move to NYC

That time I moved to Chinatown

There is a reason people don’t move on their birthdays…or do anything that is guaranteed to completely ruin their day I guess. I’ve always been an over-achieving, over-booker, but moving the day after my party was beyond ambitious.

Not only did I have to work, but I scheduled movers—my first ever—for 5 pm at night. Rule of thumb: movers don’t work like the rest of my organized, controlled life, they kind of don’t work at all. By 6 pm I was huffing and puffing, sweating profusely, on my front steps with nowhere else to sit as everything was packed. I’d been all over town trying to get as much as possible to my new apartment on my own. I was picturing a much smaller moving truck than what came…at 9 pm.

That’s right, for four hours I sat on my front steps waiting for movers to arrive. And movers did arrive, but not mine, the tenant replacing me’s. She moved her entire life into my little studio with my entire life shoved to one side of the room, then awkwardly left until I was officially out of her home.

The moment my guys arrived at 9 pm, we experienced the kind of rain writers refer to as the sky opening up. The movers, all of my things, and I were soaked through the entire process, then had to endure the traffic a downpour leads to—while paying by the hour—and last had to find parking in the rain in Chinatown. This evening was a nightmare, and one of those experiences that you dread for weeks knowing it won’t be as bad as it seems only to find out it was worse than it had seemed when hypothetical.

I did get a discount for the wait, with which I tipped my soaking wet and exhausted movers extra, and I made it. I finally left little 5A for a two bedroom in a sketchy, questionable, but more convenient location, and as much as I miss it and will never forget how much I learned in my first apartment on my own, I’m learning about letting go. Nothing lasts forever, just like living in Chinatown won’t…

  • a little good here: Chinatown is within walking distance of one of the most well-known and accessible shelters in the city: Bowery Mission. A facility specifically for men, they serve three meals a day, host several church services a week, and have a number of city-wide programs geared toward the homeless. (The women and children’s branch is in the Upper East Side)
  • a long way: You can drop donations off at this location any time it’s open. They accept clothes and food and post their biggest needs online. They also have a mentor program and you can sign up individually or as a group to serve meals.
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