I hear you’re not technically a New Yorker until you’ve lived here for 10 years. With almost three years down, let’s just say I have a long way to go. I moved to New York City in September of 2018, and you can watch my moving vlog here. Here is a brief breakdown of my life in New York City (so far).
City of Dreams
When I was little, I used to watch so many movies that were based in New York City, which made me feel like I had to live there. After taking my first solo trip, I decided it was official… this was the place I needed to be.
I quit my job, moved out of my apartment, sold my car and found temporary living arrangements as I figured out my next move. Within a week, I found an apartment and packed my things to begin the 22-hour drive to NYC. If I ever did the drive again, I would extend it over more days to have an easier experience. Since I was the first person to arrive to my new apartment, I got the chance to really settle in.
A year later, I moved to a new apartment (which I’m in love with). I was finally starting to settle into the city and get my bearings on life. After moving, I quickly realized that this city decides your day for you. I remember waking up and thinking that I would get certain things done on my to-do list, but instead be met with the challenges of train delays, random closures and just the craziness of the city. The first few months taught me a lot about self-care and taking time for myself.
Although New Yorkers are seen as being in their own bubble, they are quick to help if needed. Non-New Yorkers fail to realize that compared to most places, walking in New York City is equivalent to driving in your car. It’s a New Yorker’s alone time to transition from one place to another while aiming to quiet the noise of the city.
COVID-19 in the City
Once COVID-19 hit, the energy of the city went away. If you’ve ever visited New York City, you’ll know this is an eerie feeling. What was once being the city that never sleeps became the city that was on snooze.
Businesses began to close per Governor Cuomo’s request, from nail salons to gyms and some restaurants. I began to take more walks through my neighborhood, looking at it differently and noticing more of the area. I began to appreciate the quiet moments and enjoy the beauty of my area. Safely socially distancing, I began to really get to know the people in my neighborhood, and even myself in the times alone.
COVID-19 brought out a different side of New Yorkers to be resourceful due to the challenges of closures. During my morning walks at the park, I saw more people exercising outside (but I really think people were just trying to get out of their small-ish apartments or away from roommates). And we can’t forget the banana bread phase of the pandemic.
Slowly, things started to pick up, I began going into the office for work via Uber and it was such a change. Every Uber I got in made their own dysfunctional separation from the front to back seat. Walking through Midtown and Uptown, the streets were deserted. Navigating NYC with the COVID-19 implications felt very unusual at first.
At night I would walk through my neighborhood, and like clockwork, 7 p.m. would be marked by the applause for healthcare workers. There were cow bells, whistles, signs… the works. Moments like these made me feel warm inside and reminded me of the community of the city. As regular civilians met the challenges of COVID-19, healthcare workers met it ten times as hard.
Things got even harder as another Black life was killed by police. With many people out of work and in rage from lost family members, shortages of finances and having enough, the world began to march. George Floyd brought forth a global uproar and support from around the world. As much as these times brought me the uncertainty of knowing if I would be the next killed by a police officer, I found support in my community from laughter, walks to discuss how we felt and taking action where we saw fit. Although the Derek Chauvin was found guilty, it doesn’t erase the other Black lives that were lost and continue to be lost to police brutality.
A New New York
After the year we’ve had with coronavirus, it’s a completely different New York and a different world. I think anyone who has even just visited New York can say it is not the same. Looking back on my first time driving through an empty Times Square, I couldn’t believe the once-crazy area was almost deserted.
Now that summer is upon us and vaccines are becoming more accessible, there has definitely been a pick-up in movement. However, it is definitely not the same New York. A few of my favorite neighborhood and small businesses have unfortunately closed for good. However, these changes have allowed me to discover new small businesses in the area.
But the heart and soul of the city is still alive and rising again.
While I don’t think this summer will be like past NYC summers, I do think it will be one to remember. What are you looking forward to during a New York City summer?
About the Writer
RaSheba is a lifestyle content creator originally from Miami, FL. She now resides in New York City. She shares bits of her life through her Instagram and writes about life in general on her blog rasheba.com.