Monday, August 18, 2014

20 sunsets

One year ago this month, I began the process of moving all my worldly possessions into J's one-bedroom apartment. There is no official move-in date because the entire event took almost three weeks - since I was moving a total of three whole blocks we never had the need for movers, so we simply took every spare moment to slowly pack and haul and unpack a half a dozen or so carloads of Ikea bags. Though I was a bit nervous about the whole endeavor (other than roommates, I'd never lived with anyone before!), it almost immediately proved to be the best thing I've ever done. It has been so much fun learning to coexist with my boyfriend, and I truly look forward to coming home to him each night (cue: early 90's sappy underscoring).

Anyway, I digress. Despite the lack of heat, lack of air, lack of windows, lack of screens on said windows, paper-thin walls, consumption-riddled upstairs neighbor, occasional infestations, moldy bathroom ceiling, frighteningly rusty fire escape, terrifyingly ancient basement, uselessly nonagenarian landlord, and even more uselessly nonagenarian super who once locked me out of my own bedroom, I will forever hold a soft spot in my heart for my first New York apartment. I lived there for four years - the longest I'd lived anywhere since moving out of my parent's house and into my college dorm. My tiny bedroom with three blue walls and one burgundy wall was the space in which I laughed, cried, loved, lost, slept, didn't sleep, dreamed, despaired, tried, failed, and learned what it meant to be a single white female living in New York City in the late 2000's (cue: Sex and the City theme song. actually wait, don't take that cue. that show is a terrible representation of what life is like in NYC, and anyone who deludes herself into thinking her life is going to be one tenth of what Carrie's is needs to fall into one of those frozen polar-vortex curbside puddles pronto).

I knew I was getting a lifestyle upgrade when I made the move towards cohabitation. In addition to that whole life-partner-automatic-wedding-date thing, the apartment we share sports a few amenities I had previously convinced myself I could live without. Things like ceiling fans, a dishwasher, cable television, screens on windows that actually open, a bedroom big enough for not one but TWO nightstands, a washer/dryer in the apartment, and most important, that dial on the wall that lets you TURN ON THE HEAT WHENEVER YOU WANT TO (I'm told it's called a thermostat, but that term is unfamiliar to me) have become de rigueur - and I have enough self-realization to know that I don't want to go back to the prehistoric era anytime soon.

There is one final aspect of the apartment that I love love love - our balcony. It's by no means a fire escape, and it's so much more than a Juliette - it's a full 15'x5' lanai that houses three chairs, one table, seven plants, and two plastic flamingos - and faces west, offering daily and stunning views of Manhattan. I know I just sounded like an advertisement right there, but there's really no other way to describe the feeling I get when I want to know what color the Empire State Building is rightnow and realize that I can just duck out to my balcony and take a look. Some of my happier moments of this past year have been on that balcony - early morning coffees, quick trips to say hi to the plants, cold beverages on hot summer afternoons, watching in silent awe as the sun drops below the skyline, and late-night conversations with only a citronella candle to light out words.

True-to-form, I developed a bit of a sunset-photo-obsession when I moved in. I try not to oversaturate my blog posts with sunset pics (a "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" kind of thing), but that doesn't stop me from hitting the pause button on whatever we're watching on tv to run outside with my camera. I assume that eventually, the novelty of a gorgeous sunset over Manhattan will fade - but it's been a year now, and my love for this view is still going strong. Granted, I miss a lot more sunsets than I get to see. Nine times out of ten (or rather, six out of seven nights a week), I'm at work before, during, and after the golden hour. And there were a whole lot of late-winter/early-spring Monday evenings when I was home but only to witness the sky turning from light grey to dark grey. So maybe that's why I get so excited when I am able to catch a sunset - it's still a rarity in my life, and I'm like a kid in a candy store when they come around. The pictures above were all taken from the same vantage point on my balcony, give or take a few feet in either direction. Some color-correction was done in either Snapseed or Instagram, but by and large those photographs are showing their true colors - and my favorite view in the whole world.

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