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.


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.


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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