midwest to manhattan: good and beautiful

I've always liked New York. Maybe it's because of Billy Joel, Nora Ephron, and Shake Shack. Maybe it's something deeper. The City seems to symbolize so many different things to different people - dreams, achievement, progress. For whatever reason, New York has always remained in my line of vision and someday I hope to live there. Who doesn't have that dream? 

Over the next few months, we'll be having guest contributors here on the site and each will share a piece about life in New York for a series entitled 'Midwest to Manhattan.' First off is Erika Veurink, who recently moved back from Manhattan. Her thoughts are below.... 

I watched Annie Hall three times the week before I moved to New York City. Diane Keaton made it look easy, in her perfectly tailored slacks and her perfectly tailored sense of cynicism. The film was New York for me. I think the experience is common; we all associate a book, a person, a film, a musical with the entirety of the city. Until proven guilty, it serves as the untouchable, exciting "something" we can see glistening in the distance, but never get close enough to touch, or to find that it was all an illusion.  

It's only now, with time and distance, that I can see New York in untainted, honest light. It's a city, just a city. But when you're in it, being carried by its momentum, it's hard to accept it as merely a mass of people chasing visions of what the city promised them when they traded comfort, space, friends, stability for its lack of.

To try to encapsulate something as pulsing and personal as living in the city and then leaving it is daunting. But when friends ask why I left, I reach for my faded, coffee stained copy of Joan Didion's essay Goodbye to All That, that lived in my purse for months before I left. It was my litmus test, my way of taking my emotions and holding them against something. Didion and the way she referenced her "idea of New York" made sense to me, when little else did. It was what Annie Haill never could be - real life.

Disenchanted and tired, I shipped boxes of books home, ate a final dinner at my favorite place with my closest friends, and slipped out for a midnight walk in the Village. As the taxi drove over the Brooklyn Bridge to the airport, I felt not nostalgic, but complete. 

I felt like I was leaving just a city. 

New York is good. Des Moines is good. There is good and beauty and good, beautiful people to be found in any city.

xx Erika

My favorite beautiful things in Des Moines:
La Mie Bakery, after lunch, for an almond milk cappuccino.
Eatery A for too much pizza and probably some pasta, as well.
Pink Print Co. for birthday cards and chic notepads.
Westwood Embroidery for the best monogramming; it’s important.
Fleur Cinema for indie films.
Beaverdale Books for the titles my best friend in NY orders me to pick up.
Five Borough Bagels for the closest thing to the real thing.

My favorite good and beautiful things in New York:
Three Lives & Company for a Saturday afternoon pop in.
Rosemary’s for the freshest pasta dishes.
Maman for lemon poppy seed loaf and cold brew.
Brooklyn Promenade for a nice evening walk.
French Roast for midnight lattes and vintage poster inspiration.