It's time.

New York City is a territorial place, like any city, but with a fundamental dichotomy between uptown and downtown, east and west, Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Where you are from in New York informs what you are referring to when you say 'New York.'

I have spent 22 years of my life in upper Manhattan, with a quick three-year interlude in Washington DC. When I say New York, I mean my little enclave on Park Avenue tucked underneath Spanish Harlem. My New York is equal parts luxury and squalor, prewar and postwar, integrated and ghettoized.

In those years spent uptown, I have learned a few lessons. One: I am an idiot. Two: the Yankees suck. Three: Downtown is scary.

The first two speak for themselves. But for the life of me, I cannot understand my fear of lower New York. It is undeniably the authentic New York, the 'real' New York using the same criteria Sarah Palin defines the 'real' America. And yet I fear everything below 14th Street like I fear deep water and pictures of clowns (not actually clowns, just pictures).

Perhaps it has something to do with the distance or the fear of getting caught out of my element. I flash back to a particularly hazy night near Rivington Street when a torrential rain pour soaked me to the bone, and something possessed me to abandon my friends on the street and jump into a taxi bound for uptown. Total cost? $32. Anywhere that is $32 away from my house can't be worth my time, right?

But with graduation fast approaching, I realize it is time for a change. Upper Manhattan reminds me of high school, and wasted evenings in Riverside Park and late night hot dogs at Grey's Papaya and deathly quiet walks home up Park Ave. Downtown is something new, something jarring that will represent a clean break from the liminal stage I currently inhabit.

I have spent 22 years in a bubble, and a few months ago I made the decision to let it pop. No longer will I inhabit the cozy confines of Park Avenue. I will force myself to live downtown. I will have to learn what NoLita is. I will have to navigate through streets with names and not numbers. I will finally at restaurants New York Magazine bothers to review. I will experience the real New York - or have a panic attack in a gutter on Mott St. or Grand St. or I'VE MADE A HUGE MISTAKE.

This blog will document my move, my acclimation to living how the lower half lives, and the joys of looking for a job with nothing more than a journalism degree and a smile.

Also, I'm gonna complain about sports.

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