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I never thought I’d make it through, but four long years of sleepless nights and projects have suddenly come to an end. A colorful blur of sleepy memories, marked by countless moments of crying/laughing/heavily drinking every time Illustrator quit unexpectedly and Rhino crash-dumped my files, has led to Chapter Two in my quest to become an underpaid, overworked, sleepy, alcoholic…intern architect?
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I’ve finally arrived in New York and am somewhat settled in a Brooklyn apartment with four wonderful roommates. Though the water in the bathroom is nearly toxic, the staircase is still under construction, and the building’s wiring is a certified fire hazard, I’m happy to be here. (I did sleep on a towel my first night, but I’m going to count that as part of the New York initiation process.) The following are a few lessons I’ve learned this journey:

If traveling by plane, fly Southwest: they let you bring two suitcases for free. (Don’t, however, fly into Newark, despite its being cheaper. Dragging 50-pound suitcases from Newark to Brooklyn via subway was awful. So. Many. Stairs.) When packing your two suitcases, if you find yourself contemplating the practicality of stuffing in your giant fur coat (despite its being June, and hot as hell), bring it. I’ve already used mine in several unconventional ways: the extra furry padding has been known to come in handy, for instance, at 4 AM when my malfunctioning blowup bed remains 80 percent deflated. Fur coat for the win.

Trying to find an apartment on Craigslist will prove a frustrating but endlessly amusing experience. The first apartment I went to check out in person was posted as “A Loft in a Shared, Beautiful and Spacious Apartment.” Seemed nice! Little did I know that by “loft,” the poster was referring to a hand-built tree house in the middle of her living room. The hook: with the $800/month tree house rent came unlimited PBR (she was marketing coordinator). Some may say I’m crazy for not taking this. I’ll admit that it was tempting: if you’re going to be consuming unlimited amounts of PBR, I guess you’d hardly notice that you were going to bed in an elevated drywall box.

Eventually you will find a great apartment, and it’s possible to furnish it for free. I’ve managed to recover a wooden desk, bed frame, dresser, bookshelf, and full-size futon mattress, bedbug-free and in new, or almost new, condition—it’s good to take notice of when the local trash day is. The night before, make your way to the wealthy neighborhoods of Park Slope, where you’ll discover sidewalk showrooms of slightly-used IKEA furniture. Before hauling your finds onto the subway, though, stop for a drink or two at the bars in Park Slope. There are lots of great places there, and a visit will make carrying huge bookshelves onto the train at midnight feel a little less silly.

So here I am here, living the dream. At this point you might be asking, “Well, what about the architecture internship?” I’ll happily tell you about that part of the adventure, but maybe over a few beers? Can you pay?

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