20 years in New York City

November 17, 1999. Twenty years ago yesterday, I received the key to an apartment I'd never seen, packed a few things in my Subaru Forester, and moved to New York City. I was 21, already out of college a year, and I had no idea what was coming next.
I worked that holiday season as an elf at Macy's Santaland (because David Sedaris), and in January I got the only real job I ever had, which I was bored of by the following summer. Within a year, I had quit that job and driven to California twice. It was in Los Angeles that I was introduced to the world of live music, and I was fortunate that the Wetlands was still open back then when all I wanted to do was see more of this crazy music scene I'd just discovered. In the spring of 2001 I started going to music festivals, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I lived in that apartment on the Upper West Side for thirteen and a half years until ownership of the building changed and the new landlords bought me out of my rent stabilized lease. I still sometimes wonder if I should have stayed uptown. I loved living next to Central Park and near the Hudson River, but I'd always said I didn't want to live there for twenty years. Twenty years is a long time to live somewhere, especially for someone who moved a lot as a kid, and I wasn't going to go to court to save my lease if I wasn't going to stay at least another five years. So I moved to Brooklyn, and somehow six and half years has already flown by.
Twenty years. Two apartments. One home. In all the places I have traveled, all the nights spent on the road, all the days spent in my booth in yet another city or festival field, there's only one place that's ever been home.
New York City, I fucking love you. I love you for your endless possibilities, for the anonymity in the crowds, for the comfort to be anyone I want to be, and for the reminders that lots of people live all sorts of kinds of lives. I love you for the way the light sparkles off your buildings in so many different ways, for all the things there are to do in this city, for how I've always found new interests here as I've grown up, and for how there's always something to look at. I love you for inspiring me and also for kicking my ass when I need it (and sometimes when I don't). I love you for all the people I've met here, from fleeting encounters to long lasting friendships. New York, I love you for being you, but most of all, I love you for constantly being my home.

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