My New York Arrival
New York Magazine has this great feature in its current issue about noteworthy people’s arrival in NYC. I consider myself noteworthy, so I’m sure the invitation to take part in the article from NY Mag got lost in the mail. In any case, I shall share my story here.
I moved to NYC on Wednesday, November 17, 2004, however I didn’t know it at the time. I worked in politics and I had just concluded a failed U.S. Senate race in Missouri. Before my anticipated move back to Chicago, I planned on visiting my friend Lori in Philadelphia, and then my friend Dylan (and future roommate) in NYC.
I took the Chinatown bus up from Philadelphia. Dylan told me to find the Q train, but didn’t give directions through Chinatown. After many failed attempts at asking for directions (FYI – never ask for directions in Chinatown, everyone is either Chinese or a tourist), I finally stumbled upon the Q train.
It was late afternoon, the sun was just setting. The Q train came out onto the Manhattan bridge. The view of lower Manhattan took my breath away. There was no way I was going back to Chicago.
A week later I moved into a 4-bedroom apartment overlooking Prospect Park in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was a total culture shock for me. Here I was, a fat, gay, white, man moving into a predominantly black and Hasidic Jewish neighborhood with 3 straight guys from Little Rock, Arkansas. I wasn’t in Boystown anymore!
I took a job with a closeted gay man running for Manhattan Borough President, but didn’t really do anything at the job. I hated it, and the only reason I took it was because it paid well, I got my own office and it was in Midtown. For the first few months in NYC all I did was work and watch marathons of TV on DVD. Eventually I put down the pizza slice, discovered the benefits of living right on a park, and lost 100 lbs.
I owe NYC so much. Without it, I probably never would have lost the weight or have shifted from politics to comedy. NYC is my inspiration.
And now the American Express commercial can begin!