Working in Midtown

A month ago I began working in midtown Manhattan. This has long been a dream of mine – at least since 1999, when I finished law school and moved back up north – but things kept getting in the way.

First, after law school I didn’t have a job lined up. I eventually wound up working for a family friend in central New Jersey, so I moved down there; it took over an hour to get to Manhattan by commuter train. After a year, I got a legal clerkship in Newark, but it was a state job that required New Jersey residency, so I stayed in New Jersey but moved as close to Manhattan as possible: Jersey City, right across the river via PATH train.

I stayed in Jersey City for five years. During that time I met Matt, and eventually we moved in together in Manhattan — but I was still working in New Jersey, as a lawyer for the state.

I looked forward to my next job being in Manhattan, but: no. My next job – my current job – was also based in Newark. I couldn’t seem to escape the Garden State. Eventually that job moved even further into New Jersey; I had to commute an hour and 40 minutes out to the suburbs (via subway, New Jersey Transit train, and company van), but only twice a week; the rest of the time I could telecommute from home.

That was my schedule until a month ago. Our Manhattan office moved to a new space, and it has room for people from my division. My division has no assigned cubicles here, and I still have to go to the New Jersey suburbs once a week, but the rest of the week I’ve been working in the Manhattan office – and it’s been terrific.

My commute is 25-30 minutes by subway. I don’t have to sync my schedule to a New Jersey Transit train that leaves once an hour. There are people around. Lunch options abound — and since a lot of people I know work in midtown, maybe I can be more social, both during lunch and after work. When the theater season starts up in the fall, I’ll be able to meet Matt at the theaters nearby.

The office is newly renovated. It has a nice color scheme. It’s environmentally friendly. It has a coffee machine that grinds Starbucks beans for you. One side has a great view up Park Avenue. All the cubicles are within viewing distance of windows.

It’s so nice to have an alternative to either schlepping out to the suburbs or working from home. Telecommuting could be great, but it was isolating. I could sleep in, but then I’d sit at my laptop in my sleep clothes until noon, when I’d finally realize I should shower and get dressed.

I’m 40 years old and I’ve wanted to work in this neighborhood since I was 25 or younger. I’m so glad I can finally do┬áit.

Better late than never.