Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Always a Tourist

In the summer of 2008, I moved to Manhattan to be an editorial intern at Fortune Magazine. The internship was two months long, and I moved into the spare room of my boyfriend's brother's apartment in the lower East Side. The apartment fulfilled all the stereotypes I had about New York City living. My designated living space was also part of the kitchen, and I slept on a lofted bed which overlooked the top of the fridge and beyond that, the stove. Up on that bed I had a stack of books and an alarm clocked wedged in one corner, a small box television perched on the edge of the window sill, and two huge body pillows resting against the guard rails, for added cushioning. It was claustrophobic but had character, and was perfect for my brief stay in the big city.

Among that stack of books on my bed was my Not For Tourists Guide to New York City, which became an extension of me during my two months in Manhattan. I had lived in Boston for two years by then, but was immediately a bit wary of New York City life. I was most intimidated by the many subway lines, a mix of colors and letters and numbers all tangled into a large knots on the poster sized subway maps. That was what drew me to the NFT guide in the first place.  The NFT Guide divides a city into sections, with their own rectangular maps. They give you the same map a few times, each map highlighting something different - the area's transportation, entertainment, essentials and sundries. I could go the neighborhood I was in and orient myself, and then go to transportation page, find the closest subway stop, and flip to the back and see how far that line stretched. The book was handsome, black and pocket-sized, perfectly suited for what I was: not exactly a tourist.

You can see a picture of my ridiculously tiny Manhattan apartment and read the rest of this post at our blog on the

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