Happy New York Birthday to me!

Six years later, she’s still Ash in the City.

On this day in 2007, my mother and I meandered through intimidating Upper East Side traffic and managed to find street parking for our packed-to-the-gills rental Suburban. Street parking. And with the help of three best friends, we unloaded all my belongings up six flights of stairs into my first NYC apartment, 316 East 93rd Street.

Those three are still three of my closest buds. Last month Brian celebrated marriage to Nic, this week it’s off to SF for Natalie’s wedding to Nole, and this time next year we’ll be enjoying festivities for Mr. and Mrs. Nathan and Jessica Smith. So yeah, they’re all pretty much winners, and not only in my book.

A lot has happened to me in New York. I’ve seen millions of things, worked some dream jobs, worked hard doing good work in the city, explored most that the city has to offer -though there’s always more to see-, met some incredible people, attended an unmeasurable amount of great (and not so great) theater… I’ve had my heart broken many times, I’ve pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, I’ve met celebrities and been recognized on the street by people I don’t know, I’ve raised the most adorable munchkin ball of fur you could adopt from the ASPCA, and lord, how I’ve performed…. I can’t even really quite put into words all that New York City does to me. When I close my eyes and try to think of it, a sort of Jeunet-esque film drifts across my eyelids with a dramatic score.

And I do live my New York City life as if I’m starring in some film, unseen to any but me. My earbuds provide adequate soundscape as I make use of my unlimited metro card and live these daily adventures, paycheck-to-paycheck. Is there any other satisfying way of life?

Six years ago, when contemplating my future, I couldn’t imagine what was in store. And I guess I still don’t know. I write this from about 38,000 feet, somewhere over Utah. I’m thrilled to spend my New York birthday with my family in California. And this week will be a tremendous celebration of one of my best friends… Did I mention I’m singing and playing ukulele in her wedding ceremony at the film center?

And in less than two weeks, I’ll be back on board the gorgeous Silver Whisper, performing with the Artists of Silversea/Choozi Entertainment for a four month contract, porting in the Baltic, UK, Iceland/Greenland, Eastern Canada, New England/New York, Bermuda/Florida/Caribbean and then through the Panama Canal to my final port, Los Angeles. I feel so lucky to be working in this capacity on something I am truly passionate about, and traveling all over the world! And this opportunity would never had come up had I not been living in NYC and on this current timeline. New York City has truly shaped me into the woman I am today.

So New York City, we have just a few days together next week, and when I return in January, I look forward to…. The amusement of Citibike voyeurism, being asked for directions by everyone, waking up at 5am to blow-out hair and put on a full face for an audition, accepting that my train is delayed and completing another level of Duolingo Italian, crazy kids and their crazier parents at the food co-op, the pride of a gym membership (regardless of whether or not I workout), the joy of my French press in my kitchen or the perfectly tamped espresso at Pepe Giallo, getting tickets to see my friends in successful shows, the pure elation I feel when discussing art/purpose/influence with my acting peers… And the unstoppable and infectious energy of all the incredible people that have blessed me with their friendship.

Like I said, it is impossible for me to put into words what New York does to me. It’s the greatest love story I could ever dream up. So close your eyes.

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4 thoughts on “Happy New York Birthday to me!

  1. Linda August 20, 2013 / 11:10 pm

    So proud to be part of the original day and grateful to spend today with you. NYC and ash, a perfect couple.

  2. Lore Duser aka "Oma" August 21, 2013 / 12:23 pm

    Great post Ashley. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. We appreciate hearing what’s going on in your life. We are looking forward to seeing you in a couple of days. Good luck in all you do.

  3. Brian August 21, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    LOVE YOU!

  4. Doretta Hamil August 22, 2013 / 3:43 pm

    I so enjoy your posts. Thanks you for sharing your joys and experiences. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on what is happening in your life. I wish I could see you more often but I know you are a busy young lady. I love you so. Grandma

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