A vague expectation lingered in the air after we were offered the opportunity to go to New York and stay at an acquaintance's apartment in the city. A friend and I had been itching to get out of the sleepiness of suburbia, and head to the City that Never Sleeps. My slow season underway, I thought it would be wise to take a long weekend to get away from the monotony and return to a place that has always brought a sense of inspiration and life. We booked our flights, started making lists of sites and restaurants, and planned our way to the Big Apple, excited but unsure of what our week would look like due to all of the uncertainty of the trip.
When we would meet up for coffee to discuss our itinerary, I couldn't help but address my issue with expectation when it came to where we were staying, how we wanted to get around, and how much money we were willing to put into the trip. I envisioned us in a modern loft apartment in the Upper East Side of the city, overlooking Central Park, eating out at the trendiest spots in our fur coats and Prada shoes (neither of which I own…), laughing with Jay-Z and Neil Patrick Harris over cocktails, and taking New York by storm. My how television has skewed my perception…
Or on the other hand, I would envision us in a 400-square foot closet of an apartment in Brooklyn Heights or Dumbo, wedged between a rail line and a rundown Chinese restaurant turned meth lab, freezing our southern butts off, and dodging pickpockets who could tell we were not from the area.
We were given an address, and despite our research of the area, there wasn't much to fill us in on our final destination in Gramercy Park. And being the "realist" that I am, I was prepared to spend a week in a closet apartment with my best friend, all while fervently praying that we would come back to the South with our friendship still intact.
A few flight changes and a taxi ride later, we arrived at *undisclosed location.* The doorman took our bags (read: struggled to get my 50-pound body bag through the door and down the stairs…), and we hesitantly followed him. We walked through a maze of art exhibits, show rooms, and elegant halls filled with the paintings and photographs of famous people, entered an elevator and found ourselves on the 14th floor with only a red door standing between us and our shattered or exceeded expectations.
Behind the red door…a beautiful display of art, of light, of gold, of reflections, of culture, and just utter surprise. Essentially walking into a private museum of paintings, studio space, furniture and collectibles from all over the world, I remembered to "keep my cool" while the doorman led us through room after room of elegance and, yes, exceeded expectations.
After settling into our home for the week, we were able to soak in the embellishments, the displays of pastels and paints, the sheer grandiosity of the two-story living room window that lit up the gold walls every afternoon. With views of the Chrysler Building at the front, and surreal sunsets over the Williamsburg Bridge at our rear, it was safe to say that neither of us had prepared for such a place to settle. And it took days for us to accept that we had in fact been blessed greatly in regards to our accommodations, despite how undeserving and out of place we felt.