Today is the 15th anniversary of my move to New York City (!!!), so in honor of my anniversary, I’m going to list five things that characterized my early time here in the city.
1. DTUT: when I first moved here, my boyfriend (at the time) and I stayed with his brother on the Upper East Side, at E. 83rd Street and 1st Avenue. It took a few months for me to find a job, so in the meantime I spent A LOT of time hanging out at a nearby coffeeshop, DTUT. Back then the place was located on 2nd Avenue near E. 84th Street (it’s since moved a few blocks north). The place was very cozy and filled with lots of lounge chairs and couches. I’d go in the morning and get either a bagel and cream cheese or a quiche, and of course coffee. Then I’d spend about three hours sitting there reading, writing in my journal, reading the newspaper, and doing crossword puzzles. Mind you, this was in 2001 and 2002 and I didn’t have a smartphone to entertain myself with (though I think I had a laptop then…I honestly can’t even remember). I have such fond memories of all the analog time I spent there.
2. Upright Citizens Brigade: the boyfriend I moved to NYC with was very into the comedy scene, and when we first arrived in town we spent a TON of time at UCB, which was at the time located on W. 22nd Street in Chelsea. I saw the four founders perform there quite a bit, as well as so many of the comedians that pop up here, there, and everywhere. I especially liked ASSSSSCAT, which is still a Sunday night staple of the theater.
3. Peter McManus Cafe: UCB shows were most often followed by drinks at McManus, a favorite local watering hole of the comedy players. The bar still stands today; I’ve popped in there on occasion over the years and it’s comforting because not a single thing has changed—even the bathroom still has that disgusting continuous cloth towel contraption for drying your hands.
4. David’s Bagels: when I first moved here, there was a David’s Bagels located on the UES not far from where I was living, and I ate there quite a bit. There was also an E. 14th Street location close to my apartment when I lived in the East Village, so I went there almost daily back then. To this day, David’s Bagels are still my favorite bagels in all of NYC! It looks like they only have one remaining location, by Stuy Town, but they often land on “top NY bagel lists.” I especially like their veggie tofu cream cheese…there’s just something special about it. Their bagels are SO DAMN GOOD, especially when they’re hot out of the oven!
5. Ludlow Street: my former bf and I moved into our first apartment together after four months of crashing at his brother’s UES place. We found a one bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side at 150 Ludlow Street, between Stanton and Rivington. The neighborhood was so different back then—we lived there right around the time it was just beginning to evolve into more of an upscale, clubs-and-condos sort of area. It was grittier and more hipstery, and we spent time in places up and down the street like Luna Lounge, Motor City Bar, Barramundi, Local 138 (which still exists), and Max Fish. Pianos actually opened up while we were living there, and I felt right at home in their upstairs room because the view out the window was almost exactly the same as it was from our apartment, just shifted a few doors down.
Thanks for taking this little trip down memory lane with me!