Today most of the country is celebrating the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and while that is certainly on the forefront of my mind today, I'm also reflecting on my own milestone. September marks my ten year anniversary of living in New York City.
Moving to New York had been in my plans since I was a teenager in high school but I was only finally able to commit to that dream by the time I was finishing up law school and signed up to take the ferocious New York Bar Exam. So, months after graduating from the University of Miami, on a early September 5th afternoon, I found myself lugging a 70lb suitcase up five flights of stairs to a new apartment that I wold be sharing with two complete strangers. It was a far cry from the sterility of Michigan suburbs that I grew up in and the homogeneity of Coral Gables neighborhoods that I lived in as a law student.
Over the course of ten years, I've had my share of growing pains and triumphs, from dealing with eccentric roommates, to learning how to master the subway and its accompanying etiquette, braving harsh snowfalls, blistering heatwaves to enjoying beautifully crisp autumns and rejuvenating spring times. I went from being a wide-eyed Mid-westerner to a tougher, more seasoned urban survivalist.
In spite of all these experiences, what's most remarkable about my experience here was learning to find my own voice and being able to be completely honest with who I was. When I decided to identify as an artist and to claim it as a serious practice, I started to live authentically. I don't think it would have been possible to come to this point in my life had I not made the decision to live here. I guess this is probably why I decided to make my first solo show about New York when I produced my Visions of New York exhibition. The theme was a fitting tribute to a city that had given me so much.
Living in New York City is often compared to being in a romantic relationship. You come to it willingly, and for the most part you are happy to be here and you wonder how you managed to live before you encountered such an amazing place. There are also days when feel more challenged than what you are prepared for and you wonder if you will make it. There are days when you aren't so in love but somehow you find your way back to it. The city grows and changes and you grow and change along with it. I wouldn't have had it any other way and certainly no terrorist attack was going to tell me otherwise.
Happy Anniversary, New York. I love you.
Throughout this tenth year, I will be reposting images from my Visions of New York collection and re-telling the stories behind them.