Mugged in New York

When I moved to New York I did not know anyone. My older brother, Mark, flew with me and we toured the city for the weekend. I got used to riding the subway, got moved into my tiny bedroom in midtown, and explored my new home for the next few months.It finally sunk in that my plane ticket was one way and I was about to be left on my own in a city I had never been.

My first few weeks had a steep learning curve. Between my new Manhattan home and the weather, I had some adjustments to make. The building was like a hotel and nothing like my ISU dorm or sorority. Breakfast and dinner was served daily and they cleaned our sheets and vacuumed our rooms once a week. My first day of work at Marc Jacobs it was so much colder than expected. Everyone had told me how hot it was in NYC in the summers and therefore I packed accordingly. Little did I know that my first few weeks would be temperatures in the 50s, sometimes colder.

I survived my first week in New York. I realized I wanted a few things that I did not know I needed. When I was enjoying my first Monday off I wandered into the hallway hoping to maybe get another blanket for my bed. I met the women who takes care of the floor I lived on and she was so kind and found me an extra blanket. We chatted about the weather and the city and she ended up giving me a hug when I confessed I did not know anyone and my friends were not coming for another week or two. As I went back into my room I was overwhelmed by the kindness of a stranger to just listen to me and see my existence.

I came to realise that people in NYC are not mean. They just choose more often than not to see past others. When walking in a crowd or just down the street it is easy to ignore the immense amount of faces passing by. The people themselves however are not unkind they are just inattentive to others.

The women who cleaned my floor and I developed a sweet bond. I would see her in the morning and say good morning and then we would meet again in the dining room usually as we got our coffee. We would discuss the weather and if I needed another jacket for the day. Then we would both assume our roles and go about our day. Tuesdays were my favorite because that is the day that my room was cleaned.

Something to know is that I flew to New York with only one checked bag. I was living in the city for 3 months and unnecessary items such as a container for my makeup brushes were overlooked. My desk was usually a smorgasbord of items that did not have a home. One Tuesday when I got home my desk had been rearranged. The women that cleaned it had placed an I ❤️ NY mug on my desk as a new home for my makeup brushes. The kindness of someone that did not know me and did not have any responsibility to me was so touching when I was stuck and felt afraid.

When I left NYC for the summer I realised that I had never bought a souvenir from one of the many gift shops in my neighborhood. I contemplated buying a cheesy picture from or shot glass to commemorate my summer, but I settled on keeping the I ❤️ NY mug because of the kindness and meaning. Now that I am back at school I am realising how much I miss NYC. As I am applying for internships and beginning to think where I will end up this summer it makes me sad to think that I will not be in the city for another summer. I am sure that wherever I am I will be happy, but I will make sure to notice others around me and show a little kindness whenever possible.

Rose Echard