Let Me Tell You Astoria

I've had a couple of different blogs in my day.

This is my most long running, but maybe not my favourite.

That crown sits with Let Me Tell You Astoria, a blog I started when I was 17 and right about to move to New York City (Astoria...obviously...I still think that's a great name!)

I vividly remember when the idea to start blogging struck. We were sitting around a lunch table, on the verge of graduating high school and splintering off in different directions when suddenly it hit us. Let's all start blogging as a way to keep in touch. 

One friend who was in Staten Island branded herself Living In The Forgotten Borough, and would write deep posts about blogging being a form of therapy. Another was Lost in Boston who retold tales of watching ladies faint in CVS and cute dogs roaming the streets of her new home. I wish I could remember the rest, but unfortunately we chose to use Xanga as our platform of choice, so I'm not able to link to all the fresh out of the hometown womb goodness we all shared with the world. But let me tell you, it was great. 

I signed off every one of my own posts with the same sentiment, With Fingers Crossed, and honestly I don't think I could sum up that time of my life any better. 

I feel like I remember every single second of every single day during my first six months in the real world. It was this blissful bubble of what if's and figuring shit out, filled with tearful phone calls and not being able to afford my rent. Recently I downloaded all my archival footage from that old bubble, and honestly, it could have happened yesterday....

My first New York home. A shared apartment in Astoria with a complete stranger found on Craigslist. She was around my age now, Bulgarian and would have loud shouting phone calls and even louder sex. We would spend some nights talking about our weeks, and some weeks without talking at all. I remember the smell of this apartment so vividly, I remember the way I felt inside it. I remember the market at the end of the block that was open all hours, for me to stop at 2am to buy bread, fruit, chocolate and chicken salad. I remember the oversized care package my Mum sent me full of food, candy and Subway gift cards. I remember the time I sat on my front stoop crying because the boy I liked was with another girl. I remember the drunken night that left my new friend Alina asleep on the couch in my room. I remember the time my roommate left a giant tree right outside my bedroom door that I lovingly kicked in the dead of could have happened yesterday...

An 18 year old in a laundromat. Fun fact about this picture, my hair is actually 100% fake. I can explain...Picture if you will, a naive little girl on the corner of Lexington and 22nd St is approached by a complete stranger. I love your hair...where do you get it done? The stranger asks leaving said little girl flattered and willing to talk. At the time I had no idea this kind of marketing existed, so I handed over my debit card information and bought some pampering service at a random salon on 5th Avenue before tottering into class, confidence boosted. Fast forward a week or two, and there I was getting cut and colored, living my best life. The fateful moment came where the hairstylist spun me towards the mirror to reveal his work and my entire heart almost fell through the floor, my hair was gone. Picture a buzzcut with front bangs, that was my life. I cried. I have never cried at a haircut before, but there I was.

I left in a flurry, wandering over to Madison Square Park to go and meet up with a friend (the aforementioned Living in the Forgotten Borough) We spent the day walking around, eating candy from Dylan's Candy Bar and Indian food from Pongsri in Murray Hill. I almost forgot about my hair until I saw my reflection in the Subway window while crossing the Queensboro bridge on the way home. I was days away from starting a new job, and had plans to meet up with a guy I was mildly obsessed with (....more on that some other time!) yet I actually wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.

I went home and instantly got to googling my options. That was the day I learned that lace wigs were even a thing, and luckily enough just a few blocks over was a salon that specialized in just that. Now please bear in mind that at this point in my life I was incredibly poor. I was just about to start my $9 an hour job, and would just be making enough money to scrape by. But I threw all that straight into the wind, and shelled out a hefty chunk of my savings for this hair. It was shiny and new, almost my exact hair color, and the answer to my tears. I left that salon floating, hair swishing around me. Confidence safely returned to my could have happened yesterday.

The Picture I took the exact moment I got home with my new hair....mildly threatening...

A few months ago I was back in New York City visiting my brother, and we took a wander through McCarren Park. I got felt up in this park once. I retold while pointing to the exact tree it happened under. Let me explain...When I first moved to New York City my first friend was a girl called Stephanie (I have had three separate close friends called Stephanie in my get's confusing.) We went to school together, and were surprisingly the only people we met at school who were new to the city and without a friend. So we stuck together. One day in particular she messaged me about a free (our favourite word at the time) play of Little Mermaid taking place in the park, so we went along. Full of Polish food from Krolewskie Jadlo, we sat with a group of 15 strangers under a tree, and watched the Little Mermaid (the dark and scary version....see above monster....Disney who?) play out in front of us. All of a sudden I felt a hand on my leg...weird. I pretended I didn't notice, hoping it would stop. There it was again, this time higher, and rubbing. I looked at Stephanie for help but she didn't notice. Psst, I whispered to no avail. Being young and scared of this strange man, I let it happen. This went on for a good 15 minutes before I was able to get her attention, HELP, my eyes screamed. With the creepy beast puppets still floating around above us, we got the heck out of there. Our pierogi filled bellies laughing at the scene we left could have happened yesterday...

Oh Fashion's Night Out. Now for those of you unfamiliar, Fashion's Night Out was a night in the fall where the retailers of New York City would join together to It was put on by Vogue, and was filled with free champagne, celebrities and stores all over the city held parties with exciting attractions to entice a crowd. In 2011, FNO was so exciting to me. Leighton Meester was singing in Tiffany's, Sarah Jessica Parker was signing books at Manolo Blahnik (the line was so long we couldn't get in....BUT Stephanie did snap this picture as she was being whisked off in her car) and I was young and full of free could have happened yesterday...

My first night out in New York City. Two girlfriends and I spent the night dancing at Avenue before retreating to dive-y El Sombrero on the Lower East Side for cocktails amongst the hoards of other college kids doing the same exact thing. It's always good to know the bar's that don't card (Here is looking at you Blarney Stone on 47th....the number of nights I spent in you. Oh Blarneys, I hated you dearly but miss you fondly) Speaking of, I actually visited El Sombrero by accident a few years back, I genuinely did not recognize the place. Gone was the dirt and crime, I was so shocked I took to Yelp in true, New Yorker fashion! could have happened yesterday....

Sometimes you just have to give credit, where it is due.

Oh 18, you lovely, beautiful, mess. Thank you for happening. Thank you for the night I climbed a three-story fire escape. Thank you for the night I spent hysterically crying on the phone to the boy who, for some reason, was were I dumped all my 18 year old confusion. Thank you to the afro'd Greek man who said he loved me every Sunday in the laundromat. Thank you to Cuban SpiderMan in Times Square for his nightly fist pump. Thank you to my Mum for sending me rent money when I couldn't get it together. It all feels like it truly happened yesterday. 

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