Last night, I went to a wine bar with my friends Meagan and Julie. What made the evening particularly special was that the wine bar, which opened maybe a year or two ago, is nestled right next to the apartment building where I lived when I first moved to New York City, and the girls I was drinking with were the people I lived with. Here we are, nine years later, still together.
When I was 24 years old, there was nothing I wanted more than to live in New York City and work in magazines. Having recently graduated college, I was living at home, working odd jobs seven days a week for little pay, feeling bored and restless. We were in the midst of a recession, September 11th had damped the spirit of the country, and I was ready for my life to begin.
I was obsessed with the new web site called Ed2010, which was essentially a job board for magazine wannabes like me, and one day, someone posted a message that went something like this: "I am new to the city, and I want to work in magazines. I was wondering if anyone was in the same boat and wanted to meet for a drink to swap stories." A few girls replied, including myself. This was before internet dating was the norm, but for some reason at the time, it seemed perfectly reasonable for me to get on the NJ Transit for one hour into the city to meet up with a bunch of strangers.
This random meeting proved to be quite magical for me. I still can't believe how well it all worked out. One of the girls, Cheryl, worked in the marketing department at a magazine and helped me secure an internship there a few days a week. Then, another girl, Kate, who never came to our regular get-togethers but was on the mailing list, ended up referring me--sight unseen--for an advertising assistant job--which led my first magazine job. And then it was through this group that I met Julie, an entry-level magazine editor from Michigan, who was living in Brooklyn. Julie mentioned her roommate was leaving the city, and she was hoping to get a place in Manhattan. Julie also knew a girl named Meagan who she met at the gym who would be a potential roommate, and perhaps I could join them? I met Meagan at another night out, and after it seemed like we would all get along okay, we all decided to become roommates.
We settled on a converted three bedroom apartment on East 50th Street. Renting an apartment in New York City is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to put a tremendous amount of money as a down payment--plus pay a hefty fee to your broker at the same time--but you are forced to make a decision whether you want an apartment minutes after seeing it. Apparently, the competition is so fierce, it might be taken off the market an hour later. (Or at least, the overpaid broker makes it seem that way). The whole thing came with a lot of nervousness and anxiety, especially for a broke and naive 24-year-old like me, but somehow it was all made easier dealing with it alongside these two strangers, my new roommates, my new friends.
Looking around the table last night, I couldn't help think about how far we've come and how overjoyed I am in that these girls are still in my life.
After drinks, we went to Buttercup Bake Shop, a favorite old neighborhood haunt. Julie and I reminisced how we used to go to Crunch gym on 59th St and then pick up two cupcakes on the way home.
For good time's sake, we did the same thing....only without the whole gym nonsense.
The good old days...Meagan, Julie, and me at E 50th Street.
The three of us (and Leo!) at Julie's wedding last May. Still crazy after all these years...