When I went to college in New Orleans, I had to adjust my mindset. There are people who aren’t from New York City –– how does that even work? To avoid sounding like a bratty kid with a limited worldview, I understood theoretically that people come from other places—it’s a big world. But New York has everything. To quote Alicia Keys, “There’s nothing you can’t do.” So, why not live here? That’s why, instead of being fully charmed by the fabulous New Orleans to stay in Louisiana like many of my classmates, I moved back to New York after graduating. I came home.
I never appreciated how lucky I am to be from NYC until I started living here as a semi-adult. The city where people are most surprised to hear you are from New York is New York. “No one is really from New York.” I’ve heard that one many times. Yes, I am from New York City. And as of right now, I get to live here rent-free.
|Living rent-free in NYC is a rarity –credit|
It’s no secret that New York is an absurdly expensive city. Castles in Norway cost less than a townhouse in Greenwich Village. Living at home allows me to not have as many financial concerns. I’m free to take more creative jobs that excite me and not worry about needing to take less interesting but higher paying ones.
The fridge is stocked with not just food, but fairly nutritional food. When I lived on my own at college I could not be trusted to keep healthy snacks.
|It doesn’t get much better than this –credit|
I’m not crammed into a small apartment, but have a decent amount of space in a two-story Queens house with a backyard, albeit a postage-stamp-size one. As a native New Yorker, I’ve been riding the subway on my own since I was 13, so I’m nearing an expert-level commuter.
But, I don’t have that moving-to-New-York experience. That wide-eyed caravan of friends all relocating to the same Bushwick warehouse from central Ohio will never be a part of my life. I’ll never be overwhelmed upon seeing the skyline for the first time. My romantic side laments that. I’ll have to move to some other photogenic city to have that experience—drive past tall palm trees in a convertible while wearing a scarf over my hair in Los Angeles or something.
Then there are the less sentimental, more tangible side effects to living at home in New York City. Having a private life is impossible. Mostly for safety reasons, my parents want to know exactly where I am and when I’m coming back home. It’s easy to feel stunted living in the same bedroom I grew up in; my childhood toys and books surround me while I sleep.
|Re-living childhood in NYC isn’t so bad –-credit|
Sure, I technically live in New York City. But I more accurately live in an un-cool residential neighborhood in Queens. Getting to the city takes about an hour. There’s only one subway line near me—the J, a train many New Yorkers aren’t even aware exists.
Here’s where I get sentimental again. I feel so completely grateful that I get to live in New York with my family. When I finally move out, it will probably be to some crappy Brooklyn apartment, and I’ll take comfort in the fact that a home-cooked meal is only a subway ride away.
|Queens is my home.–credit|