Firsts and Lasts in NYC

As I enter my last couple of months in New York, I need to commit myself to doing the things I should have done by now, and redoing the things I’ve enjoyed doing once or several times before. So I’m making time for a combination of NY firsts and lasts.

This is a starting list:

Brooklyn Bridge (First). I’ve wanted to walk over the bridge since I’ve been here. And for no good reason, I never have. I live in Brooklyn and work in downtown Manhattan. Seems like walking the bridge would come up more often than it has. But instead, the train and the car have been the only means of crossing boroughs thus far.

So last weekend I joined a friend for a pleasant walk over the bridge. The weather was perfect (if not a bit brisk), the mood was fun (we crossed paths with people in costume and trick or treaters on the Brooklyn side), and the updates discussed were significant (ranging from the death of a love interest to starting a new job and party planning). Once we were in Brooklyn, we had tasty savory crepes. If you haven’t previously enjoyed a crepe after walking over a bridge, I recommend it. Then we walked a bit more to a bakery to sum the whole thing up with sweet treats. Apparently it’s the bakery where the Real Housewives went when they once walked the bridge. Good choice, ladies. So it was a pleasant Sunday – and a good way to kick off my last couple of months in town.

Voting (Last). As you all know, election time just passed. And though I’ve begun to feel more and more disengaged from local politics – my whole “I don’t feel like a New Yorker” thing, both the local and national significance of this election have cried loudly enough for me participate in one more election as a New York voter. I have no clue what the future holds for me in terms of long-term residency. So although I can’t say I definitely won’t be voting in New York again, I’m fairly certain this will be the last time.

Voting was simple enough. And it was an opportunity to spend some quality time with my neighbors as we waited in line to carry out one of our civic duties. My bubble-filling skills were refreshed. And I can say I contributed to the good results, and earned my right to complain about the disappointing results. But overall, it’s a bit anti-climatic. The political optimism and excitement recently felt in 2008 feels so distant. I can’t say it doesn’t feel like a good time to take a break and experience the political woes of another country.

Doctors (Firsts and Lasts). The limited time left in the country also means limited time with my health insurance. I’m sure I’ll be covered in some way as a student in Amsterdam. But it’s in my best interest to make sure everything is in the right place and functioning properly before I have to learn how to say, “my tooth fell out” in Dutch. So I’m making appointments to see all of the relevant doctors, including the spine doctor, dentist, gyno, and vet (for my cat).

I’m embarrassed to say how long it’s been since I’ve been to the dentist – so I won’t. But I’ll leave it with the fact that I’m terrified. Absolutely and completely terrified. The terror has lived with me for years – though for a while it rented an apartment next door and began a relationship with my rage. But once rage moved out, terror moved back in with me. It aggressively reminded me that if I don’t face it now, it will also book a one-way ticket to the Netherlands. So to avoid the company on the plane, as well as the premature loss of my teeth, I made an appointment with a dentist. I’m counting this as a first.

The other doctors are no big deal. I’ve seen them enough to feel comfortable, if not agitated by the routine. But as long as they keep me healthy, I’ll put up with the paper robes, poking, prodding, and co-pays. And since she has no say in the matter, so will my cat.

Culture (Firsts). There are a number of shows, museums and/or exhibits that I have yet to see. In many ways I have wasted tons of time here. And now that I’m down to a limited number of days, I’m rushing to fit it all in. As any other procrastinator would believe, I think I can do it all in the time I have left. If it works out, I’ll let you know. But if I end up spending the next two months without experiencing anything of cultural significance, we’ll never speak of this again.

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