Bohemian Life

Bob Dylan sang those legendary lyrics “how does it feel? To be on your own like a rolling stone.” When I first heard those lyrics as a teenager it spoke to me. I knew that I would not live a traditional life. Therefore the idea of being a starving artist in New York City was romanticized, since it represented my interpretation of the Dylan classic.

Being the arty type meant going against the archetype set up by generations of parents who groom their children to wear a suit and carry a calculator like it’s the Holy Grail. Films and books, I read about made being poor in New York look so damn good.

The clichés were correct. My room was so tiny; I would extend my arms and could easily touch both walls. I didn’t have closet space and the radiator couldn’t function 99.9% of the winter. Like most New Yorkers, I had a severe case of claustrophobia.

In the city, we are surrounded by canyon like buildings, people in every corner and a general lack of space. Instead of moving somewhere boring where strip malls, supermarkets and baby strollers run wild like dolled up brunettes at Bergdorf Goodman’s, we learn to love claustrophobia.

Lack of closet space, no worries; just put your sweater collection in the kitchen cupboards. Small bedroom space means it’s a wonderful day to hang out in Tompkins Square Park. While staying warm is easy with an abundance of charming bookshops like the Strand.

While gleeful attitudes toward claustrophobia are inevitable, sometimes the flowery perspective is put to the test. One winter’s night, Nicole, Krista and I were en route to the Guggenheim Museum for a party. Bands, art and booze were the allure of the grand feast.

We arrived and the whole place was hopping. There were all kinds of people representing every ethnicity and subculture of New York. It was a fashionable crowd. At first, the party seemed like a delight. Then the crowds and music levels increased as the museum’s walls narrowed. Claustrophobia was out to get us.

Therefore, we took a couple swigs of wine and left the party early. We hailed a cab and took a journey to the Lower East Side. Everything from Park Avenue to the view of Stuy Town from FDR drive shined with charm. After a lovely dinner at a restaurant on Essex street, I was reminded why I can tolerate claustrophobia. Wonderful friends and delicious food make living the city an absolutely amazing experience even with its flaws.

I had my struggling New Yorker era. My life mirrored the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song “on my own like a rolling stone.” However, nothing beats living in New York. There’s no other place, which inspires me more. Keep the space and sprawl found in the rest of America, I’d take Manhattan please.

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