My preacher actually said that while defending how much we spend on our apartments here for so little space. He said his apartment comes with the entire Upper West Side; he pays for the accompanying culture and of course, Central Park, not just a tiny apartment. It’s true, the value is living in the greatest and most influential city in the world, and he’s been compelling me and the rest of Trinity Grace to devote ourselves to staying here.
It’s not a hard sell. After work on Friday I met eight friends in Central Park for reading, sunbathing, and just plain hanging out, and I can’t over-emphasize the novelty of having that option in my backyard. We then went to dinner with a group of 14 people: four girls, ten boys, nine native Floridians, and ten new friends I had just met that day. Where else could that happen spontaneously?
That night I would meet up with people from Mississippi, Michigan, Kansas, LA, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska – all in one bar, for one show. This city is a smorgasbord of mutual friends from any and everywhere, and I love it. Conversations go beyond what you do and where you’re from, to where you’ve been and how you got here, how you met every other connection in the room, and what you’re working toward. Rarely is anyone doing what they came here to do, we’re doing what will get us to that end goal, and the process is what unites us all.
The next afternoon my friend Jessica and I attempted to see the Met’s Alexander McQueen exhibit that’d been absolutely raved about and celebrated for the last month. The last time she’d tried, the wait was two hours, a really unusual inconvenience for the Met. This time, it was five hours—two just to get in and three to see the main event, and we both had to pee.
We cut our losses and as a consolation made fajitas and cookies with my friends Josh and Jimmy that night, planning to wake up early on Sunday. We were advised to arrive at 6 am despite the Met opening at 9:30. This was out of the question, but it was our last chance to see it, so we settled on 8 am and grabbed bagels and coffee for the wait. Fortunately, her friend provided a member card and after our initial shock at blocks of lines on both sides of the museum, we were ushered right in and only waited 20 minutes inside.
This was sheer, extremely unexpected luck, and such an exciting way to start the day. The exhibit was amazing—modern and eerie, dark and twisted, moving and mystical. McQueen’s fashions were as enchanting as they were quizzical, and we felt as if we’d been secretly invited into his head for a bit. I am entirely unqualified to evaluate fashion, especially at such an intricate level, but I truly indulged in the experience…right in my backyard. A hologram of Kate Moss in a flowing dress was inevitably the highlight for me, but I left wondering what exactly makes this such a coveted attraction.
What else will people wait five hours in the heat for? What else will I wake up that early on a Sunday for? Not everything in the city is an advantage. We fall for promises of exclusivity and notions of superiority. We get excited when we can skip lines, land impossible reservations, or score sold out tickets all because of connections. But what if we used connections for good?
My preacher brought to our attention that our coworkers probably wish they had 200 or 300 people who had their backs like we do with our congregation. And his challenge is that this be our advantage. That we as a group use or skills and positions and connections to positively impact the city. That we infiltrate each major industry with good news and God’s love and consequently change the world because it all starts here.
We have five (and growing) locations, are united with other local churches, and have people in every workforce here from the arts to finance. The potential for change is boundless and with the power only God can provide I can’t imagine what the years ahead hold. And I want to be a part of it. I want to stick around.