Experiencing a new New York re-opening

New York, NY, USA

I first came into the city with only one pair of black boots, a bundle pack of blue reusable cloth masks, my waterproof jackets and windbreakers, an American Eagle fake wool oversized coat, and a suitcase filled with long sleeves turtlenecks and winter socks. It was in the peak of winter when I first moved in – the perfect timing in terms of rent prices as they plummeted in the pandemic. 

Adjusting to city life and living on my own was slow – with below freezing temperatures hushing the streets and rising cases temporarily closing down businesses, I didn't get the opportunity to explore and really experience New York as I had expected from first impressions when I first visited. But the city isn't what you'd expect from movies or TV shows; it's more than that. 

I haven't been active on my blog for a while, and that's because I'm still adjusting; I've only been living here for almost five months, but I've only just started to really see and experience New York as everything is beginning to open up again. There are many stories I wish to share since summer started, but for now I want to focus on writing about my perspective on the city so far. 

A view from the Highline – a former train route-turned-park along the Hudson River in Chelsea.

Since moving to the city, I got to meet the most amazing people (including the man I'm crushing hard on who I now call my boyfriend!) and through their perspective, I got to see a side of New York I've never seen. The majority of the people I've come into acquaintance and developed friendships with are all native New Yorkers - either born and raised or lived for decades. Some have lived in the projects, some have moved around all over the city, some have lived in the same apartment the whole time. I've even met people who just moved in, or have lived here for less than six months the same way I have. Either way, they all share a unique perspective of the city. 

Through spontaneous dates, brunches with friends, or just simple walks around the city - whether alone or with someone's company - I've come to know the city little by little through different lenses. I still haven't broadened the areas I've explored where I've only seen the East Village (where I reside), Greenwich village, Lower Manhattan, and parts of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. But since meeting so many new people, I've had the chance to branch out and explore parts of Astoria and Queens, Harlem, as well as deeper into Brooklyn like Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant. I have yet to explore the Bronx, which is where my boyfriend, Jesus – who has claimed himself as my personal tour guide – lives. 

One thing that New York City lives true by is that it truly never sleeps. Jesus and I sauntered around Times Square after a tipsy and musical night at a karaoke bar in Midtown. There were people playing music, eating, hanging out and smoking joints (weed is legalized in New York!); with the bright lights of screens and street lights, it felt like a chill evening perhaps close to midnight. It turned out to be almost three a.m! Since I've mostly lived in suburban towns, it felt strange that Times Square still felt lively even past midnight as if night and sleep didn't exist. We ended up talking and grabbing a small meal from McDonalds (which was busy for 3 a.m.) before heading home close to four. It was a night to remember and cherish. 

Times Square, New York City - 2:28 a.m.

My experiences so far in New York have been great – I've made many new friends from different backgrounds, explored amazing restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs, tried new cuisine, I've seen the most amazing views, visited cool art galleries and museums, immersed myself in nature at parks like Central Park, Washington Square, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens... and there's still more yet to come. 

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