New York City is the city that never sleeps. That line is so cliche but at the same time, there has never been a truer sentence to describe a place. It’s a city that has captivated many – including me and Yann.
After living in Europe for three years, I felt like it was time to move on. I missed living in an English speaking country and interning at NIKE as a graphic designer made me realize that it’s a career path that I’m passionate about – I had a strong design portfolio (from both my Nike and freelance work) and I was excited to see where it would take me.
I loved the Netherlands and wouldn’t mind living in Amsterdam longer, but at the same time, I was ready to see more of the world. Culturally, the US is pretty similar to home, and many people compare Toronto to NYC, but at the same time, it’s really nothing alike. NYC is filled with so many career opportunities (especially in design), interesting people from around the world, and with so much to see and do, you really feel like you’re in the centre of the world. After living in scenic Europe, I really wanted the hustle and bustle of a metropolis.
So halfway through last year, Yann was able to get a transfer to NYC. After I visited him there in June I knew this is where I wanted to stay.
Funnily enough, growing up, if you asked any of my childhood friends, they would all say that I was pretty obsessed with NYC. I dreamed of being an artist and living in an apartment in Greenwich Village. While my travels have taken me to places in Australia and Europe since then, is a bit ironic that my current life isn’t that different from what I imagined so many years ago…
I haven’t posted about my NYC life at all since I moved here last summer, which is pretty crazy.
I’m definitely not neglecting this blog and I want to post more on a regular basis (for those who have Instagram, I do post there on a regular basis @michelleineurope if you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to!).
Now that I feel like my life has stabilized more, I definitely intend on posting regularly about my life in the city, as well as about some upcoming travels!
So what am I doing?
I’m currently working as a designer at a creative agency in midtown. I love the agency environment since it allows me the opportunity to work with tons of different clients. I’ve been with the agency for about three months, and have already worked with clients such as Timberland, Converse and Jaguar Land Rover, which have all been really great experiences.
I love the designers I work with, our sleek modern office, and the fact that I get to design and illustrate all day.
Sometimes the hours can be long, but hey, when you have hip hop music blasting around the office at all times and a view of endless skyscrapers when you look out the window, it’s not hard to stay motivated. What I love when I leave work late is walking into a sea of glistening lights at night.
Plus, Times Square is just around the corner! (Although as with all New Yorkers, the longer you live in NYC, the more your hatred for Times Square grows).
Where do I live?
During our first month in NYC, we lived in an Air BnB in Washington Heights (a neighbourhood north of Harlem) in an intensely Dominican neighbourhood. No one spoke English, loud music and sirens can be heard at all times, and there was always a collective of the strangest people partying on our porch, but hey, our apartment was complete with an authentic brick wall, so we were totally living the NYC dream.
After that, we toyed with living in the Upper West Side, but after feeling a bit scarred from having to take the always crowded and very unreliable subway lines uptown, we ventured east and moved to Long Island City (not to be confused with Long Island), an up and coming neighbourhood in Queens, that’s just one subway stop away from midtown, which is great for my commute to work.
Since it’s so up and coming, I love the fact that you can get a new, luxury apartment in LIC for much lower than anything in Manhattan. Our apartment is actually much older (built in the 1920s!) but I love the art deco architecture and the creepy fact that it used to be a women hospital. It was fully renovated two years ago into a residential building, so everything’s pretty much brand new. It’s the best of both worlds!
While I’d love to see more restaurants, bars and shops open in our neighbourhood, I do love that there are tons of art galleries around. As the L train closes for renovations for a year starting next year, I’m sure an influx of hipsters from Brooklyn will slowly move in to this part of town…
What are my favourite places in the city?
I love how different and diverse all the neighbourhoods are. I love SoHo for shopping (and the sample sales!), the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen for restaurants and bars, Chinatown and Flushing for cheap food, the Upper East Side when I want to relax at Central Park or go to the MET, and occasionally I’ll venture to Williamsburg when I crave cupcakes made by hipsters.
Stay tuned for some posts on my favourite things to do and eat in NYC!
What’s life like in NYC?
There’s always something new happening everyday! While life here is really different from my life in Europe, I do love how fast-paced everything is. My morning commutes, while short (it’s only about a 15 min subway ride from where I live to Times Square), feels like a battlefield of commuters running in all directions. It’s also what New York life is like – everyone’s constantly moving, whether it’s to check out the latest gallery opening, get brunch with friends, or moving up career-wise.
While I do miss the European ease of weekend trips to literally anywhere in Europe, I also love exploring the city with Yann and friends. While Americans are stereotyped to not take as many vacations as Europeans, it’s great that I have friends here that love to travel…as much as I love New York, it’s always nice to remember that the rest of the world still exists.
Now that I’m living in the US, I love that South America is close by, as that’s one continent I’ve yet to visit. I also want to revisit Australia, as well as plan an Asia trip.
With that said, stay tuned for some of my upcoming travel plans!
Have you guys been to NYC? What’s your favourite thing to do in the city?