10 years ago..
Washington Square Park West, September 2009.
We were two of seven hundred freshman arriving bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to NYU’s Hayden Hall. Victoria was from Atlanta and found herself in a room on the coveted 16th floor with a beautiful Empire State building view. The 16th was no ordinary floor. It housed the kin of both Bono and Denzel Washington, as well as Jordan Breslauer and Kevin Lee (real heavy hitters). I was a Bostonian with a railroad-style room on the third floor overlooking a literal brick wall. Despite coming from (and residing in) different worlds, Victoria and I began building a friendship over the course of our first year together at NYU.
It wasn’t until we returned for our sophomore year that things started to escalate. We both found ourselves in the ever glamorous Gramercy Green dormitory, but this time, I was in the penthouse and young Victoria was relegated to the 4th floor (how our fortunes had turned). In classic welcome week fashion, the boys of PH05 decided to throw ourselves a little party. Maybe it was the new digs, perhaps the abundant FourLoko, or simply fate itself, but that night Victoria’s and my friendship became something more.
Things moved quickly from there. Our first real date was at Spice Market in the Meatpacking district (nailed it). We’d later take the train uptown for a night of Jazz at Lincoln Center to see and hear two legends, Wynton Marsalis and Roy Haynes. As college kids with flexible schedules, we quickly became inseparable….walks through the village, afternoons in the park, HAWT DAWGZ at Papaya Dog. Manhattan was our oyster and, soon enough, we discovered our blossoming romance bonded within us a love of food that has since spanned three continents and a dozen+ countries over 10 years. We ate well. Samosas in Curry Hill, Pizza on Prince St., Budae-Jigae in K-Town, Omakase in the West Village, Soup Dumplings in Chinatown, Steak at Bowery Meat, Pasta at Osteria Morini, Pastrami at Katz’s, Ramen at Ippudo, Adobo at Grill 21, Maharlika, and Jeepney, and the list went (and continues to go) on and on.
As we fell in love, eating our way around the city, an uncomfortable feeling welled up inside of me (no, not indigestion). I’d be heading to London to study abroad a mere three months after we started dating and a decision loomed. Would we stay together despite the distance, or would we break up and catch up after the semester? After many long nights (and a romantic last minute trip to NYC to be together), Victoria and I made the best decision of our lives…we’d stay together and give long-distance a shot. Distance did indeed make the heart grow fonder, and in the end, Victoria and I stuck it out.
Over the next few years – through college and into the real world – we faced our fair share of challenges, but our relationship and love for each other continued to grow. We always took things slowly, and because of that, experienced so many phases of our lives together. I can’t imagine New York without her; she’s my favorite travel companion and the ultimate eating buddy. She’s kind when I’m grumpy, she has patience when I’ve got none. She makes the world a better place, and I can’t believe I get to call her my wife. We can’t wait to celebrate all our years of love with you by our side.