After three years in Cleveland, I moved back to New York City in mid January, just when the coronavirus was in out-of-town previews. For two months, I reveled in the joy of being back in my beloved Gotham and had a brief flirtation with a hologram known as “job security.” Since the shit really hit the fan after my last paid workday in March, I’ve been basically staring out the window in between meals, phone calls, virtual gatherings on Zoom, naps and dog walks, wondering what the fuck.
As I chat with friends and family in the midst of all this, many people are fond of reminding me that I moved back to New York at the worst possible time. When they ask me how I feel about it, my answer is always the same: I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I learned a great deal during my three years in Cleveland. I learned that my hometown is a magical place that has made some real strides and possesses a lot of potential for progress and greatness if its citizens are willing to change and work for it. I love my hometown, and I had some truly wonderful experiences while I was there. But I also learned that it’s not where I belong. After one year there, I found myself missing New York terribly. So when an opportunity presented itself over the 2019 holiday season, I grabbed it as fast as I could.
This opportunity was a unicorn in the sense that it was presented specifically to me. Generally, I have terrible timing. There has always been someone else who beat me to a job I wanted, an apartment I liked or a man I was crazy about. When it comes to getting in on something (or someone) really good, I’ve never had a winner’s timing.
My move back to New York was no different. I finally got back to the city I missed so much, only to be laid off and sequestered to my 350 sq ft studio apartment two months later. Again… lousy timing.
But here’s the thing: I’m so glad I’m here. Even under the most insane circumstances of our lifetime, I don’t want to be anywhere else.
Here in New York City, I have easy access to food, toilet paper, a pet store, a veterinarian and a massive public park – all accessible within a short walk without requiring a car. That’s part of what I love about New York. Every night at 7:00 sharp, I open my window and join the chorus of my fellow New Yorkers for a three minute uproar of applause and cheer for the workers on the front lines of the pandemic. That’s another part of what I love about New York. And that window in my apartment? I look out onto a view that’s right out of a movie… a view you couldn’t get anywhere else, especially at night. That’s part of what I love about New York.
Under the current circumstances, do I feel ripped off? Scared? Furious? Sad? Uncertain? Absolutely. But I’d rather be experiencing all of those feelings in New York City than anywhere else in the world.
In the wake of 9/11, I knew a few people who left the city. I certainly understood their decision in such an uncertain and frightening time. But the thought to leave never personally occurred to me then. Although I left in a tizzy back in 2016, I couldn’t be more confident that I’m in the right place at this time. And with respect to our New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I couldn’t be more impressed and, quite frankly, more turned on. (Yes, I believe I coined the term ‘Cuomosexual’ before Randy Rainbow ran off with it.)
We will all get through this. And so will New York. It always does. And though I moved back here at the worst possible time, and I’m so proud to be a part of it again.