Friday, August 8, 2008

Eight years ago, August 8th, 2000

Today the world looks to China, the beginning of the 2008 Olympics, and the cool date of 08-08-08. But my mind is totally elsewhere. That's because eight years ago today I made my move to this great city, on August 8, 2000. At the time I had just wrapped up three and a half years of hard work as a photographer for the Monroe Evening News in Monroe, Michigan. It had been my first real job and I still have fond memories of those post-college years of 1997 to 2000.

Logistically, I think the moment it hit me that I was moving was when I sold my car at an auto auction on the night of August 7th. At that point I had already sold off all my big stuff: furniture items such as my couch, coffee table, kitchen table and chairs, my bed, dresser, lamps, television, etc. And pretty much everything else, my books, clothes and a bunch of boxes, had already been loaded into a U-Haul. I remember going to get some lunch the next day and having to drive that clumsy, loaded U-Haul around town to get all my last-minute things done. It quickly became apparent that I just needed to hit the road that night instead of waiting for the next morning. So at some point around 5PM on the 8th I took a power nap on the floor of my empty apartment and a few hours later I was on the road.

I was leaving behind a very nice apartment, 1349 Mario Drive. It was easily 800 square feet, had vaulted ceilings, a private patio, dish washer, etc. And it only cost $565 per month. What I was about to move into was a 450-square-foot one-bedroom apartment with the toilet in the bedroom and the shower off the kitchen. The rent for that cost $1600 per month. That was 11 Stanton Street, just off Bowery. My good friend, Patrick Witty, had moved into it several weeks earlier. He and I had split the deposit, which was a whopping six months rent up front because neither of us had any proof of NYC income at that point. A couple months later we took on a third tenant, who slept on a cot in the kitchen for several months.

It's hard to characterize those first few months in NYC. It was one big party, to be sure, especially with a constant stream of friends always passing through town ("Hey, you guys mind if I crash on your floor for a while?"). But it was also a bit stressful, just having such a blank slate in front of me. Right off the bat, I quickly got work from Staci Schwartz, who had just become photo editor at the Village Voice. So that was a real blessing, to at least be getting assignments here and there to stave off the depletion of my precious savings.

The year 2000 was a point in my life where I was truly free, no obligations, no family to support. It hasn't been the easiest eight years but I can say unequivocally that I am passionate about where I live. I am absolutely thrilled to be a New Yorker. And that's something to be celebrated.

4 Comments:

Blogger ptpix said...

I remember that day! I was there. I had forgotten the exact date, but not that experience. what a time we had. it was time of freedom. of lazy afternoons at the coffe shop. nights of cocktails and slices. hmmmm how young we were.

pt

August 8, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Ikasob said...

Cheers! LYB

August 8, 2008 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Joey Harrison said...

I enjoyed your nicely written story of moving to NY. It's nice to see when someone's aspirations and talent are so well-matched. Way to go, Cary.

August 16, 2008 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

I remember that August, too. I can't believe it's been 8 years already, and you're now a real New Yorker, and I'm as close to being a real German as I'll ever get...

I hope you're loving it as much there as I am here.

September 6, 2008 at 6:09 AM  

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