Hello NYC! I’ve been here for a couple of weeks, and most of my time so far has been spent looking for apartments while Mr. NTMG goes to work. So far it’s been pretty busy! Here’s the latest lowdown.
First step: apartment hunting. After a fruitless search, we finally managed to snag a place that was passable. I actually found NYC apartment hunting is actually easier than Tokyo. It’s totally legal and usual to discriminate against foreigners in Japanese real estate, so that made it more miserable. But NYC has that extra exciting element of “Can I walk here at night?” whereas that does not exist in Tokyo or Singapore.
In the end, we found an expensive place we like (close to subway, biggish) but in a boring neighborhood with an ugly street view. Ya just can’t get it all. I’ll have to use my design skills to make it workable, since I don’t want to be looking out over a graffitti’d alley everyday. We’ll be moving in later this month- it will be nice to get in my own digs where I can really relax!
Step 2: Furniture shopping. We have barely any, and what we do have is on a slow boat from Singapore and will not be here for a while. Need to get beds, desks and all the electronics. It’s our first chance to really get some non-cardboard throwaway furniture and maybe even buy a vacuum cleaner for the first time in my adult life. (To be fair, we had hardwood/marble/tatami floors in Asia, so vacuums weren’t really a thing. So my house never looked Hoarders-worthy.)
Step 3: Find studio space. This may prove tricky, but I’m willing to get creative. I’ve got a bit of time, since most of my nail art goodies are on a ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. I’m going to really try to curate my nail supplies and buy carefully- it’s easy to get carried away! I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until I had to pack it all up.
Step 3A: Get New York State nail tech license. Should be easy and hoping I just need to do the written test. If all goes well, I’ll be doing some part-time art work in some salons downtown as a roving nail artist. Probably a weekend project for customers who want crazy art. I’ll keep everyone posted on the when and where after it’s underway.
Step 4: ?? Profit?
First impressions: New York is dirty and kind of gray, and my first impression was that it looks like a zombie movie set. Getting dumped from tropical Singapore to wintry New York is not exactly ideal timing. I am keeping my fingers crossed for spring and seeing some green.
NYC has its charms, but the graffiti and trash is very jarring if you have been living in a place where it’s minimal. After a couple weeks in, it’s less visually slamming, but seems to be everywhere. It’s also weird to see repurposed buildings, like grand old stone banks that now house a CVS drugstore, or gyms in a church. Interesting uses of space here! Even though Tokyo is a much bigger city, NY feels much more urban. The streets are emptier here. In Tokyo, it’s crowded all the time, but here I went out for lunch and hardly saw any other people on the street. It was a bit creepy, actually. Maybe that’s where I get the zombie-movie impression.
Other things I’ve noticed as a Returning American:
Dogs. Dogs are everywhere. People bring their dogs in shops, in elevators, in offices…I like dogs but it’s a bit much. It’s all good until the dogs start arguing in the coffee shop. Not cool.
Yoga pants/tights. This is a thing. They are everywhere, from little kiddos to grandmas. I’m no fashion guru, but take a piece of advise: Check to see if they’re translucent before you go out. Your undies are showing. Unless that’s the point. Is it? Can anyone fill me in?
Phone headsets. People are walking along the street talking to themselves via headset. You can no longer assume that people having conversations with imaginary friends are crazy. These headsets are not popular in Asia, particularly Japan. I think it’s kind of alpha-male aggro and would not go over well in the Far East. But it seems everyone here is using them.
True crime shows: there are channels that show them all day long. I watched a bunch of them while totally jet lagged at 4AM. It makes me feel rather paranoid. It can’t be good for long-term mental health. But for now, I’m keeping an eye on Mr. NTMG and making sure he doesn’t secretly buy any life insurance on me.
Facial tattoos. Yigads! Do those teardrop tattoos really mean the wearer has killed someone? If so, there are a few murderers on the loose in my neighborhood, most recently Folding Guy at the Laundromat. Is he on the run from Interpol? Could there be a reward for his arrest? Can I collect it without getting killed? (Note: stop watching True Crime shows).
Just some random observations from a unique time in my life. I don’t think NYC will be the final stop and I actually anticipate another move to Asia in the future, but it’s good to be back.