For six months, I traveled two hours into the city every day, and two hours out. I lived in my small, picturesque hometown of Warwick, New York, while I started to pursue the beginnings of what would become a long and complicated relationship with the publishing industry. I would wake up at 6:00am to make the train at Tuxedo, thirty minutes from my house, and arrive at my internship at a small independent publisher by 10:00 in the Flatiron District. After seven hours, I’d rush to class, and by 12:00am, I was back home to squeeze in a few blinks of sleep before doing it all over again. On my days off from higher education, I waitressed at a new diner in my town. If you had asked me at the time if it was exhausting (even retelling it, I’m hit with a second-hand wind of retrospective weariness), I would have said yes. But I also would have said that you gotta do what you gotta do.
I don’t know if it’s possible to enter such a competitive field as publishing without this hustle attitude, unless you happen to be one of the lucky few who know someone, or know someone who knows someone (as it goes). And it doesn’t stop once you get your first job. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that choosing to go into publishing is choosing to sacrifice your time, your comfort, and part of your sanity to pursue your dream. So hustle you must.
When five hours of sleep nightly became too little, and a few months of seven-days-a-week grinding enabled me to save enough to take the leap, I moved into my first apartment in New York City. Like many young creatives who are just dipping their toes into the corporate world for the first time, Manhattan was mostly out of the question. Also, without a full time job or a guarantor, I wasn’t left with many options when it came to signing a lease. So I decided to do what was familiar to me from my time abroad, and sublet a room.
Brooklyn appealed to me because of its (relative) affordability and access to cool, unique spots that you can’t always find in Manhattan. In the seven months since I’ve moved to Bushwick (or rather, what realtors call “East Williamsburg,” in attempt to appeal to the poor-but-still-spends-$10-on-a-latte demographic), I’ve seen it developed noticeably before my eyes. Mural have been painted and repainted, stores have opened and closed, tourists have decided that maybe they won’t die here, filling the usually empty streets on unseasonably warm Saturday mornings.
In my next few posts, I will be sharing my experiences living in a neighborhood on the brink of a cultural shift, how moving from a rural town in upstate New York has factored into my culture shock, and how I am finding my footing in a city where it’s easy to get lost in the masses. And I’ll do it all while drinking an overpriced chai-latte with oat milk in Bushwick.