By Lauren Baccus
A belly dancer, an ebay addict and a writer all walk into a West Village bar…no, seriously. Who can help but be amazed at the, er, variety that our fair city boasts, all living in some kind of harmonious stew? Every day, even without our being aware of it, we are surrounded by the kind of people one would never think actually existed outside a Law and Order marathon (side note: I’m Lt. Anita Van Buren, the tough and quick thinking police lieutenant with a soft spot for justice). Whatever your passion, vice, or mildly off-putting mania, there’s a place for you here and chances are you’re not alone. Enter Meetup, possibly the best thing to happen to any major city since the Starbucks takeover. Meetup is, simply, a craigslist-like activity board, but if you’ve never heard of craigslist, let me introduce you to a thing called: 2007. Ask around.
Simply log on to the site, choose your city and enter an interest, be it salsa dancing, everything Italian, or good old bar-hopping. Don’t find your particular interest? Create your own, but if you’re open to something new, browse the list of hundreds of groups that get together through the website. The Scrabble Meetup group? I’ll take two please, but hold the Fight Club group; I bruise quite easily.
Registration is free and pretty painless, even for the easily bored and distracted (there’s probably a club for that as well) and the pay-off is well worth it. As large and overwhelming as the city may feel sometimes, there are ways to connect with others and step out of the worlds we’ve come to know, if only for a day or two. Where else could you tap your inner ghost chaser, foodie, or ukulele player? Welcome to New York City.