If you're going to move to New York City, I highly recommend doing it without knowing another soul there. It's a huge city and I realize that may sound counter-intuitive at first. "How will you find your way around the subway?" "Who will tell you how to get to your job on the other side of Times Square without actually having to walk through the masses?" "Who will point you to the nearest Duane Reade?" That last one is actually never a problem. If you don't see one, just turn around and look directly behind you.
The thing is, when you go there without knowing the answers to these questions - or any of the others that are sure to crop up in the first 20 minutes of setting foot in the city - you're kind of forced to just jump in and go. Or huddle in the corner of an alley, crying and crapping your pants. I guess you could do that, too.
One of the first things I did was scout out a comedy club (shocker, I know). I don't know if they're still doing this, but at the time Gotham Comedy Club was running a special on weeknights (I want to say Wednesdays, but I'm not sure if that's correct) where it was a 10-dollar cover and you could see a ton of comedians. Most of them were hammering out bits for the weekend and it was so cool to see a number of big-name comedians in the intimacy of a club setting.
I began to go every week (I don't know if you know this, but Judy Gold is a hell of an emcee) and one night splurged a bit to buy a hot chocolate in a souvenir mug you could take home with you. It reminded me not only of the great comedy I saw, but was also representative of the time I moved to the big city by myself...and didn't get stabbed.
And then...a couple of years later....tragedy.
While washing my mug in the sink at work, I dropped and broke it and this upset me way more than it should have. I don't think it was until that moment I realized just what exactly this piece of kitchenware had come to symbolize for me.
My time in New York was spent picking up the pieces of a shattered relationship but somehow I found laughter.
I had become a member of an improv theater where I discovered one of my true joys and also made many lifelong friends, I had a safe haven in Gotham where I knew I could always find laughs, and I found myself giving directions on the subway to tourists without having to consult a map.
When Sarah and I went to New York with her family years later, we returned to Gotham (my first time back since their renovations) to see Iliza Shlesinger perform. And of course, to pick up a replacement mug. Iliza killed it (Of course she did! If you don't know her...I feel bad for you) but I didn't buy myself a new mug.
I bought two.