Did you know that over 2.5 million people live in Brooklyn? Did you also know that for the month of October, I’m going to be one of them?

Yes, the  time is just about here for my upcoming month of NYC. No, I’m totally not going for work – I’m actually going to recover from some truly miserable crap I’ve had to do this year. Yes, that is a long time off (I took a pay cut in order to take five extra weeks off this year). Yes, people that I mention this to do get a weird look on their face: half “holy I’m jealous” and half “you’re doing what? why?”.

It’s a good question. Why spend a month in NYC? Why not? Have you ever been to New York? I’ve been there three times. Each time I felt like I rushed and rushed and rushed and didn’t get to experience anything. I went to museums. I walked from here to there. I went to specific stores. But I didn’t get to really feel what it would be like to live in what is probably the coolest city in North America.

Last fall, I was in NYC for four days. I had a plan. I achieved the plan and when I came back I realized I’d taken exactly zero pictures of people (you’ll remember from my Coachella experience that I quite literally ONLY took pictures of people there) and that I had hardly peed the whole time I was there. Why is that relevant? Because I was moving so much that I didn’t take the time to rest and hydrate. I was always on the way somewhere. For the love of God, I blew through Chinatown so fast that I don’t even remember it smelling like anything in particular (and Chinatowns all over the world smell like something).

I came back from that trip convinced that I should go for a longer time period. I looked into the cost of renting an apartment (expensive). I looked into the cost of taking five weeks off (WAY more painful). I got approval from my boss for the time off (thanks to our budget crisis – any exec who wanted to take the pay cut this year was pretty much approved). I found an apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which I’m going to say is a bit like the Hintonburg of Brooklyn. That was a hard core Ottawa reference for you all. I live about 7 minutes from Hintonburg, a place which has a wide income spread, easy access to downtown, and lots of up and coming restaurants and independent stores. The apartment in Greenpoint is a cute looking rental with free (!!!) on street parking, thus allowing me to drive to and from (hello, trunk space!).

Over the past month, I’ve been blowing off steam by getting ready for this trip. I bought a 7 day New York Pass, which gives you pre-paid/free access to over 50 attractions including ALL the biggies (the Met, MoMA, the Guggenheim, Top o the Rock, Radio City, etc). I bought a ticket to see the London Symphony Orchestra perform a chorale piece that’s very rarely done, at the Lincoln Center. I bought a ticket to a NY Jets game which is going to be broadcasted on Monday Night Football. I even bought a bus ticked to the fancypants outlet mall outside NYC.I have a 10 class pass for a yoga studio two blocks from the apartment and an organic burger dinner for two in my neighbourhood pre-purchased through Groupon.

I have friends who are coming down to visit me. One is driving down with me (thank goodness – driving by myself, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t take enough breaks). Another, my best friend from grades 6-9 is visiting me over our Thanksgiving weekend. She bought the 3 day NY Pass, and I emailed her earlier this week to see if she could identify her “must dos” so we could create an itinerary. She was all over that and sent me one 24 hours later. My squash partner B is going to do a fly through so that she can immerse herself in amazing art. And my friend L is going to use my place as a crashpad for the last week and will drive back with me. In exchange, L is going to drag my ass out to some cool social events. I’m a great tourist, but not so much at the evening activities.

In between, I have about 10 days with no one there. I’m fully intending to ignore the world. I’m going to shop at great stores and buy some beautiful clothes and shoes and maybe bags. I’m going to hang out at parks. I’m going to world famous fabric and fibre stores. I’m going to take some amazing photos. I’m basically going to DO New York.

I think that anyone who knows me can see how hard the very bad, terrible thing that happened at work last week has been for me. I have a huge heart and I care a lot about the people who work for me. They’re *my* people. My management team, who are honestly the nicest group of people I’ve worked with – completely drama-free, which is a total gift – gave me a going away gift this week. It was a travel toiletry bag (which is seriously nicer than my suitcase) with a book of walking tours, a box of cards of neighbourhood walks, and the cheap bastard’s guide to NYC, which I have been reviewing obsessively every time I’m at the bookstore because I’m too cheap to buy it. Also in the package? Toiletries and some US money (so I could get on the bus!). I love those guys.

I have a binder with my groupons and my directions and my tickets for events. It has coupons for restaurants, cinemas and stores in it, because I was smart enough to buy the Entertainment book when it was on sale for $9. I have maps galore. I have a packing list and have started laying out the clothes on the guest bed.

It was so hard for me to get excited about this trip. I just couldn’t get into it. Not at all. I’d scan a website and be like “uh huh, I should think about that”. It wasn’t until I bought that NFL game ticket that I really thought about what I wanted to do, and how I want to spend my time and my money.

Oh, the money. I’m sure it will surprise no one to know that this is definitely going to be the most expensive vacation of my life. Excluding the income that I’m giving up, I’m currently budgeting at about the same price as a month in Vietnam, Cambodia and Hong Kong. But let’s think about that for a second, shall we? I’m going to NYC! Vietnam is a third world country. It’s cheaper than cheap. Two people can eat there for less than $10, including beer! I’m going to NYC!!! For the same price! And it’s five years after I went to VCHK, so I am actually getting this vacation for less than that one, right? Right?

Except for the vacation time. Damn, people. People who have two incomes always tell me “it wasn’t that much”. You know what? It really is that much. It’s an 11% pay cut. It’s a lot of freaking money. I don’t think it’s something I can afford to do every year, but it is nice to have it as an option, you know? I had a year to pay it off and started at the beginning of this year, so by the time the first cheque of January rolls around, I’ll be back to normal.

I’m stoked. This is going to be a most excellent trip. Do you have any NY tips for me? Any “must dos”? Restaurant suggestions? Cool ideas? Let me know! I’m going to use em!

*NB – Yes, I have a housesitter. Otherwise I wouldn’t have told you all I’m gonna be away.

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