So, in what felt like no time I had arrived at my final night in NYC. I honestly can’t say that I had an overwhelming urge to stay longer; as much as I’ve enjoyed the city, I think I’ve had about as much as I can handle for now.
I had no solid plans for my final night. I had spoken to a couple of people about hanging out, so I ended up heading into Manhattan and after searching the streets for an appropriate place to write, settled on a Starbucks, before heading out to meet Bridget, one of the awesome actors from the Windmills script reading, and her equally cool boyfriend Sanjay. Several beers and great conversations later I stumbled out into the night, unsure of my destination, so I just wandered the streets, taking everything in one last time. I’ve never been anywhere like this city; some of it feels so new, some so archaic and some just so rundown and dirty and worn out. Often all three exist within the same block. I feel like of all the millions of movies made about Manhattan, they tend to emphasize only one aspect; it’s either gritty and filthy, shiny and new or cool and bohemian. All those things exist, but it’s a messier place than fiction would have you believe.
Eventually I heard from Dan, who was playing a 1am gig down in the Village. At first I didn’t plan on going as I had a flight the next day, but prevailing attitude of “fuck it” meant that I very quickly changed my mind and was soon in the Village, getting a bit more of an idea of the bohemian musician’s life that my old friend lives. From the cool little bars to the tiny apartment to the vibrant nightlife, it felt like exactly how I’d wanted my life to be for so long, ever since I first read On The Road as a teenager and dreamed about being that cool and adventurous one day. But, being there in the middle of it I realised that I am not, nor have I ever been that cool and adventurous, and I’m actually okay with it. I’m happier to appreciate from a distance than actually live that life, so that’s exactly what I did on that last night, wandering the electric excitement of those streets up to Dan’s gig which was, of course, excellent. There is something so awesome about the two of us, both leaving school at the same time with every intention of becoming struggling artists, now meeting up in New York years later where our early success has brought us. I hope we can both keep riding this wave forward, I really do.
I guess that’s been the big thing about my time in New York; despite so many people telling me otherwise, I do not feel like this is a place I would ever want to live or work. My feeling toward the city is ambivalent; parts I love, other parts I despise and after ten days here, separated from the thrill of the Emmys, I found myself wanting to get back to Melbourne. But for all of that, something feels different now. It’s like I’ve crossed a threshold professionally, and stepping out on to the deck at 3am last night for one last look over the expanse of the city, it feels to me representative of what I hope will turn out to be the transformative time I think it is.
At this point anything could happen. A year could pass and I still could be more or less where I am now. Nothing is set in stone, no contracts have been signed, no clear path forward has presented itself. But things feel like they’re changing, and that, I think, counts for a lot.
See you later NYC. It’s been a time.
Writing words about writing words.