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The Friday Blog: Celebrating 20 Years in New York City! #lifeinthebigcity

Good morning! Today, May 12th, I celebrate 20 years of living in New York City. It's a little strange since I am only 29, but hey, math was never my strong suit <wink>

Rick gilbert 2013On this date in 2003, I moved back to NYC from having lived in LA for five years. It was a choice that I made borne from wanting to move back to the city I had loved from 1994-1998. So, in total, I've lived in New York for 24 years.

As a kid growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I would see the city on SNL or in the movies and think what a magical, amazing place this would be to live. I was not wrong. 
I first visited in September 1986 for two days as I passed through on my way to London for a study abroad program. The city was indeed magical, but after running around, I felt a little disappointed that the city seemed too unmanageable for me. I ended up loving London and spending much of the next couple years there. I came out and fell in love and made some wonderful friends.
In June 1991, I was invited to a relative's wedding in NJ. I never quite understood how I got invited since I wasn't close to this relative and none of the rest of the my family were invited. But sometimes things just happen. So I said yes and came out for a week. I instantly fell in love with the city. The city was so different then but then again so was I.
I then lived here from 1994 - 1998 until I met a wonderful guy in 1997 who lived in LA who convinced me to move out to the west coast to be with him. Although the five years I spent in LA (1998 - 2003) were among the most productive and successful of my entire life, I never really felt at home there. I couldn't quite get a handle on things although I had and have many MANY people that I truly genuinely loved who live/lived there.
In any event, in 2003, at 39 years old, I was looking ahead at where I saw myself in my 40s. And, I chose to come back to New York. It was not an easy first couple of years, but eventually things started working out and, well, I'm still here 20 years later. It sometimes feels as though it's been 20 minutes. 
There was a moment, in about 2015 where I was rushing across town on W. 40th to the Andaz Fifth Avenue to set up for an event I was managing the next day. It was Columbus Day and I had to make my way through the parade. I was in a grumpy mood as one is when one has to configure ones path to get around a large internationally viewed event until it hit me - I was having to cross the Columbus Day parade to set up an event at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. How many people do that? So, rather than be grumpy, I was grateful.
Sometimes I can't quite believe my life -  a kid from a small town in the middle of the midwest living a life in this city. It has hardly ever been easy, but it has always been rewarding.

One of the songs that got me through the pandemic was Todd Alsup's Manhattan - it's a love letter to the city that never sleeps and it more or less encapsulates my feelings about this burg. Enjoy! ;)

(Photo credit: Rick Gilbert. Skyhook Entertainment, May 2013 for Bank of Tokyo )