Day 390 (aka Christmas)

Merry Christmas everyone (who celebrates Christmas)!

This is actually the second time I’ve spent this holiday away from my family. The first one happened the year I moved to NYC. Since I arrived in the city at the end of November, I thought it kind of silly to pack up and fly home a few weeks later—plus it cost an arm and a leg. I spent the day wandering around Times Square, which was completely empty. Let me tell you; it was a sight to behold. I bet very few people out there have ever seen Times Square without thousands of people mulling about. It was actually a really special moment, because there was a light snow coming down and the weather was just perfect. It’s an image I’ll never forget. Though I followed that up with a visit to this random diner in Queens and the food ended up making me sick. So, I like to chalk the whole thing up as a wash.

But despite its flaws, I’ve decided to try for a similar adventure today. This afternoon I’m going to walk around Market Street in the Financial District, as I assume it’ll be rather empty as well. I then plan on picking out a new movie to see (I say new, because I ended up watching The Interview online yesterday) and heading to one of the city's many diners to chow down. Hopefully, my stomach will be more forgiving this time around.

Those are my plans for the day and I’m sure they’re far different than yours. I just ask that whatever you’re doing today—whether celebrating or not—enjoy it. Every holiday is unique and you should never let it pass you by just because things don’t go as planned.

Merry Christmas everyone,

-Steve-

Day Seventy One

The view from Pulaski Bridge.

Here’s a brief overview of my weekend — I saw The Lego Movie, which I think is an excellent film for just about anyone. In fact, I’d say the audience skewed more toward my age group than it did children. I was in awe of its animation style, as well as the film’s ability to incorporate references any adult would find funny. I followed that up with a trip to the always reliable Kellogg’s Diner and then hit the hay to catch up on some much needed sleep.

The next day, I visited the American Museum of the Moving Image. It’s a very unique space that celebrates the creation and realization of film, animation, gaming and cinematography. It’s such an interesting experience and I highly recommend it to anyone in a creative field. Of course, being down the road from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts doesn’t hurt it either.

Now, if you’ll allow me to change the subject, I’d like to talk about New York City for a bit. Actually, I’d say it’s more than a bit because this is part one of two. So, here we go:

The other night, I was trying to think of the best piece of advice I could offer anyone moving to NYC. While there’s so much I could say to a potential transplant, I think one of the most important things is—experience this city in moderation. Whether you’re here for a month, a year or the rest of your life, it’s easy to be consumed by the Big Apple.

Art Directors Club HQ.

When I originally moved to NYC, it was my first experience even being here. There was a lot to take in and over the course of the next four years; I had my share of ups and downs. For the first few months, I was absolutely petrified about going broke. I clipped coupons, only bought sale items and saved every dime and nickel I could find. While that fear eventually leveled out, I think it taught me another important lesson—always stay on budget.

Of course, there’s also an endless array of clubs, bars, concert venues and shops that make it incredibly easy to put yourself in debt. I’ll admit, I was guilty of buying a few things here and there that I didn’t really need. But I was lucky enough to have a good budget in place. I’ve seen people in tight spots, because they wanted so much, so quickly and the bills just continued to pile on. In the end, most of them either moved away or back in with their families. 

As time wore on, I become more comfortable financially, but the endless presence of the city itself began to weigh on me. If you’re a private person or enjoy the sound of silence, I wouldn’t even consider moving here. No matter where you go there are always people nearby. Don’t get me wrong; I still love it. I just think it’s important to have realistic expectations on what life is like here, because the media tends to glamorize the city with giant loft apartments, pristine parks and art deco office spaces. While these all exist, chances are you won’t see them unless you make six figures, are a cast member on How I Met Your Mother or recently landed a job with Google.

-Steve-