Friday, March 7, 2008

How To Live an Adventurous First Year in New York City (and Some Blogs that Guide You There)

Being a writer and blogger has been my lifeline in this town of total strangers, moving to New York City a year ago as I did desperate to come alive after, to quote a friend, "falling asleep in my life." Doing so jobless, in mid-life and knowing all of 5 people, blogging has allowed me access to all persons creative and cool, those intimidating folk who I'd be too shy to approach otherwise. Despite being a vibrant redhead with a high 'EQ' and a dollop of sass, fear makes talking to strangers about as appealing as chewing dirt, and makes me just as nauseous.

To survive in New York City, you must walk through fear. So despite its panic attack fuel, this past year I've interviewed celebs; reviewed dozens of plays by invitation; chatted up diverse likes of writers, comics, historians and Nobel prize winners; snuck in at the last moment to popular TV tapings and swanky cultural events; auditioned for cool voice over work; returned to my acting roots as an extra in an MTV promo; approached lit agents; started two, three, a dozen business ventures; handed out Dove chocolate in Bryant Park to make a quick buck; organized the home office of an heiress; had the time of my life temping at a major tv network; obtained clients eager for my interior design eye and was inspired to enroll in Parsons; been approached by a rep for my jewelry creations; partook of a hearing at City Hall for my historic block; started collaborating on a play with an admired playwright; interviewed for jobs glamorous and bizarre; and basically done everything I can to stay out past my bedtime. I've also had the pleasure of being connected with other writers and blogging observers of life, in this town and beyond. Recently meeting talents (and occasional NewbieNYC readers) from the UK and Japan have made me feel culturally broadened and even worldly.

I've had my share of heartbreak too, as only being open to life on the edge can allow. Tried the 'Sex in the City' version of dating with a smooth entertainment dude, only to find out over brunch with friends that he was also seeing another redhead at the table (what are the odds?) I got oh-so-close to jobs that were the culmination of dreams but sadly weren't meant to be. And most devastatingly, lost a friend to the horrors and torments that are part of the tragic underbelly of New York City.

But then I moved here to be open to life as never before, good-bad-horrific. So if there is any advice from this newbie, it is that this town is what you make of it. Get out and live as only this island allows-full on, frightening, but oh-so deeply fulfilling and fabulous. Falling asleep in your life here is just not an option.

NYC Blogs to Live By: The city is filled with opinionated, whipsmart writers, all just ruffled enough under their feathers to post honest, full-on rants on the city. Let these be your guides to NYC survival of the fittest. Be it the gentrification of town down-and-outs as frequently bemoaned on Hoover Factory (also a hipass music commentary) or the whimsical camera lens look at cityscapes on New York City Daily Photo, you've got blogs that assess the city to match any mood, 'tude or curiosity. Some of my other faves include: Walking Off the Big Apple, a guide to footpower 'round about town; NYC Taxi Photo and its unique take from a yellowcab window perspective; Miss Adventurous and her fresh-as-a-daisy view on life in NYC; Lost City and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York for their cynical keeping tabs on the bulldozers; Becoming a New Yorker's coming of age tales; Overheard in New York and all its 'only in NYC' quotes; and the mother-of-all-city-blogs Gothamist.

13 comments:

Teri said...

Newbie, You are so sweet. It's so nice to have such blogger company in the big city. - Teri, Walking Off the Big Apple

hooverfactory said...

Big ups on your first year of NYC residence and NYC blogging, and here's to many more of both.

Miss Adventurous said...

This post is TOTALLY in the spirit of my whole New York endeavor! Not to mention, your blog has been a consistent resource of info and entertainment for me. I gotta say thanks. I just gotta.

Congratulations on your year!

Lucky 327 said...

Oh thanks so much for mentioning me. If anybody asks where to find adventure, i'll send them your way.

Clueless Cat said...

GREAT post! I am actually starting an NYC blog soon (about the upcoming move in September) and will definitely be linking to this post, and your blog. ;)

Thanks for all the links, and it sounds like you've definitely had quite a year! It just makes me even more excited to move...can't hardly wait. ;)

Ming the Merciless said...

Bravo, Mary!

You are no longer a newbie in the city. You are a New Yorker.

BNY said...

Thank you for this post ... and for blogging it out with us everyday ... it's an honor.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for all the info! I can't wait to go back and read about all your adventures. I moved to NYC 1.5 years ago and am still getting the hang of this place. Of course, it would help if I went out more!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey there, newbie. Look forward to becoming a grumpy, super-honest overly-helpful New Yorker. You are well into understanding why people don't leave this amazing city with all the over- crowding, noise and smells. I moved here 15 years ago from Toronto and never looked for another place to live. Why go anywhere else when everything is here in abundance.

Christopher Purnell said...

I don't mean to change subject or ride on the coattails of a fellow blogger, but I am the president of EZ Furniture Assembly & Interior Innovations and launched a new blog a few months ago called "NYC DWELLERS & INTERIOR INNOVATION" I started the blog off by just writing about assembling furniture, Ikea, etc but now I am looking to make some changes for real city dwellers such as a chat room, a free classified section where people can sell household goods,a hot spot section, and a list of flea markets and trinket stores where one can a city dweller is sure to find a great treasure or deal. I need some input, ideas, feedback as what to d. If you want to help with the blog that would be great. Please email me at nycfreeclassifieds@yahoo with any ideas or comments.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a little late, but for some odd reason I decided to see if there were any blogs by a person new to New York/Manhattan. As a stereotypical jaded New Yorker I felt like seeing things from someone else's perspective. You've kept me reading for the better part of the last hour. Thanks! Keep it up.
btw, I'm a Queensman so I still get surprised half the time I wander off the beaten path in Manhattan. Many of us still could use some NY education :)

The Girl Next Door said...

So true! As someone who blogs about her struggle with making NYC feel like home (homesweetnyc.blogspot.com), I was really inspired by this post. Keep up the good work and come visit some time. :)

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