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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

 

Times Square 1:00AM this morning

Times Square 1:00AM this morning

At the hostel there are lots of people like us.  The community kitchen is full of us in the morning talking about the job search. Some have been here over a month and have found jobs such as car washes and cell phone counters.  I had to retype my resume yesterday after losing my computer and it was a little daunting.  We all hope for a break, we came here banking on finding one. 

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Wednesday I called my friend John who is a worship pastor at Forefront church in Manhattan.  http://www.forefrontchurch.com/  When I met John nine years ago on my first day at the University of Kentucky he said he needed a keyboard player.  The next day we played for a student service and the Sunday after that we played at a mega church service where more people are members than live in my hometown.  The next four years John and I would play a lot of music.  He is good and he is genuine.  He is someone I looked up to a lot, but we haven’t spoken since around 2004.  Wednesday, John met us for coffee and answered all of our questions about apartment brokers, neighborhood prices, and shared some wise words from one Kentucky boy to another.  It was our first full day in Manhattan, and John said his keyboard player was out this Sunday for surgery.  He needed a keyboard player. 

Thursday we called John because he had offered to let us use the church office as a base at Broadway and 21st. With the base came such luxuries as wifi, vegan cheesecake, coffee, bathrooms, and a printer which was all unspeakable peace to the scrappy life we’d been living at the hostel.  The staff has an office near Union Square but the church meets in a theater near Gramercy Park. I read their mission: trust God, love people. serve the world.  I’m in.  

I was trying to get Ashley working and eating cheesecake for lunch when I got a call from an old friend.  Until 2002 when he left for a high school for the arts in Atlanta, Nathaniel I had been good friends.  He’s now an actor, dance instructor, and model who’s been here four years.  When you’re walking in NY and your see someone that makes you think “I need to get it together,” you may be looking at Nathaniel.  Do I really have friends from Kentucky who play at clubs like Lynsey, lead at ultra hip churches like John, and extravagantly act and model like Nathaniel?  Apparently so.  There may be every reason to be terrified but there is every reason not to be.   

We left our new office so that Madisonville could reunite for lunch at Republic on Union Square.  Nathaniel had just had an audition for a commercial and Lynsey had to leave for a rehearsal soon after because she had a gig in a few hours.  Ashley and I were wearing the same clothes for the third day, carrying large bags with everything we would need, and acting like we’d already ate because we couldn’t afford the restaurant.  Lunch turned into Nathaniel showing us more of the city and then meeting back for Lynsey’s gig in the East Village.  Around 11:00 we caught a cab to one of her favorites, Inc Lounge, (www.incloungenyc.com/location.html) which is in a hotel overlooking Times Square.  We sat on swank couches and talked about coming from the country.  It was after 2:00AM by the time we were walking past warehouses in East Brooklyn to the hostel; and between my ten snoring roommates and the swirling mess of hopefulness in my head, I barely slept.  More than the hopefulness, the worry, the snoring, and the weariness was the lingering of conversations we’d had with my reunited friends from home.

I’m borrowing words from all of them, but New York is the way it is because the people here all want to be here. No one is spinning their wheels or going through the motions.  Everybody is driven to madness by whatever they came to do, and there is every opportunity to actually do it.  We share this plight together.  With more success is more rejection. More opportunity and more opposition.  At the end of the day, people work to pay the rent.  And the rent is awful.  But when the rent is paid, you are here in New York City doing what you do. 

Today is our last day reserved at the hostel.  When we wanted to live in Brooklyn it made sense to stay here.  Now it doesn’t. We’re headed to Harlem for the weekend to stay at Lynsey’s, at least until I play on Sunday with John.  We’ll go from there.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take a step.  

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