Farewell, NYC

Hey World,

Last night I slept on a towel with my two remaining pillows and a thin blanket, and fell asleep for the last time in the only apartment I’ve been able to call my own. The lights from 5th Avenue and the Harlem River and the Armory bathed over me, and the hum of my air conditioner which I’ve become so accustomed to puttered out cool air for one final night of rest. It was peaceful; it always is.

This morning I woke up with the sun, and set to work removing all traces of my life lived in this space before my 9:30AM move-out appointment. Listening to Childish Gambino on repeat, I swept and swiffered, I scrubbed and wiped, I made trash runs and donation runs. And after hours of work, my apartment finally looked exactly like it had before I started – not mine. Empty. Ready for a vision.

Moving out was anti-climatic. I handed over a key and walked out the threshold of my door, then the elevator, then the lobby, then the outer gate. It was nothing but a forward motion. Luckily I had a number of very nice men help me carry my bags, hail a taxi, haul it onto the bus. No tears, no one waving, no one really caring- myself included.

For the 11 months I was here in New York City, it was never mine. Let me correct that: we were never one another’s – we simply cohabitated with a simple nonchalance. Back in October I began imagining a NYC stint that lasted less than the 2 years I expected; I applied to fellowships that would allow me to learn elsewhere. Then in January I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t stay regardless, and started really chasing an exit strategy. Of course, one came, and I’ll be starting a new chapter two weeks from today.

Yes, the food in NYC is great. The transportation is rather efficient. The community is eclectic. There’s culture and personality. There’s street art and performance and government and rules and tourists and cops and views of architectural achievement. For many, it is a place of opportunity, of expansive choice, of dreamers and flourishing dreams. It was the site where I came into contact with some fabulous individuals, whose friendships I hope will transcend the borough-limits and stretch across continents and decades.

But there are also the remnants of a broken society on every sidewalk – shards of glass, smears of poop (species unknown), discarded gum and stains of urine and rain and air conditioner drips comingling in the cracks. Broken dreamers sit on stoops and beg on trains. Dreamers are forced to move from their homes as it gentrifies, as jobs leave, as opportunity shifts to another. Strangers don’t speak to one another, don’t make eye contact, don’t fall into stride as they walk. Acquaintances and friends allow plans to fall through, or not even be made at all. Bubbles are put up in order to protect from possible bursts. People slip into anonymity and become impenetrable – myself included. It was a feature of myself I loathed from the moment I embodied it.

It wasn’t a way to live. This City could never be home for me…because it never was.

Farewell, NYC.

Let us go our own ways now, smiling as we reflect on the many ways that we’re both better off.



  1. Hey Marisa! You've hit the nail on the head with this post about city life. Exactly how I'm feeling about London at the moment. Really enjoyed reading through your posts. You're a great writer and a girl on a mission! Living life to the full. It's made me realise that I can have a look into making a move as well :)

    1. Thanks Irem - I really appreciate you stopping by and reading through my posts! I think it's healthy to keep moving; I hope you find yourself somewhere that makes you happy! xoxo