Southern Girl Takes on the Big Apple
Looking back on Ten Years Ago
2017 marks 10 years since I moved back from New York City! No, I do not for one minute regret it, but I definitely look back on those years fondly. From all of the random celebrity encounters to my first Blizzard or Noreaster whatever not sure if there’s a difference I think they are the same thing; to super unfabulous jobs and much more! Shall we dive in! Totally rhetorical because of course you want to hear all about it.
Upper East Sider
I moved to Manhattan the Summer of 2004 yes do the math I’m thirty–fucking-six! A small two bedroom on the Upper East Side. That would still be my area of choice if I lived there now. You get more space for your money. My realtor did not recommend two young girls (transplants) live anywhere but Manhattan. The subways do not run as frequent at night and we were both servers at restaurants so it would be super sketchy. So we heeded her warning and we came Upper East Siders! Long before Gossip Girl.
My first apartment until my roommate got us evicted then I moved two blocks up!
Fashion Week, What?
I had an Internship with a fashion company in the garment district and it was amazing! The guys were super cool it was great all except the no pay part. But that’s what an internship is. Plus, I was paying my dues I suppose. They even took their collection to New York Fashion Week. No, we weren’t in the tents (yes, back then New York Fashion Week was in the tents at Bryant Park) we were downtown and it was awesome! One of the Gotti boys walked in our show and was super late so our show started late. I loved being backstage it was amazing! It’s funny fashion shows are over in like 20 minutes but we spent all day prepping for this and months creating the pieces. I was amazing back stage if I do say so myself. I helped keep the show going I knew the models names and the walk order. I was part of the entire process so I really knew what was going on. The company couldn’t afford to pay me and I eventually left then heard it dissolved, but what an AMAZING experience! I mean how many people can say they were back stage at New York Fashion Week!
Back when Fashion Week was still in the tents at Bryant Park!
Naturally I worked several other jobs while Interning for free. I was a server at a restaurant in Midtown. I loved the location! I took the bus up 57th Street to 5th Avenue (a stop earlier) to check out the windows at Bergdorf Goodman. Looking at the Bergdorf windows just made me so happy. Kind of like my own Breakfast at Tiffany’s but I prefer clothing over diamonds. Of course such a swanky location meant I saw or served quite a few celebrities. No fun stories to tell with these just name dropping Chad Michael Murray, Montel Williams, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams (RIP), the guy from Monty Python, I’m sure there’s more but I can’t remember. Carson Daly did pop in twice and at this time TRL was huge not as big as it was a few years earlier but pretty big I just had to work now so I couldn’t watch it anymore. So I asked the server who had Carson at their table if I could help run drinks to the table because I’m a total dork! I brought Carson Daly a bloody mary. Then I randomly got to serve Drew Carey it was during lunch and he gave me a huge tip I think it was like $75 or $100 bucks on like $25 dollar tab. I was so grateful and still am! Thanks Drew! Then one day this is probably the most random story ever I left my serving job and was going to grab dinner with my friends and fellow servers we were walking to the place and I was on the phone with my mom because my awesome roommate stopped paying her portion of rent and we were being evicted (fun right? That’s why I have NEVER had another roommate ever again!) so we are walking and I am totally consumed in my convo and am probably cursing like a sailor completely unaware of my surroundings next thing I know we are outside the Carnegie Deli and I am told by my friends that Mike Tyson is right there. Sure enough Mike Tyson was right there eating a sandwich leaning up against his Bentley. So my friends go up to him and say hi then I’m not even sure what happened or how but I’m face-to-face with him and for some unknown reason I hand him my phone and tell him it’s my mom – like what was I thinking. But he said hello to her and handed me back my phone. I know, so weird. Not him, but me like why would I hand him my phone. Anyways so that was the time I met Mike Tyson.
Armani at his book signing!
Then there’s the time I saw Bono. Yes. Bono. As in the lead singer of U2. I was at Wicked with my mother and we were randomly chatting and I look over at this guy who’s about 30 feet away from me and I’m like damn that looks like Bono. My mom would have no idea who he was so I didn’t say anything I just kept talking. But then I noticed people were nudging the people they were with and pointing at him. So then I knew ok that’s Bono. But I didn’t do anything. Then a few minutes later the whole place knows he’s there and a group of people in the higher seats start singing Beautiful Day. I did not join in.
The witches who sat behind us at Wicked!
Ok, so now the Blizzard or Noreaster. So it was on the news for a while about the storm coming. It’s kind of like a Hurricane (sorry I’m from Florida so Hurricanes are a natural comparison) in the sense like you know it’s coming. It’s not a surprise like a flash flood or earthquake. You can see it moving towards you. So we knew and they speculated how bad etc. Well to be honest this Florida girl was scared. I’m 22 this is my first scary storm. Yes, I’ve been through hurricanes but this was different I had never been through a blizzard and this was a big one. So I got off of work (other places closed early but not us) so I’m walking to the bus stop and a bus pulls up to the bus stop and the bus is totally covered in snow so I cannot see the number but I hopped on anyways. We get down 57th Street then we go a few blocks down York Avenue and the bus driver says this is the end. Yep I got on the wrong bus. Fuck! Now what? I had to get out and walk in the snowy blizzard all the way home. The streets were pretty empty and I’m walking. Luckily I had an umbrella because after all snow is frozen water and I am just getting pelted with snow. The snow on the ground is about mid-shin deep and I’m just crawling through it as best as I can. Keep in mind I’m in my server shoes I am not properly equipped to walk in this. So my feet are cold and wet and my shoes are frozen. So I walk the 18-20 blocks home but man that was crazy. However the walk was so peaceful and quiet. I actually contemplated jumping into the fresh snow and making snow angels (I still have never made a snow angel – sad!).
I think snow is the only thing I miss about NYC. When I got a “real” office job I took the bus up 5th Avenue and seeing Central Park covered in snow was so beautiful. Also just watching the snow blanket everything in white is just such an amazing sight. I have a love affair with snow that could rival Lorelai Gilmore, until the night I went to the grocery. I was walking across the street to the grocery store just in sweat pants and a jacket and sneakers and I step right into a hidden hole of frozen water. Yeah that was my first encounter with the deceptive puddle of frozen snowy water. God that was cold. So now I’m walking through the store with my wet frozen shoe. That was not a good snow memory.
The workplace in New York is weird. I never felt like being a woman was a bad thing or a handicap until moving to New York. I felt it in my server job and in my “real” job. That’s not something I like talking about but definitely true.
Also, I never really thought of myself as a “Southerner” or that there was a difference. I mean hell it’s 2006 at this point. But no being a Southerner in New York is crazy. I said y’all and they acted like I just took a poop on the floor or something. They were like “What did you say?” I mean seriously the damn word is in the Dictionary for crying out loud! Also I have what’s called Southern Hospitality I guess. When I am walking through a door I hold it open just simple basic things like that. Well that does not exist in NYC. Please don’t send me hate mail that was just what I observed. I sat at Starbucks and watched a pregnant lady struggle to get in with her baby stroller and no one helped her. Of course I did. I’m not saying I am the freaking Welcome Wagon because I am not. I don’t like to talk to people but I do believe in common courtesy. My last example is a story I tell frequently. I was going to my “real” job and I was getting into the elevator and I was alone which never happens so I’m standing there waiting (most New Yorkers feverishly and repeatedly hit the door close button, I do not) so I’m there waiting for the doors to close and I see an older gentleman slightly running to catch the elevator so I instinctively hit the door open button. The guy gets in and the door closes. I was only going to the 7th floor which seemed like forever so after a bit of silence He asked “So where are you from?” I respond, “Florida.” He nods. Then I ask, “Is it that obvious?” He said, “Yes, you held the door.” And that’s a true story and pretty damn close to accurate in wording. It’s sad really.
Oh but one fabulous experience…I interviewed at Roberto Cavalli! I think it was for a Showroom Coordinator or something. Needless to say I did not get the job. I’m blaming it on the fact that I do not speak Italian. But still totally brag worthy!
I moved back home to be closer to my first niece and never looked back! I now embrace my Southern Charm with open arms! Please and thank you! Yes ma’am and yes sir to sweet tea and barbeque! I’m all in!
That’s so Random
Ok, I didn’t want to end on a sour note but that’s my New York tale. Oh I did snap a pic of Armani at his book signing in New York at Bergdorf’s that was really cool! I interviewed at Coach that was a joke I am a terrible designer I’m a much better stylist. I even interviewed at JayZ’s fashion company I forget the name where they said I could be written up or fired for swearing. I was like seriously you’re playing rap videos in the lobby?
That’s my life in New York in a nut shell. It makes for great party fodder! Now that I’m older I have zero patience for New York living and would never do it again and I’m ok with that!
My First NY Trip
I first went to New York with a school trip then my dad took us back for a family vacation the next year and while we were there. We were in a cab that wasn’t moving so my dad was like heck it’s only 15 blocks we will walk and we got out of the cab. We start walking to the museum or something and we notice they are filming something and then we see it’s Chandler from Friends shooting the movie Fools Rush In. Don’t judge my outfit it was the 90s.
My final apartment in NYC and my dad bought me the mini Christmas tree! Christmas was kinda sad that year when I didn’t go home. But I had dinner with friends that evening but it was weird not being with my family.