of art walking, and cheap indian food. The pizza, oh that NYC pizza . . . The Catskills will be fresh with beauty, much luck and love.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Nancy! Yes, you must have seen that apartment! It had its good sides – sun–and the pizza was so great – Ray’s on Prince. (He went to prison later. Crazy.) Anyway, hope all is well with you. Thanks much for your good wishes. k.

  6. Oh, K, I am glad for your move, but also understand the sense of loss involved.

  7. janehewey Says:

    “wads and wads of twenties”… the phrase places you in time. Now that money is virtual. I have nothing but well-wishes for you on what seems like a really brilliant next move. Like you, I have not moved in years. Even the thought of it exhausts me. When is your trip to India?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I leave April 4th. Needless to say, it is all a bit rushed but it gets so hot in India and I am anxious to meet up with my daughter and help her on her journey home. Now I am whining but my job has been unusually busy! All at once! But the good thing is that my daughter and I are not so disparate in size so that I can borrow her clothes in India and won’t have to worry too much about packing. She is of the type that is not too proprietary about things like that! K.

  8. a wonderful new adventure you’ll be on, touching many more hearts! Thank you for allowing us us into your beautiful world!

  9. New York City will miss you. 🙂

  10. Mary Says:

    I think moves are very hard, even if one WANTS to move, even if one is ready to move. It is very hard to move from so much history; and 35 years is a lot of history. I guess right now, in your words, I feel your sadness more than I feel your anticipation. I guess that is just how I would react….being sad for what is left behind.

  11. kkkkaty1 Says:

    ..just want to say I agree with Mary…I sympathize..I think you may be pleasantly surprised, too; I am emailing your Bush’s art poem to some liberal friends of mine who will definitely appreciate it..so if you a comment from out of the blue from someone you’ve never heard of you will know why..if that is ok?

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