46 hours in Manhattan

Scorecard: 40 emails sent, 4 meetings, 2 job offers, 4 friends visited, 1 bagel, 0 black-and-whites.

Fun times on public transportation! (in Prague not NYC)

Fun times on public transportation! (in Prague not NYC)

I blog this from the New York Public Library in the reading room, which showcases Manhattan’s special brand of quiet – a dull, echoey humm of footsteps, rustling, and whispering that is akin to rock concert played on tinny iPod headphones.

It’s been three days since I touched down and 46 hours since I entered Manhattan, and I’m in love with this city. It’s got a magical thrusting energy and that feeling I relish, that you could round the corner and bump into anyone – that I’ve passed more people and more life stories in the past three days than I have in the previous three months! Without even trying I’m walking 4 miles every day and seeing the sights of the city. My relationship with it is not one of wonder, but one of satisfaction – I’ve seen all the touristy sights before and I just want to be living in the city. A few experiences:

  • The Subway is definitely the most fun part of the city. One man entered and announced his tattoo services, handing out cards to his tattoo parlor. And odd way to advertise, I’d think. Another woman was really, really good – she’d been featured in a bunch of magazines on Subway performers and wasn’t playing to collect donations but to add to her email list and sell CDs.
  • One sad aspect of this city is the sight of poverty everywhere. It’s not like it was 15 years ago, but beggars and homeless people are on the sides of the streets, and getting through your day demands a certain desensitization. It’s hard to judge whether a person is really deserving of your money and I can’t help but say, “well I’m homeless and unemployed too!!” But it’s in a different way.
  • I forgot that cold is a function of clothing. I feel fine in 45-degree weather with a sport jacket and a scarf. I had forgotten that cold doesn’t have to be unpleasant.
  • Not having a car is awesome. LA is so isolated that way!
  • I am not finding the myth that New Yorkers are unfriendly true at all. I’ve met some of the friendliest people on the street and in the subways.
  • That being said, this one woman asked me to call her cell phone to help her find it and seemed astounded when I agreed to do so. She thanked me profusely and made me let her kiss me on the cheek. Then, ten minutes later she called me and rudely demanded to know why I had called her. I forgot who it was and mentioned that I was calling a lot of people looking for jobs and perhaps she was one of those. She rudely said “nobody would recommend me for something like that” and hung up in a huff. It was pretty funny.

My hosts are great – Jordan, Sam, and Maddie have graciously allowed me to crash on their couch for a few weeks, so I am the lump on the floor of their living room covered in a blanket that kind of rolls around while they eat cereal in the morning. We’ve been having a good time cooking meals, playing Wii, and chilling on their roof drinking beer. After getting up and closing up the couch, I take a shower (as much to unwrinkle my shirt of the day as to get clean) and head to meetings.

Thanks to previous efforts, I had a few meetings set up with people I knew in the city. Interestingly enough, none of those have led to any jobs yet. The two part-time jobs that I have found have been by replying to a Craigslist posting. The first is with The Edge With Jake, a small scrappy production making a TV show that is syndicated late-night on ABC! It’s a two-month stint with an awesome team and sweet corporate sponsors (we are filming a Denny’s party and get free Fuze!) and a great host. Jake has been doing the show on Public Access since he was 15 and is now 23 and just got the ABC deal last season. Super low budget means super fun (and that I don’t get paid.) The second job is as a canvasser for the Human Rights Campaign, approaching people on the street and asking them to support legislation for gay rights. They are currently trying to add sexual orientation to the federal hate crime legislation (ten full years after Matthew Shepherd, damn you Bush.) It pays but not well, so I have to do some serious contemplation about how to get some mulah for an apartment.

Alright, until next time! If anyone is swinging by the city, be sure to give me a ring!

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