My New York needs

Given that I’m now more than halfway through my summer in NYC, the questions keeps coming up in conversations: Do you think you could live here?

It’s hard to get a sense of truly living here because a summer is so temporary and I’ve been aware of my deadline since Day 1, but I can say the answer is an overwhelming Yes. I don’t know that NYC will be my top choice of residence, but I would be more than happy making this my home. There’s so much to do, the city is beautiful, there are more interesting places to eat than I could ever get to, the culture is incredibly rich, there’s so much history, the people-watching is amazing … not to mention Broadway shows are kind of my favorite things in existence.

That said, there are two things I would need in order to be happy here. Two things I don’t have this summer.

1. An apartment with windows.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself this summer, it’s that I need natural light. I think the lack of it in my temporary place of residence is the biggest reason I go stir-crazy in my apartment. It doesn’t help that the place is tiny and drab and shared with three others, but I truly believe what bothers me most is that I can’t see out. Of our four windows, three look at a brick wall about four feet away, and the other is in the bedroom, where I don’t spend time unless I’m sleeping. So this arrangement means we need lights on at all hours of the day unless we want to sit in dimness, and it means I feel trapped and semi-claustrophic if I stay in there too long.

This whole arrangement has made it hard for me to feel comfortable in the apartment, and it’s made it hard for me to relax. It’s cramped and semi-dark, and I just need to get out. In a way, this has been a blessing in disguise because it motivates me even more to go out and do things every chance I get, rather than sitting around reading or on my computer, but this would not work for any long-term arrangement. I can handle small, but it will have to come with a big window that lets the sunshine in (yes, I just reference Hair).

2. Better access to Central Park.

I’m kind of a workout nut, and running is the best form of cardio for my body. There are many parks in New York, but nearly all of them are very small and usually crowded, so I’ve found that Central Park is by far the best place to run. (I also tried sidewalks, but again, crowded). So Central Park is where I head for my morning runs, but in my current location it takes 12 to 15 ¬†minutes to get there, and I’m not going to take the subway to go running. This means I’m fighting the people and cars in getting there and back for half of my workout.

So I want to live closer to the park. Because while I’m there I enjoy a multitude of paths to choose from, the company of other runners, the beautiful statues and landmarks along my runs, and the water fountains when I get thirsty. Plus, running in the park meets my need to have air and sun and space (see No. 1). If I lived closer to the park, I would regularly take a blanket and spend an evening relaxing with a book. Theoretically, I could do this in any of the parks, but Central is the only one where I could claim 50 square feet all to myself.

In fact, I should do that sometime soon. Even though I don’t live mere blocks from the park like I’d like, it’s a mere subway ride away.

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