The First 72 Hours in New York (With Photos)

In case you missed it amid all the holiday partying, I moved to NYC last weekend.

Here are some highlights of my first 72 hours as a New Yorker:

Dec. 16, the first night:
I successfully drove a 10-foot moving truck on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. My friends and I moved all my stuff into my apartment without incident, despite the fact that it looked like an obstacle course because it had just finished being repainted earlier in the day. Before the sweat had dried on our brows, we head up to the roof with one of my roommates to toast with champagne in rocks glasses. We take in the view of the Manhattan Bridge from my amazing rooftop.

After a quick shower at our separate apartments, we meet up with L at a Manhattan bar.

Around 1 a.m. (on the 17th, actually), my friend L and I were walking towards the subway and I spy a set of frosted glass doors lit from within by a warm, orange glow. “L, what is that place?” I say. We push open the door and find ourselves in an intimate, almost womblike jazz lounge.

Tillman's Bar & Lounge during its friends and family week, 2006

Tillman's Bar & Lounge during its friends and family week, 2006

However, the place is a little swanky and we’re not dressed for swank. A doorman tells us a private party is underway and we say that’s okay, we were just leaving. Another man appears and asks if he can take our coats. It becomes clear he’s the owner of the establishment. We say no, we don’t want to intrude. He asks if we would stay if he bought us a drink. As it turns out, it’s the friends and family night for the bar, which is not yet open to the public.

We stayed and enjoyed our round on the house. The place was seductive. The music; a mix of jazz, hip hop and classic R&B, was low and sultry and the drinks were sweet.

I plan on going back when I’m properly dressed and well-rested. As it turns out, Tillman’s Bar and Lounge opens tonight. And the owner got what I’m sure he wanted: free publicity.

We left after I realized I was actually falling asleep while having conversations. When I had to ask L, “Was I just talking about Brooke Burke’s boob job?” I understood that I had to go home. I see L off to the subway station, while I wait to hail a cab back to Brooklyn. I could have taken the train too, but I didn’t want to fall asleep and get mugged my first night in New York.

I realize there must be a trick to catching a cab downtown. It only cost $13 to get into Manhattan and these bastards want $50 to take me back. L told me not to tell the cabbies I’m going to Brooklyn until after I’m in the cab, but what am I supposed to do when they ask? I trudge to the train, on which I promptly fall asleep. Luckily, everyone else on the train at 3 a.m. is asleep too, but I do not miss my stop. I take a cab home from the train stop because I promised my grandparents I wouldn’t walk around after dark by myself.

NYC Lesson #1: When catching a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn, it helps to catch one headed uptown because cabbies do not expect you to be going to downtown. After you are in the cab, by law, cabbies have to take you to any of the five boroughs. It helps to tell them that you live just over the Manhattan Bridge (which is not a lie .. you actually do live directly on the other side of the bridge).

Dec. 17, the first full day:
After waking early to drop off the moving truck, I head out to grab breakfast. I wind up at Bergen Bagels and text message my best friend because Bergen has 22 flavors of cream cheese.

NYC Lesson #2: New Yorkers don’t f*ck around when it comes to their bagels. In addition to the 22 cream cheeses I counted, there are multiple other spreads with which to decorate several varieties of bagel. There are two breeds of New York bagels: the dense, chewy breed and the light, fluffy, just crispy on the outside breed. I prefer the latter. Bergen does them so well that after my first bite of plain bagel, toasted with scallion cream cheese, I almost give thanks out loud (my mouth was too full).

I return to my apartment, zombie-like, to take a much needed nap. When I arrive, both of my roommates are putting the apartment back together since the painting is done. I inexplicably feel the need to unpack the kitchen even though I still don’t have sheets on my bed.

It became very clear to me during the getting rid of stuff, packing and unpacking process what was important to me. I ripped up the contents of box of mementos from my last relationship that had been hiding in the attic. I sold or got rid of many bags of clothing, shoes and decorative crap. But I could not make myself part with my turkey roaster. WTF? Like I’m going to be making so many turkeys in NYC.

After all was said and done, I had no less than 15 boxes of carefully wrapped and padded kitchen equipment. Service for 12, heavy cookware, knives, a hand mixer, several sets of mixing bowls. The list goes on and on. Cookery amounted to exactly half of what I own. I spent about five hours unpacking and organizing the kitchen. The great thing is that my roommates told me during a previous visit to just throw out all their kitchen stuff because it was crap like dull knives and scratched pots and pans accumulated over the years from various other roommates. However, I did keep their pink-striped dishes. And I finally felt at home.

Dec. 18
I sleep. A lot.

That night, I give my cat a new toy mouse to play with because all of her other little toys are packed. I retrieve it from her to bring into my room and when I return to the living room 15 minutes later, she’s somehow gotten it from my room and is playing with it again. I lean down and grab it from her paws and . . . it moves. It’s alive!

It’s a real fucking mouse! I throw it down and it scampers under one of the couches. My cat and my male roommate work as a team to chase the baby mouse out from behind a drafting table. My roommate traps it and sets it free outside. I feel like it’s the episode of Sex and the City when Charlotte’s trying to figure out if the guy she just started seeing is a gay straight man or a straight gay man and what seals it is when he freaks out and squeals when he sees a mouse. Except in my situation, I already know the guy is gay and I’M the one freaking out.

NYC Lesson ..3:Even when 1) you move into a very nice building, 2) your roommate has only seen a mouse in your apartment one time in the three years she’s lived there and 3)management checks and exterminates for pests once a month . . . there will still be the odd New York welcome waiting for you in the shape of a warm, fuzzy little grey rodent.

Today: I am mostly unpacked and settled in. My awesome friends have all sent Christmas cards and packages to my new address. I’m set up on our wireless network, I’ve gone grocery shopping with the little red granny cart and my cat has yet to spot any more mice.

Current favorite NYC thing: The granny cart.

Current favorite NYC thing: The granny cart.

As of tomorrow, I have my apartment to myself for almost 10 days. What to do? I’m gonna make Christmas cookies, see the big ol’ Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, go ice skating and I will probably see Dreamgirls on Christmas day (depending on if I decide to use that damned turkey roaster or not).

I have an entire box of books that I haven’t had time to read until now. I haven’t watched TV in a couple months, so the cat and I will get some quality vegging time. And I finally have sheets (and a new featherbed and new pillows!) on my bed. Yep, it’s gonna be a very nice Christmas in NYC.

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