Meet A New Girl: Sonia
The New Girl: Sonia Gadhia
My first memory of Sonia involves her spontaneously playing guitar and singing for a group of us at an ASB (Associated Student Body AKA student council) gathering in high school. A few grades below me in school, I always admired Sonia's effortless confidence. A poise she managed to develop a couple years earlier than most. Case and point: I (like most struggling 15-year-olds) had braces, acne and waist-length hair my sophomore year. Sonia was calm/cool/collected and the only underclassman on our Student Council her sophomore year. And did I mention...she played guitar?
Flash forward almost a decade (okay, now I feel old) and we've both found ourselves in the same city, this time a few thousand miles away from our hometown. One of the things I love most about New York is how it manages to bring people together. While it's a great place to meet new people, it also resurfaces old friendships and acquaintanceships in a way I've never experienced before. The shared identity of "New Yorker" becomes the driving force that reconnects people who may have lost touch otherwise.
Which is why I am so thankful Sonia reached out to me when she was moving to New York. Because, living far from home, there's nothing better than seeing an old friend and being able to complain about that new restaurant that opened up in place of the old Denny's diner everyone would go to after football games...and have them actually understand the severity of this change.
Spending the day with Sonia in her new Bushwick home reminded me all over again of that effortless confidence she had in high school. I would've never been able to make the leap to New York so quickly after graduation, but Sonia did it and has already made an enviable life for herself here. I hope you enjoy her story, and I'm so excited to see her continue to shine in NYC.
More About Sonia
Where are you originally from?
Orange County/Los Angeles. It’s my first time living somewhere outside of California (besides from birth to the age of 2 in Michigan)!
How long have you been living in NYC?
What pays the rent?
I moved to New York for my first real job out of college in Experiential Marketing and Event Production. My time at NVE Experience Agency has been amazing so far. Every event is truly one of a kind, with all sorts of special brand activations and digital experiences. So far, I've gotten to work with a wide range of very cool brands—Amazon, Hennessy, FADER Magazine, Billboard Magazine, National Geographic, and more.
I also help manage social media for a DIY record label that my boyfriend and I run called Spirit Goth. It started off as a way for him to release his self-produced music and it naturally grew into something bigger. Now, we specialize in releasing music on vinyl and cassette tapes for lo-fi pop artists around the world.
Describe your current living situation.
My boyfriend, Josh, and I moved together from California to New York. We are in a 1.5 bedroom in Bushwick so we have 3 separate areas—bedroom, living room, and a small half-room which we use as a music studio/office space. Before making the move, we already knew we wanted to live in Bushwick because of the many great things we'd heard about it as an up-and-coming neighborhood with lots of culture and a big music community. Being surrounded by so much creativity, I feel inspired to get back into music myself. It's a really cool place to be.
How did you find it?
It took us about 3 weeks following different brokers around to find our place but it wasn’t even ready for us to move into until another 3 weeks later. In total, we crashed from place to place all over Brooklyn for 6 weeks before settling into our own place. We went from Cobble Hill to Flatbush to Bed-Stuy to Williamsburg and then finally to our own spot in Bushwick! It was the craziest and most exciting my life had ever been.
Describe your first day as a New Yorker:
We were very lucky to have a friend of a friend offer his place in Cobble Hill for 10 days while he was traveling. It was just after midnight when we touched down at La Guardia Airport. We were in the car with all of our luggage within minutes, admiring the beauty of New York at night. It felt so surreal to think I lived here. We arrived at our first crash pad as New Yorkers, and picked up the keys from the deli just around the corner—I was so amused at how “New York” that was. As we moved on from Cobble Hill to the next neighborhood and to the ones after that, it was easy to take advantage of not having a place to fully call home yet. It was an unforgettable 6 weeks of getting fully immersed in the food, architecture, and culture of New York without having to focus on getting settled into an apartment (although I was very happy when that day finally came).
Describe your "perfect" weekend in the city...
My ideal weekend would be waking up early to enjoy the morning light in my living room, listening to music, going out for some coffee, and then just walking around the ever-changing Bushwick which constantly has new places popping up all over the place. I love walking down Bogart St. to window shop before getting on the L train to explore new parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. I’ve realized I may not ever run out of new and beautiful things to see in New York.
Your go-to local spot...
Supercrown Coffee Roasters was my favorite local spot but it unfortunately closed down. Soon after, I discovered Sey Coffee, also in Bushwick.
Best place to grab a drink?
The Johnson's and The Three Diamond Door were two of the first bars I visited after moving here, usually to rest after a long day of endless walking and house hunting throughout Bushwick, so they hold some great memories
Describe what a typical weekday in NYC looks like for you.
I love the morning time. I try to get out of bed extra early just so I can take it in while listening to the "morning music" playlist I made for myself. Unless it's an event day, which often means early mornings and late nights, I’m out the door just after 9:15 and get in to work at 10, in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. No two days are really the same. My job is enjoyable and we work on exciting projects, so the days go by really fast and I usually finish up around 6 pm. Since it's been winter for a majority of my time here, I usually head back home to escape the cold but often also try to explore different parts of the city. As magical as it has been to experience real winter, I’ve never spent this much time indoors so I’m really starting to look forward to spring!
Uber, subway or walk?
Seamless or cook?
Favorite NYC season?
Best place in the city?
Anywhere with a view of the Chrysler Building
How do you combat the stress of the city?
Lighting a candle, turning on some music, and making a to-do list is generally my way of de-stressing. I find something therapeutic about cleaning and just getting things in order but on a more normal note, I’m just beginning to start yoga at a studio nearby.
What's one thing still on your "NYC" bucket list?
Many things! When warmer weather hits, I plan for many Central Park picnics, long walks with coffee in hand, and great sunset and city views.
What has been the biggest adjustment or challenge since moving here?
There are so many little things I find challenging, mostly because cold weather and being car-less are both really new to me. It seems like everything is a work out—grocery shopping, laundry, and just life in general but that’s something I also love about New York. Overall, I’m still adjusting to just being a full-time, working adult and being in New York makes that a lot more exciting.
What makes NYC feel special to you?
New York just always made me think of sparkles and glitter. It’s unlike anywhere else in so many ways, it has its own unique culture and lifestyle. There’s something here for everyone.
How did you Make it to NYC?
Post-graduation was a period of change for me - I had just finished school, my parents were moving to Orlando, and I was realizing I could begin my career anywhere. During this time, Josh and I went to Switzerland for my brother’s wedding and I think the combination of traveling and experiencing so much exciting change all together really solidified the idea [of moving to New York] we talked about often. As hard as it was to leave home, I knew it was going to be worth it and I'm truly glad to have made the leap.
Shop Sonia's Looks
Outfit #2: Jumpsuit - Urban Outfitters, Black sweater - Everlane, Denim jacket - Tommy Hilfiger (from Worship in Bushwick), Printed scarf - from India (similar), Black boots - Nordstrom BP. (similar) Backpack - Target (similar)