Important life lessons I have learned this year: I’m not good at blogging.
Since I will most likely disappear for another month or so, here is a recap of October and our thoughts on this new city of ours.
On October 1st we moved into our apartment, a 4th floor walk-up in Park Slope, Brooklyn. All went well with the actual moving in. Just kidding. It was an incredible disaster from start to finish. The day featured all the things you’d want in a live-action movie – police, blood, plumbing explosions…and none of the things you’d want on move-in day. I’ll leave it at that due to my PTSD.
The first week we moved in was insane – we’d come home from work, unpack, try to fit most of our belongings in a tiny closet, give up, and attempt to cook all meals *including hard-boiled eggs* in a toaster oven, because in NYC you do not simply have the gas turned on in your apartment when you move in – that would not build character.
Also, during that week of chaos, my thoughtful friend Dylan decided to come to NYC. We were kind of lame (sorry Dylan) due to our bone-tired exhaustion, but we did him take him to our favorite neighborhood taco place (since he’s an anarchist that doesn’t like pizza).
We spent that weekend with Steve’s brother, Dave, and his girlfriend Lara, who were in town visiting – we met up with them on Saturday and Sunday and then they trekked to Brooklyn to see our new place and eat delicious brunch :).
As an early birthday surprise, Stove’s best friend T-Davis flew in and stayed 4 days with us. We took him all over the city where he got to experience the true glamorous New Yorker life including: riding into work with us on a packed subway, going to a restaurant specifically for 1 burger and then finding out the burger is sold out because they only make 15 a night and walking 10 miles each day which leads to feeling like you may die of exhaustion but not wanting to give up and sleep because there is too.much.to.do.here. We love you TD!
The next weekend the parade of visitor’s continued (moving to NY has made us quite popular) with my family who came down from Boston to see our new place and explore NYC.
One thing to note with all of these house guests is that we still don’t have furniture. Well, we kind of do, but we don’t have a couch because we got rid of our old one and we want to buy a couch that will actually fit through our door (high maintenance) which has proven quite challenging. More importantly we live in NY, and space is an abstract concept that people know exists somewhere in the world, but definitely not here. Which means when my sister, grandparents, niece and nephew come to visit, they sometimes have to sleep on the living room floor. We’re sorry family.
Neck pains aside, we had a great weekend with them that included walking the High Line, visiting the wild and chaotic Brooklyn playgrounds, walking through Washington Square Park and going to dinner at our favorite pizza spot for New York slices. I loved showing my family our new life and city, and am so happy that they were able to visit us (even if my sister insisted on comparing Brookline to Brooklyn the whole time – get over it PANDA – Brooklyn wins).
October 28th was our first true weekend of being alone in NYC / alone on a weekend since we moved out of our apartment in March. We have either been living with family or staying in shared AirBnBs or sublets with roommates for 6 months.
We spent this grand weekend celebrating a momentous occasion – Stove’s 30th birthday.
(I am going to pause here to say it’s insane that you are 30 – when we started dating you were 20 and it is madness to realize a full decade has already gone by together)
To properly celebrate his day, we walked along the Brooklyn Promenade, had some amazing ramen for lunch, popped over to Cobble Hill / Carroll Gardens area, had a drink (beer for Stove and kombucha *on tap!* for me) while playing the longest game of War ever (he won despite my numerous attempts at cheating).
We then got dressed up to go to dinner in Greenpoint, followed by drinks at a nearby rooftop bar and ended the night by people-watching drunk New Yorkers dressed up in costumes on the subway – magic.
On Steve’s actual birthday, October 31, I left work early to surprise him with his favorite dinner (Mexican-style burgers). Lily + Erin came over and helped us celebrate – because they’re awesome they showed up with soup and Vinho Verde (our favorite wine from Portugal) and Erin even dressed up for the occasion.
I also gave him his gift which I worked on for quite some time – a short video of our World Trip. I can’t post it because I used one of our favorite songs in the background and I don’t feel like getting sued over copyright infringement, but if you’d like to see it let me know :).
And that’s “all”.
Overall I’d say our love for Brooklyn and living in NY has been immediate. I feel at home here, in a way I didn’t feel in my previous homes. I don’t know why – maybe it’s because we are so busy and I don’t have time to think about it, or everything is too new and exciting so I’m overestimating my connection to it. But some things I noticed immediately are my anxiety has been almost non-existent here, and we also are no longer the hermit-home-dweller humans that we’ve been in the past.
Also, we adore our neighborhood. We live in a very family-friendly part of Brooklyn, so it may not be the coolest place for people our age, but it is perfect for us. We’re right by Prospect Park and we live between an organic grocery store, a Thai restaurant, a pizza-by-the-slice shop and a tea house. When you walk around the corner each street looks like it’s from a movie – so many beautiful brownstones with huge Maple and Oak trees lined out front. I don’t see us ever leaving.
And my absolute favorite part of our neighborhood is their weekly farmer’s market which is a 5-minute walk from our house. We’ve been going each Sunday and getting our weekly produce along with delicious snacks including Korean-scallion pancakes, goat cheese biscuits, homemade dips and fresh-baked breads.
And the best change of all since moving here is that we hired a dog-walker for Sydney, and he has miraculously helped with some of her worst habits. Up until last month, all of Sydney’s walks had to be done early in the AM (think 5:30 AM) or late at night, because she is aggressive with all other dogs. After 1 walk with this guy, she has made 90% improvement and even walks WITH another dog now. It makes us both so happy to see photos of Sydney with her old-lady friend, Tiki, walking the streets of Brooklyn. Conclusion? We should’ve moved to Brooklyn sooner ;).
To prove we’re not completely biased about living here, we have listed some of the challenges we often face:
- We strongly dislike having my car here – Stove has to move it twice a week for street sweeping (it’s a bit excessive NY) and sometimes it takes an hour to find a new spot (we have to keep my car because we go to Boston so frequently with the pets)
- We only have our 2 friends (whom we love dearly!). How do you make friends when you move to a new city? Suggestions? Is there a Tinder for platonic friendships? Should I join a Quidditch Club? TBD.
- Speaking of, we seriously miss our friends and family
- It’s realllll dirty. And there is pee on everything. Which made me all the more upset when Ollie did this:
- Our bathroom is comically small – T. Davis said it was like an airplane bathroom but I’m thinking an airplane bathroom might be bigger
- The amount of homeless people breaks my heart daily- we try to do small things to help like give a slice of pizza, donate whatever change we have, etc., but it’s never enough and it makes me feel helpless
- The mosquitoes. How is it possible that I am getting bit by mosquitoes every day in Brooklyn. More importantly, why are they still alive? It’s November. And why are the bites I get like 500x bigger than any other bites I’ve ever received? I’m convinced they’re radioactive, underground subway-dwelling mosquitoes and I hate them
To end what is definitely the longest post I’ve ever written, we want to talk about the food. Stove and I joked the other day that we moved to NYC to eat (honestly half the reason we traveled the world was to eat), but it’s not a joke at all because this is how we spend all of our free time and money.
To honor our love of eating here, I’m going *attempt* to keep a running list of all the restaurants we’ve tried on a separate page on the blog. Mostly as a way to document all of this for ourselves, but also because we’ve received so many fantastic recommendations and visited a plethora of restaurants already, and we’d love to share them with anyone visiting the city.
*Note: 90% of these places were suggested to us from my manager who is a wizard at food, bars and pretty much all-things-NYC – thanks Ivan!*
If you have any great NYC restaurant recommendations, please please please send them our way :).
Thanks for reading!