Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reading Netherland / Joseph O'Neill and thinking about New York

It's been just over 6 months since I moved from Brooklyn to Leiden.
My first months were occupied with settling in, being confused and generally detoxing from 13 years in the NYC area. It's been hard to accept that I don't need to fight all the time to move along. It's not that people are nicer here; the whole situation is nicer, less competitive.
I spent some time feeling sad but really, my greatest feeling has been one of relief. In New York, Craigslist was in daily use, if I wasn't looking for a new apartment, I was searching for new jobs or contemplating more education. (I'm not even going to mention relationships in NYC. Ha.) New York was about constant change, however oxymoronic that might be, and as it was exhilarating, it was also very stressful. 

New York 1996-2009

Boroughs lived in: 4 (including Jersey City, I mean, come on.)
Manhattan>Queens>Brooklyn>Jersey City>New Brunswick>Jersey City>Brooklyn
Apartments lived in: 12
Percentage change in rent from first apartment to last: 300%
Number of professional jobs: 5
Percentage change in salary from first professional job to last:  120%
Estimated number of all types of jobs, professional, freelance, etc: 30+
Weirdest job: Training a forensic dentist to use Adobe Photoshop
Second weirdest job: Scouting child models for a Gap compaign ad
Random fun job experience: Flying in a helicopter over Manhattan
First bike purchased: 2001
Number of bikes owned: 3
Number of bikes stolen: 1
Number of times hit by taxi: 1
Number of people I hit while cycling: 0
Average number of times yelled at per day while cycling: 1+
Most common yell: Get off the road, use the sidewalk!
Riding on the sidewalk in NY: Illegal
Average daily commute: 1 hour 
Longest commute: 2 hours  (by train, New Brunswick>Manhattan)
Best celebrity sighting: Patrick Stewart on the subway
Worst celebrity sighting: Almost hitting Jon Stewart with my bike as he pushed his children in strollers to the park. Sorry!

And BTW, Netherland / Joseph O'Neill is an excellent book so far ( I haven't finished it yet). The narrator is a Dutch man living in New York so I appreciate his occasional Dutch phrases and his detailed descriptions of life in Chelsea. The Cricket references? Tolerable...


  1. Miss you Alicia! Love your accounting of time in NYC. Your bike is safe in our basement.

  2. I miss you too!! I love seeing photos of Francis and his accounting:) Thank you for keeping my bike safe.

  3. I know the feeling despite having only spent 9 years in NYC. Now that I'm in Denver, I wonder how I put up with so much. Some people like that high energy city and that's cool. It's not for everyone.