Quick Tales from The Big City: Part 1 – Evan Bloch
Life update: Last summer, I made it a point to write weekly about my time in New York in order to document my summer, but also as an effective way to process the culture shock that comes with a move from the humble Midwest to the East Coast. By the end of my summer, I had more or less decided that post-grad, I would come back to the big city permanently. To make a long story short, I applied for an ungodly number of jobs, and ended up with an amazing opportunity to intern at Havas on a Connections Planning team.
On May 31, I packed all of my favorite things into a couple of suitcases, flew into LaGuardia, sat on the runway longer than the actual flight was, got a taxi, and showed up to the front door of Brooklyn apartment, which I found via the Roomi app (10/10 would recommend). Brooklyn is growing on me — very slowly — but after a month here, I have started to see the appeal. If someone would have told me last summer that I would, one day, live in Brooklyn, I would have said something along the lines of, “Heck no! The world ends at the East River.” Sometimes, being in Brooklyn does feel a bit like being at a far away, mysterious corner of the earth, but this particular location (Park Slope/Gowanus-ish/Corner of 5th Ave. and 6th Street of you really care a lot) has become my very own far away, mysterious corner, and for that, I am grateful. All of that said, I am doing a short term rental, so I will likely discover a new part of the city in the coming months.
One quick disclaimer about Brooklyn: Brooklyn is fairly well connected to Manhattan, but I have found that parts of Brooklyn aren’t that well connected to other parts of Brooklyn (unless you want to take a bus, but (at the risk of sounding incompetent) I find buses so confusing, so I avoid them at all costs). The best example of this comes from an experience that I had just yesterday. My dear friend, Meghan, texted our group chat that she and her parents would be doing dinner and drinks in Brooklyn, and we were invited. I thought, “Hooray! They are coming to my neck of the woods!” I put the address to the restaurant in and was taken aback when it said that it would take me 50 minutes to get there. “In my OWN borough? How odd,” I thought to myself. I took a closer look at the map, and realized that I had to take the train into Manhattan, transfer, and come back into Brooklyn. Yes, this was the most efficient way to do it. I am baffled, too. The moral of the story is that no matter where you are in New York, you’ll never be able to avoid Manhattan.
So what have I really been up to all summer, you might be wondering. Well, let me tell you. Aside from working at my awesome job during the week, I have been spending ample amounts of time with friends — new and old. A friend of a friend, who has become someone I now call a friend of my own, Bridget, and I got here on the same day and wasted no time finding a good happy hour in between our offices. We broke the ice over some margs and waited for our other friends to make their way into the city. In no time, Lily, Jillian, and Meghan had all arrived and now our squad is more or less back together again. (Except for Ashley :(. Come back, Ashley! We miss you!). So, really, my friends and I have been hanging out, discovering New York, going to happy hours and rooftop bars, eating picnic dinner in parks, kayaking on the Hudson, and learning a lot about ourselves as most of us make New York our permanent home.
What does a typical day look like for you, Evan? Well, funny you should ask. Let me let you. I set my alarms for 7AM, 7:15AM, 7:25AM, 7:30AM, end up snoozing them until 8AM (old habits die hard), I take a shower, get dressed, run to the subway station where I wait and sweat for usually 4–5 minutes, hop on the R train, transfer to the N train, and make my way across the Manhattan bridge, where I get the most stunning view of the city every morning. I’m trying to find joy in simpler things nowadays, and one of the best parts of my day is feeling inspired by the Manhattan skyline. I hop off the train at Canal Street in Chinatown and walk about a half mile to the office. This all takes place before 8:50AM — we love express trains.
During my walk to work, I see the most interesting sights, like monks using a snow shovel to move water off the sidewalk after a long night of rain and getting everyone all wet, even though they think they are helping. In addition to that, I see the same women standing on the street with what looks like a menu, but after closer inspection, you realize it is actually a list of fake handbags that you can pick from. There really is not a creepier feeling than a little grandma coming up to you while you wait at the crosswalk and whispering, “bag, bag, bag, bag, bag,” in your ear. Sorry, lady. You’re old and adorable, but I live here now. And people who live here don’t shop for their bags on Canal Street. In fact, if you actually live here, you probably can’t afford to go shopping at all.
After my trek down Canal, I go through a revolving door, and scan into my office building, go to my desk, and work! I’m not going to elaborate on the details of my job on here, but if you are interested in learning more about what I do, specifically, you probably know how to find me.
In keeping with last summer’s tradition, here are some quick tales from the big city. Most of my weird stories last summer came from Washington Square Park, but now they mostly come from the subway:
1) The other day, I was lucky enough to find a seat on a crowded train. I sat down, relaxed, and looked up to see a woman staring at me with the most curious face I had ever seen. I didn’t really know what she wanted, and I was pretty spooked. I got to my stop, looked back at my seat to make sure my wallet didn’t fall out of my pocket, and realized that I had been sitting directly in front of a subway map. This poor woman just needed to get somewhere, and she couldn’t see through my noggin.
2) I was sitting alone at a subway station late at night when two older men and a young woman, who all knew each other, came and sat next to me. I was minding my own business, and I got on the train. One of the men came up to me and said, “Excuse me… are you Evan Bloch?” I had a puzzled expression, but, in true millennial fashion, I thought… OMG am I becoming insta-famous?
I looked back at the man and said, “Umm.. yeah. Why?”
“Well,” he said, “I am here with my niece and I was air-dropping her a photo and your name came up on my phone. You should probably be more aware of your technology.”
“Thanks,” I said with an even more confused face.
See, the thing is that I knew that my AirDrop was open to everyone. Many young people have it this was just in case a friendly stranger feels the need to drop a meme or a photo of a Smirnoff Ice in order to brighten someone’s day. Needless to say, I turned my AirDrop to contacts only because in true New York fashion, I don’t want strangers to talk to me on the subway.
3) One of the trains that I take, the F, runs partially above ground, which I like because the platform is breezy. The other day I wore my Birkenstocks and was running late, a true recipe for disaster because Birks really only allow for moseying. I was high-tailing it up the stairs to catch the F train when the front of my sandal caught the stairs, sending me right down. Luckily, I caught myself and didn’t break a tooth, but, yeah, I thought about cutting off both of my hands.
Anyway, that was long. And New York is so weird, which means that I have a lot of quirky experiences to share, so tune in next time for more.