The Reluctant New Yorker


I love the New Yorker’s March 1976 cover “View From 9th Ave.” It’s exactly how those of us born and raised in the Big Apple see the rest of the world. New York is this large place and outside of this metropolis the rest of the country and planet is well, small.

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend and I told them I couldn’t see myself having another child until Cydney was about nine and why. They said had things gone the way she’d planned she would have been engaged by twenty-six. I’d said something along the lines of things don’t necessarily go as planned. She replied in a manner that insinuated I followed my own advice. “Trust me, I know,” I lamented. She all but cursed me by saying I’m going to have another child when Cydney is six.

That conversation reminded me that I never had intentions of leaving New York. Growing up in Queens I wanted to attend St John’s University and play basketball there. Eventually I caught the music bug and the plan was to be a student by day and pursue my musical aspirations after class. It’s kinda funny seeing J Cole do exactly what I wanted to do to a tee.

In twelfth grade I recall having a conversation with my father about college and with all of the seriousness in the world he told me “Leave New York! I stayed and went to Queens College and did music. Look at me.” He was referring to the fact that he left college and pursued music. He’s made a fine career out of it; but of course he wanted me to finish college and be a better version of him. Rightfully so, because I would have stayed and probably not finished, either with all kinds of debt and nothing to show for it.

Applying to Morehouse College was a last minute decision. I was wary of going there because people who move to Atlanta stay and that was far from New York. Nonetheless, as soon as I applied I knew I was going.

I loved Atlanta and I did stay after finishing college. Timile and I moved to suburban Cobb County and had our life. When she got  pregnant I didn’t want to leave the A. New York was a compromise because it was either Buffalo or who knows. So we came back to my home because it was right in the middle of her family in Buffalo and her parents in Virginia. The plan was to come back to Atlanta after our daughter-who at the time’s name was going to be London-was born.

Several unfortunate events, tragedies, and life-altering events later I found myself living back home. I didn’t and still don’t see myself ever moving back to Atlanta–I like the idea of that being the dream deferred and leaving that life and person in the past. However, around October 2012 I had it made up in my mind that I was moving to Washington DC in the near future. For six months I didn’t apply to one job in New York and had a few interviews for positions in the DMV area.

It wasn’t until I met a pretty girl and we were out on I guess what was our first date that I changed my mind on staying in New York. We were just talking at a work even she had to attend and I don’t remember what was said but I recalled saying “Yeah. That’s not a bad idea.” Something about her seemed pretty special and worth staying in New York to see how things might work out. I never applied for a job outside of New York and haven’t been to DC ever since.

Sometimes we need something or someone to inspire or push us in the right direction. This other girl I dated was a writer and trying to impress her was the catalyst to turning my blog with all of its hits into something much more. I wanted to prove to her “Look, I can do this, too,” and ultimately ran with it. Within two years I have gone from blogger to getting paid to write five articles a week for major publications. This wouldn’t have happened had I not met these two girls who ultimately alerted the trajectory that mine and my daughter’s life was headed. Everything has slowly began to come together because I’m in New York. I’m in the media capital of the world… I’d be an idiot to leave, now.

Going back to my talk with my friend last week. I didn’t want to say this as a response; but I thought to myself “Had things gone according to plan I would be married, living in Atlanta with two kids.” But none of that mattered. What did at the time was being where I was supposed to be and to some extent said person not knowing how responsible they were in me making that decision.

It’s 6:41AM. I’m writing this on a crowded E train headed downtown while rushing to work…It doesn’t get much more New York than that.

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