The last day of February means one thing: Six months until I move.
That’s what this date has meant for most of my adult life. I thought I would be sticking around longer, but it turns out that the siren call of the road is just too enticing. Even New York City couldn’t silence it.
For two and a half years, New York City has been my home. It is the second longest I have lived anywhere in my life, and I’ve lived in 10 states and a dozen cities. If you’re living in Omaha, or Dallas, or L.A., and you’re thinking NYC is overrated, well, you keep telling yourself that. New York is the best city in this country, and I feel pretty confident I have the perspective to say that.
The problem for me is, I can’t be sure New York is the greatest city in the world; not yet. So now I have to go find out.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been drawn to the Big Apple like the swallows (and salmon) of Capistrano. Every move, every new city, was just a scenic detour before reaching my inevitable destination.
And then, in September of 2014, I finally made it here.
Three years after that, I’ll be leaving.
No question, this will be the hardest departure of my life. New York City has been a city of stories. Sad, funny, confusing, erotic, revealing, disheartening; invigorating.
Even before I moved here, I knew that I could never hope to explore all of this city in a year. That’s why it always had to be the last of my 10 cities.
When I reach the end of my third year here, I’ll still have only scratched the surface. I hope to pack in as many sights and sites in these last six months that I can, but there is never enough time.
It’s not that I want to leave. I just have to. There’s too much of this world that I have yet to see, and that is a compulsion I simply can’t ignore.
Once I leave New York City – once I leave the US – I don’t know when I’ll return again. It may turn out to be merely a brief excursion; it could take up the rest of my life. Whatever comes next, a part of me will remain here, in Brooklyn and in Manhattan; in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy; in Greenwich Village and Chelsea; in Central and Prospect Parks; in the only home I ever wanted.
It’s a cliché, I know, but that doesn’t make it any less true:
I love NY.