In the days and media hype prior to the hurricane’s arrival, I brushed it off. I grew up in a country with typhoon season, where the infrastructure wasn’t nearly advanced as New York City. How could a hurricane touch me here?
While government officials gave warning after warning, evacuated flood-prone areas and grocery shelves emptied of bottled water, dry goods and candles, I brunched with friends and looked forward to working from home.
In a decision made more for my social life than safety, I chose to stay with friends in Queens for the day the hurricane was expected to hit. It was probably the smartest decision I made this whole time.
New York City, you are not the infallible as I believed.
My apartment in Manhattan lost power, as did most of the borough below 39th Street and most of Brooklyn.
The FDR Drive was flooded. Lower Manhattan was flooded. The East Village was flooded.
The hurricane hit hard. The panic was warranted - much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong.
I am grateful to God for keeping me safe; He obviously knew something I didn’t when I was overwhelmed with the instinct to stay in Queens. I am grateful to my friends for taking me in. I am grateful for the basics we all take for granted: food, power, groceries and water. I am grateful.
This will be the “I love New York” post.
I love New York because here I have second chances and new beginnings, and instead of going mad over the prospect of either or both, I roll with the punches and continue to enjoy things like tacos in the pouring rain and conversations in stairwells to yoga studios.
I love New York because there is no expectation of who I am supposed to be and it makes it so much easier to just be myself. There is no Filipino Catholic upper-class outline to fit into nor is there a hyper-progressive politically-aware Berkeley stereotype to live up to. I can take chances and start over and over and over again here because no one really expects otherwise.
I love New York because I am taking yoga seriously for the first time, I am running for no other reason than to find peace within myself and I am dancing again. Six years later, bruises appear on knees and blisters on toes and I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. More importantly, I just feel good.
I love New York because my day started out in Brooklyn for Smorgasburg, became an afternoon at the Brooklyn Brewery and concluded with paella and churros con chocolate at what is quickly becoming my favorite New York restaurant, Socarrat. And I managed to navigate four trains to get from SoHo to home, without checking a map or worrying whether I should hail a cab.
I love New York because in three short months I have built and rebuilt. Only here do second chances roll in so quickly and new beginnings start immediately. Here, I have a mosaic of people from all my favorite parts of life, and the chance to build a life with them (again).
Considering how skewed my concept of “home” is, I think I’m on my way.
One of the most exciting things about living on the East Coast is the ease with which I get from one major city to another, even those in different states.
To understand why this is so amazing to me, you have to realize that in California, you can drive for nine hours and still be in California. From New York, you can get to Boston, Philadelphia or Washington DC in half the time for less than the cost of a tank of gas!