New York

As a kid I wanted to live in a cabin in the mountains. Or better yet, inside a tree in the mountains. Or a cave in the mountains. The important part was the mountain part.

A few of my friends wanted to visit New York City, but to me it sounded lame. A giant city? No way. Give me tree-covered slopes, lakes, rivers, and grassy meadows! The farther from civilization the better. I will hunt deer and fashion my own clothing from their skins! My teeth will be my only scissors until I find obsidian with which to fashion my own tools! I will also grow a huge beard, because that’s what mountain men do.

And then I became a computer nerd. (A beardless one, despite the programmer grooming standard.)

While 10-year old me would be disappointed that those dreams never came to fruition, 31-year old me is quite happy that they didn’t. First, I’ve never made it past the 2 week mark with facial hair—it’s way too itchy. Second, I never would have seen things like this. Also, I’d never have seen Doctor Who. Tragedy of tragedies.

Anyway, point is that it came as a bit of a shock when I accepted a job offer in New York City back in 2008. I’d thought of moving to Denver, Seattle, and D.C., but still had a mental block on NYC from when I was young. I’d never had the smallest desire to visit the city, let alone live there. This approximates my view on NYC at the time.

I figured I’d stay a year.

I moved at the tail end of autumn and while the fall colors were pretty, I found winter in the city to be somewhat miserable1. It was cold, expensive (okay, this isn’t unique to winter), I didn’t have a car anymore, I couldn’t go skiing (not that I went that often in Utah, but the option was gone), and I got lost a lot. I have a terrible sense of direction.

I didn’t really begin to enjoy it until spring rolled around and I got out more. Turns out seeing and experiencing a place is rather important to the liking of it. Mind blown, right? I also got out of the city and explored some of the countryside. By the end of that first summer I was hooked. I was coming up on a year and had no desire to leave.

So I didn’t.

I stayed. For 4 years.

I won’t attempt to wax poetic about what makes NYC a great place to live, as any attempt I could make would fall far short of the reality.

I will say, however, that I stayed, in part, for the food (and desserts), for the parks, and for the buildings; the long walks, the people-watching, the diversity, the smells (the good ones), and all the friends I made. I met my best friend in the city.

New York City may not be a secluded, wooded valley in the middle of a mountain range, but it is exciting and perhaps even a bit dangerous. Lots of beards, too.

Plus, the food is better.

  1. Subsequent winters were also cold, but my dislike of the first was mostly due to my attitude.

New York