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Living in NYC In My 20s

I grew up on Long Island, which is about 30 minutes from NYC, and everyone I knew would go off to college and move to New York City afterwards.

It really wasn’t even a thought in my mind IF I was going to also move to the city, it was just what us Long Islanders do after school, right?

Funny enough, when I was little, my parents would take all of us into the city every Sunday to walk around Soho, followed by a family dinner. I dreaded it. I hated Sundays. They were cold, boring family days where we’d spend over an hour in a car to and from Manhattan sitting in traffic, which was not exciting to me. I wanted to be home, on my computer, on AOL Instant Messaging people from school. As I approached high school, the Sunday trips stopped, but the Saturday night limo rides into NYC to go to a nightclub with friends began. I became familiar with the city in a completely different way and rather than dreading heading in to the city, I spent the days leading up to it begging my parents to please, please, please let me go. 

Once college came around, NYC wasn’t a thought again until my junior year. My older sister started seriously dating the biggest club promoter in New York and I was able to get into any nightclub within a second of walking up to the rope. 

Going out to the clubs each weekend was the BEST and the fact that we could just walk right in was even better. We’d get dressed up in our latest going-out tops and have the best nights drinking and dancing until early in the mornings. These nights out were predictable in the best possible ways. We always knew who we were going to see sitting at certain tables and honestly, the nights all blended together. 

I felt so cool and I drove back to NYC almost every weekend to go out with my sister. One weekend, I met a guy at a birthday party who later became the guy who broke my heart and led me to start Something Navy. From then on, I barely ever spent more time than what was necessary upstate at Syracuse and I knew that the second I graduated I would move to New York City.

Finally, college was over and I lived between my sister’s apartment, my boyfriend’s apartment and the house I grew up in out on Long Island. Once the break up came around, I was 22 years old and made some pretty big steps. I got a job in retail, started my blog and moved into a brand new apartment with my older sister. This was the BEST time. Living in New York City, newly single, connecting with my other single friends and partying all the time was everything. 

My best friend at the time (aka my partner in crime, Ania) and I were cute brunettes and every single guy wanted to bring us with them to clubs, so naturally we went. Our nights would start at Ania’s apartment in Chelsea, we’d use our money to buy bottles of Patron from across the street, pregame at 6pm in her apartment, do each other’s hair and makeup, go for dinner, pregame at someone else’s apartment and head to a club around 11:45. If you’re my age, you may remember the clubs like 1 OAK, Tenjune, Marquee, Butter, Lavo, Avenue, Stereo, Arena, Kiss & Fly, Pink Elephant, G Spa, SL and The Darby. Wow, that was so much fun to remember all of those names! I’m not going to lie, this time was not a good look for me. I kissed a lot of guys, I went on questionable dates and I certainly drank way too much. But it was fun and when I look back now, I’m so glad I took such advantage of that time. Isn’t that what being single is all about? Even though all I wanted was to have a boyfriend again so I could move on from my ex, now that I’m older, I can appreciate how much fun single life was. And while so many amazing, great guys were interested in me, I wasn’t into any of them even though that was my biggest focus at the time. Haha! 

Imagine now with work and kids – my main concern during my early 20s was deciding where we were going to go that night and what guy was I texting with. The dates I went on make me cringe when I look back at them, but it’s crazy how much fun that stage of my life was, regardless of the fact that my mornings were brutal because I’d wake up SO hungover or ashamed of the texts I sent or the guy I kissed the night before. But seriously, this time was SO important and I had no idea. I was free, learning about myself, growing up, getting hurt, making mistakes and without even realizing it, all of this was shaping me and preparing me for who I am today and getting me ready for the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t know it then, but the best parts of my life were just about to hit me.

I was 23 when I met Brandon and immediately started dating him. We were basically in a relationship from the start and during this time, instead of going out with my single girlfriends and meeting guys, I’d go out with Brandon and his friends and invite my single girlfriends out with us. I know I said college and right after college were the best times, but this was seriously the BEST time. Brandon and his friends were big into nightclubs, too, and always had the best tables and easy ins. I was having so much fun being in love in the city. I was young, partying and building a relationship with a guy I was crazy about. New York City is the best place for love, the best place to meet people, the best place to discover your career and passion. Turning 24 and 25 were even better. I was dating Brandon, moving in with him, going full force on the blog, but also working in retail, going for boozy brunches on Saturdays and Sundays (because we could and kids weren’t even a thought in our minds), watching movies every Sunday night,  and for us, going out and drinking began on Thursdays rather than a simple Saturday night dinner which is what we do now. We didn’t have a care or worry in the world. 

In my late 20s, everything started to shift. When I was 26, I got engaged. I was about to be married and solely working on Something Navy and can honestly say that THIS was one of my most favorite times. I felt secure, confident and had a different kind of confidence now that I was committed and growing up. The partying winded down a bit and wedding planning began. We were debating between getting married in New York City or having a destination wedding. We chose a destination wedding because everything else in our life would be in NYC. I was married at 27 and pregnant with my baby Ruby at 28. Pregnant in New York City is kind of amazing. Everything is walking distance and if not, anything can be delivered within the hour at any time of day or night. Living so close to my parents and siblings was ideal and having access to the best doctors and hospitals I could ever ask for was a dream. I personally feel like there is nothing better than being a mom in NYC. Pediatricians, hospitals, gynecologists, mom groups, music classes, indoor playgrounds, schools, parks, culture, food, beautiful scenery on walks, the list goes on and I wouldn’t want to raise my girls anywhere else. When I was 29, we moved to Flatiron, I got pregnant with my second baby and rang in my 30s in pure happiness.

While so many people I moved here with after college decided to move back to the suburbs around this time, Brandon and I have chosen to stay put in NYC. We love this life, we work hard to be able to afford raising a family here and both of our jobs are based here.

NYC is my home, my kids’ home and I can’t wait to continue my journey here in my 30s! 



By Arielle Charnas

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