After quitting my job, I prioritized travel abroad. For the past few years, I had been chained to a desk, working non-stop insane hours as an investment banker. I began my months of freedom by booking a hiking adventure at Mt. Everest. Before I left, I needed to have a place to live when I relocated to New York City. Because I knew I would be living there for the next year, the last way I wanted to spend my free time was trekking around the city to find an apartment. Impatient, I was ready to see the world first – New York City would be there and it could wait.
In order to secure an apartment quickly, I requested the nicest dorm at NYU. I didn’t make the cut so I clicked through a few pictures online, selecting the “dorm” closest to multiple subway stops as my consolation prize. The prospect of living in a hotel for a year sounded exciting. After all, I would be studying hospitality so I selected that option. How bad could it be? It was only a year anyways. Site unseen, I hesitantly paid my deposit. – all $5,000 of it on my credit card. I took off on my adventure.
In reality, my time in The New Yorker hotel turned out to be far from as glamorous as that of Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl. When I arrived, I discovered the hotel had likely peaked in the 1960s. Its glamorous location in the middle of Manhattan – actually was across from Penn Station where shady characters gathered at all times of day and night to broker equally sketchy deals.
For $1450 per month, I was assigned a room with an Irish dude. While the building was intended for graduate students, everyone was under the age of 21. Thankfully, my roommate was 23 years old. Did I mention I was 26? In true dorm style, there were house rules: I had to sign guests in and out (awkward!), no alcohol was allowed, and certain areas were off limits with video cameras monitoring our every move.
When it was cold, I ran up and down the stairs for a work-out – until the doorman stopped me. They chastised me often for exploring the many hallways of my home. Like on Halloween when I discovered the rumored old morgue – it was beyond creepy as if I was in a horror movie. To balance it out, in the spring, I observed a mass wedding of nearly 1,000 people in a cult-like ceremony in one of the banquet rooms.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I lasted that year. If it hadn’t been for that $5,000 deposit, I would have likely left. It was the most bizarre beginning to New York City living. Today, I work in the hospitality industry. Whenever I hear The New Yorker mentioned, my gut it to suggest reservations elsewhere.