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New York City is a place where the hustle and bustle is alive and well. Everyone keeps to themselves, on a mission to whatever destination they’re headed next. Subways are overcrowded and there will likely be a wait to enter a 4, 5, 6 train line during rush hour.

Amidst the hectic nature of the city, I found solace in these busy streets during the time I lived in New York. My commutes were quite relaxing when I could listen to my favorite playlist, or ride the subway with my nose deep in a book.

Certain things would happen to me that would make me pause and think: only in New York. For example, I was waiting for my best friend to arrive in Penn Station when I found out my favorite actor, Michael Imperioli, was in town. Two hours later, I met him and heard him speak at an event downtown. I was relieved to find he was extremely thoughtful and kind.

When I think back on my life in New York, it’s like a rapidly passing roll of film. For me, living in New York was filled with endless exploration and opportunity; late afternoon brunches with friends; walking from the Upper East Side to Battery Park City; strolling the Brooklyn Bridge; running the New York City Marathon; cooking a full-course meal with a great volunteer group at a homeless shelter and sitting down to eat with them; picnics in Central Park; holiday parties at The Metropolitan Club; fireworks on the Hudson; ferry rides to Staten Island; auditioning all over the city for acting jobs in my early twenties; working for one of the best companies in the world; family day trips to the museums and cooking meals together in my tiny apartment.

Meeting lifelong friends; chasing dreams; work travel to exciting destinations; singing in cabaret shows; biking around Brooklyn; girls staycation weekends; visiting my coffee guy on my corner who knew my name and exact order every day; giving a homeless man my coffee only to have him explain how he was disappointed it didn’t have sugar while we had a laugh; Yankees and Mets games; College reunions; being whoever you want to be without judgment; watching Sex and the City being filmed down the street from my office; lucking out with a rent-stabilized apartment for twelve years; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; going to a Broadway show on a whim; attending movie screenings with actor/director Q & A’s that followed.

However, like all great cities, New York experienced its hardships. Crisis hit when I was living there and New Yorkers would never fail to rally and come together, in big and small ways. These are the moments I look proudly upon.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’m eternally grateful for my time in New York, maybe because it has been nearly a year since I packed my bags and left that irreplaceable city skyline in my rear-view mirror. They say that memories grow more precious over time and, as we all know, things can change in a New York minute.