My first time in New York City was on May 1, 1999.
I had just finished my second year at the University of Michigan, and my college girlfriend invited me to visit her childhood home: a two-bedroom apartment in an upstairs apartment on the Upper East Side. Since I grew up in the Michigan area and had a swing in the back of our house, this made sense very much foreign.
I was terrified of Manhattan. I’ve been to cities in the past, but New York I feel like something else. The streets were crowded with people and dogs and cabs and bodegas. I felt like a kite; I loved everything about this. Two years later, after finishing college and saving money, I moved to New York City in October 2001.
It is funny to remember the last 20 years of your life. Have you ever tried? Here are some of my friends…
October 13, 2001 – A friend and I move into a small apartment. He takes me to the bedroom and I sleep in the living room. The sofa is folded and there are roaches and I eat spaghetti every night for dinner. But, NYC, has started.
October 15, 2001 – First day on Cosmopolitan Magazine. My job is to stop good-looking men on the street and to ask them sexy questions. “Not just an ordinary beauty,” my editor tells me. “It has to be so beautiful that readers stop turning the page.”
December 12, 2002 – Questions on Vogue. Have a tag out of my shirt. Not finding a job.
August 2002 to August 2003 – A Year That Never Tried to Speak His Name. I do not know what to do with my life, I am enrolling in law school in NYU. I buy books with a broken heart. I find it hard to get along with my classmates and I tend to be rude and strange. My dorm room is downstairs, and the window looks out over the food trailer on Broadway; smells hot dog water 100% of the time. I’m going through a year-long divorce with a college girlfriend and my heart is in the blender.
August 15, 2003 – Decide to leave law school. Get three jobs to pay off debt. There has never been a happier time.
September 8, 2003 – Funny that we are no longer in Kansas at the moment: I am now working for a retail company, and my boss lost a $ 300 note for Hermès somewhere in the morning. He returns to the office, very concerned, and asks me to investigate immediately. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack – except like an orange pen in Soho. (Spoiler: I got it.)
September 24, 2003 – In the evening, I teach Kaplan’s LSAT. In one classroom, I noticed that one of my students was taking pictures of me instead of taking notes. He asks me if I can teach him outside of the classroom, but instead of meeting in Kaplan, he tells me to have a bar. He is wearing a shirt and tie. We start dating.
April 12, 2004 – Get a bike!
September 14, 2006 – Relocation to a third-bedroom apartment with a West West roommate. Catch 17 mice in three months. Find the cat.
November 25, 2006 – Three years later, my boyfriend and I separated. It’s funny and clever, but I don’t think it will last long. We met at a restaurant for the final farewell, and he told me that he had a ‘farewell gift.’ It’s an iPod, and when I turn it on, the text says, “You’re so wrong.”
December 13, 2007 – Winter is dark and lonely.
January 1, 2007 – Start a blog to confuse me so I don’t feel sad. My brother laughs that I should call it “Cup of Jo.” I say.
February 14, 2007 – Worst Valentine’s Day. My jeans are soaked in a mound on the way home from work, and I wonder if, for me, love isn’t in the cards.
February 25, 2007 – Meet a handsome young man wearing glasses at a party. Hmmm.
February 27, 2007 – Submit a dice and email me.
March 2, 2007 – Dating a person with glasses. Have a first kiss on Bleecker Street. Passersby shout, “Look, lovers!”
February 14, 2008 – I quit my job at a boutique company to focus on personal writing and advertising. Ask people who wear only one color and people who wear crazy clothes.
August 11, 2008 – Launch a job at Glamor Magazine.
October 31, 2008 – Dating with a glass boy !!!
December 30, 2008 – Ride a bike with my brother to J.Crew at Rockefeller Center. Try wedding dresses. Choose this.
August 28, 2009 – Available.
September 15, 2009 – Walking home from dinner, I stopped near CVS in West Village. At the lark, I buy contraceptives. That’s fine.
April 2, 2010: Getting pregnant in NYC is fun. People in the streets shout, “Hello, Mommy!” and motorists think, “Seven months? Eight months? ”After about two years, I tell Glamor that I will stop focusing on the baby and the Cup of Jo.
May 25, 2010: Son Toby arrives. Everything changes.
April 1, 2013: Tobes begins to speak; he becomes funny.
July 5, 2013: Son Anton arrives. After meeting his brother, Toby thinks, “I want to see him again sometime.”
September 17, 2013: I cried at the gym because raising two small children is hard. The angel’s guardian mother walked over, hugged me and told me it was easy.
January 1, 2014: It’s so easy.
August 1, 2014: Family relocation to Brooklyn. The first time Alex sees our house is the day of the move. (I went to the show myself, and the rooms were rented out quickly so we had to make a quick decision.) Fortunately, she loves that.
From then on, we bought a house, saw a third child, muscled through the hair, stayed locked out, parties thrown away, lived in anxiety, celebrated birthdays, and did all sorts of random things in the crazy town we love so much.
Last week, I went to East Village to see my friend Reagan. “Walking in town is a joke,” I told her. “I always see a boy riding a skateboard with his dog, or a little girl playing harmonica on the side of the road.” Laughing and shaking his head, Reagan admits: “In New York everyone is a great movie.
New York, I love you. Here are the next 20 !!!
PS 8 crazy stuff of NYC, with our Brooklyn family home.
(Christine Han top photo. Brooklyn Bridge Park photo for boys and me by Nicki Sebastian. Last photo by Julia Robbs.)