Background: Sprawling complex built on an asteroid, including dock and repair facilities. When the Romulans found the U.S.S. Confederate adrift on their side of the border they towed it back to the facility, which is relatively close to the border. Starfleet Intelligence operatives later made their way into the station, diverting ships away from the station and stole the Confederate.
Appeared in Star Trek: Unlimited #4, Marvel Comics
I wish I had a more romantic reason for moving to New York.
I wish I arrived by boat in tattered clothes with only a single, sparsely-stuffed suitcase, barely big enough to fit all of my hopes and dreams.
I wish I got off a bus at Port Authority, surrounded by mist and smoke, armed only with my wildest ambitions, intent on walking straight to Broadway, where I would personally hit the switch that ignites the brightly lit billboard broadcasting my soon-to-be wildly successful one-man show, Just Matt, my name dazzling and brilliant on the landscape of Times Square.
I wish I ended up here by means of some dramatic escape, packing only a knapsack on a stick, finding my way to the city to start a new life under an assumed name, Ethel Cranberry, a candlestick maker’s apprentice, who falls in love with the baker boy from across the street who, it turns out, is actually the nephew of some distant prince, and the heir to a vast fortune. We fall in love and are rich and happy.
Unfortunately, none of this is true, and the real story of my first days in New York City is far less exciting, if it’s exciting at all.
What is true is this: 30 months ago, I was offered a job at BuzzFeed and, in less than four weeks’ time, I moved to New York, a city I’d never once visited or seen outside of a movie or television screen.
I had no preconceived notions of the city, other than knowing that this is where you go if you want to work in magazines, which is what I wanted to do. (Specifically, I wanted to work at Runway magazine as Miranda Priestly’s executive slave, except I had neither the experience, nor the wardrobe. Also, she wasn’t real.) I had only the vaguest sense of what New York would be — rude, I was told, and expensive and dirty and fast. I didn’t know where my apartment would be (my roommate graciously did the searching for us both before I’d even arrived.) I didn’t know where my office would be. I didn’t know where people got food from. Or where they got alcohol from. Or that I wasn’t supposed to admit that I liked Glee.
But this is where I’ve ended up, however unromantically and cluelessly it happened. I’d like to think, 30 months later, that I’ve learned some of the things I didn’t know before. (I still don’t know where I work. I just show up to an office I’ve constructed out of cardboard boxes in an alleyway behind Home Depot, type nonsense into a computer and somehow a paycheck is deposited into my bank account twice a month.)
But I do feel confident in having learned these 5 important things in those first innocent, admittedly boring weeks:
1. Apartment windows don’t come with screens. A seemingly unimportant fact, but significant to note when, in the throes of New York’s vicious summer heat, you innocently leave your window open overnight, and wake up to discover that a promiscuous squirrel has taken the liberty of entering your home and feasting upon the freshly baked sugar cookies you’d left on your kitchen table, leaving only a mess of crumbs and three subtle footprints in the dust on the windowsill to indicate he’d been there at all. Fortunately, hardware stores sell the very screens you need to prevent enemy squirrels from breaching the sanctity of your baking space again. A screen will not, however, prevent the squirrel from returning to your windowsill with the bounty he’s stolen from elsewhere and eating it while maintaining fierce eye contact with you from outside.
(Sub-lesson 1a: New York squirrels are incapable of experiencing fear.)
2. Nobody truly knows where they’re going, where they are, or where they will be 5 minutes from this moment. During my first foray into the New York City subway system, I unwittingly traveled 30 minutes in the wrong direction, having taken directions from a woman who clearly had no sense of her own whereabouts, let alone mine. (Sub-lesson 2a: Nobody knows anything.) The next day, I reversed whatever I did the day before and somehow still ended up in the same misguided direction.
There is no profound lesson here, other than nobody knows anything, least of all me.
3. Food is endlessly available, as are open bars, and you will throw up because of it. My diet during those first 3 months in New York City consisted of ham tortillas — a delicacy I created myself by placing sliced deli ham on a whole wheat tortilla with a dollop of mayo and a slice of American cheese — corn muffins, and Progresso soup. This was before I discovered that ordering food is not just a habit in New York City, but a way of life. I have since become good friends with the men who deliver the many cuisines I enjoy daily.
There are also, it turns out, more events willing to give away alcohol than those willing to charge you for it, usually because anybody planning anything in New York City knows that they are competing with a hundred other events for your attention, and that your attention is easily persuaded by free alcohol.
This, of course, is a dangerous offer, but you will take it often. And it will, unfortunately, result in the destruction of your bedsheets, as alcohol comes out of you as freely as it goes in.
4. Every bad thing that happens in New York City happens in an elevator. Everything in this city is tall, obviously, and often only accessible by elevators, which are usually too small to fit the crowds that need them. On my first full day here, I traveled around carrying a pair of overstuffed suitcases. I crammed into an elevator that didn’t fit me and knocked a woman’s iPod clearly from her hands. I couldn’t tell her that I was doing her a favor by destroying a piece of technology that had long gone irrelevant, because she was too busy screaming for an apology I had barely a chance to give her. She screamed. I fake cried. I'm lucky to have survived that elevator ride, and every one I’ve taken since.
5. New York is, in fact, romantic, no matter how you get here. The truth, of course, is that New York is glamorous, even though it’s old and nauseating and mean. The unique charm of New York City is that, even though it’s crowded and overpriced and full of mean, thieving squirrels, even though you arrive here by crowded plane in a disgusting airport, even though it is truly unbearable, you still want to invent a fantasy where this pile of garbage is the glistening city you were waiting for.