This month is a milestone New York-versary for me: I will have lived in the Big Apple for two decades. It’s easy to construct a rational narrative of how I got here and conclude that I had a plan. In reality, it has been one random thing after another, and it would be equally fair to characterize it as a miracle or a still-impending disaster.
History is always on the periphery of our lives, and what reminded me of this marker was stories about the 20th anniversary of JFK, Jr.’s death in a plane crash. I was packing up my 10 boxes of belongings in the sweltering heat of New Orleans to ship them to the more sweltering heat of Brooklyn when I learned that JFK, Jr., his wife, and sister-in-law were missing.
What seemed a national tragedy unfolded as I left my $237.50-a-month apartment for the last time. Today, it seems more a tragedy limited to two private families, another affable young man who couldn’t assess the risk of his own behavior.
I had thought only vaguely about how I was going make money when I got to New York. I liked to write, and because I had worked at a southern investment bank while in college, I knew (or pretended to know) a little about finance.
I answered advertisements in the Sunday Times classified that appeared to combine writing and finance and went to two job interviews. One was for a job at Risk Waters, a financial-tech publishing firm; the other was writing about global debt at Thomson (now ThomsonReuters).
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