I’m an Oregonian born and raised in the great city of Portland (yes, airport with funky carpet). My father was born in the Big Apple and because of that, I have always had a fascination with New York City. This side of my dad’s family is also Sicilian, which is one of the reasons why I LOVE all things Italian (food, cars, clothes etc.). If I remember correctly, my first visit to New York was some time before an 8th-grade field trip to the east coast that included time in NYC, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. From then on, I traveled out here every other year, prior to permanently moving. I would switch off staying with my great aunt Rose in Jamaica, Queens or my great uncle Joey on the Upper West Side (UWS). I also have a great aunt and great cousin who reside in Long Island, but the city scares them, so I have only seen them a handful of times.
After working at WE Communications, the lead PR Agency for Microsoft as an Analyst for 6+ years, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to transfer out here to live with my great uncle Joey. So, I boarded a plane on October 20th, 2012 and landed in Newark, New Jersey with 3 large duffle bags in tow. And yes, I paid a fortune for extra baggage, $180 to be exact. Thankfully I could write my moving expenses off on my taxes the following year, which made me sleep better at night.
I ended up living with my great uncle Joey for less than a week before deciding that it would be better to live either on my own or with roommates my own age. However, prior to finding a place to live, I landed a job dog-sitting for a friend near the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I was thankful for this job because it was a good opportunity for me to see what it would be like to live on my own in an unfamiliar neighborhood. For those of you that are not familiar with Brooklyn it is worth noting that very few of the neighborhoods are dangerous, especially Park Slope, which is where I’m told that Ogilvy and Mather executives buy their brownstones because they overlook Prospect Park (Fun fact: Prospect Park was designed by the same people who designed Central Park).
My new life in New York started to get interesting three days into dog sitting due to the news that hurricane Sandy was on its way to rake havoc on the entire eastern seaboard. There was no time for me to escape, I had to be an adult and figure out how to setup for this potential disaster. Having lived on the west coast my entire life I had no idea how to prepare for the storm of the century. The three things that I was told to do by my mother was to fill the bathtub with fresh water, purchase tons of groceries and grab as much cash out of the ATM as possible. I am happy to report that my power never went out, but I was on the edge of the couch at times, wondering if I should go alone (or take the dog with me) to a nearby shelter due to a potential flood zone warning. I could go on and on about my first week, but instead, I’ll leave you with a famous photo from Time Magazine depicting what Manhattan looked like without power.