Back in New York, over brunch at The Smith with some of my best friends, the topic turned to crazy roommates and first apartments. You see, my sister is planning a move to New York in the fall. She’s my little sister by nine years and my only sibling. And so I’m worried. Worried that she’ll have to live in a roach-infested apartment in The Bronx. Worried that she’ll have to room with a bi-polar narcissist. Worried that her dream of living in the city will turn into a nightmare. Worried that she’ll give up after a year and move back to Texas. And believe me, Texas is a nightmare.

My partner said that I should let her find her own way, let her make her own mistakes, let her figure things out by herself. But I imagined my sister calling my parents from her cramped bedroom in Astoria, sobbing into the phone while her manic roommate turns up the volume on yet another Fiona Apple song. “I don’t want to live here anymore. It’s stupid. Just fucking stupid! I can’t handle it, you hear me!? I can’t!!!”

Oh the blame I would get. The guilt.

Dad: Your sister just wasn’t cut out to live in New York. She can’t handle it alone. Maybe if you had been living there when she moved. Maybe.

Mom: I’m not surprised your sister made another mistake. There she goes again. She needs to think about her future. What was she going to do in New York? It’s expensive. You know that. What was she thinking.

My Sister: I fucking hate New York. HATE IT!!! I’m never going back there again. When you guys move back to the US, you’re going to have to visit me in Texas. No fucking way I’m going to New York.

As her Christmas present, I took her up to New York for the New Year holiday. Since we left the country, my partner and I always stay with my best friend and her partner during this drunken celebration. It’s a tradition. This time, my sister would be with us.

After breakfast at my favorite diner in Chelsea on our first day, my sister and I walked up the snow-encrusted sidewalks to the Time Warner Center and took pictures from the 3rd floor overlooking Central Park. We walked through the park and ended up at The Frick–love The Frick. We then grabbed a quickie Starbuck’s and headed into Bloomingdale’s where my sister was confronted by a very bald, very shiny, Dominican makeup artist who said to my sister, “Darling, you are PERFECT, but I’m going to tweak you and make you even better.”

My sister was delirious.

I had to pee, so I left her in capable hands and ended up on the 7th floor. My God, men have to relieve themselves too, Betsy. When I got back to the makeup counter, sis was surrounded by gay men dressed all in black. My sister is an even curvier Kardashian with exaggerated facial expressions and a drag queen’s persona. What can I say? My partner says, “You raised her. You made her that way.”

After I paid for the lipstick, eyeshadow and God knows what else, we left Bloomingdale’s and headed towards 5th Avenue. I had promised my sister a drink at the St. Regis (where a drunken Goldie Hawn famously had a meltdown in The First Wives Club). Love that movie. “They want me to play the mother. Is this the face of a mother?”

But I digress.

If I thought the snow was bad, the tourists were worse. 5th Avenue is lovely early in the morning when you can imagine a gorgeous Audrey Hepburn in oversized sunglasses and opera gloves wistfully staring into a Tiffany’s display case. It’s a perfect shitstorm when you have to wade through a minefield of strollers, Eurotrash and knee-high snow.

When we finally made it to the King Cole Bar, the place was mobbed. I suggested a drink near my best friend’s apartment. But with not a cab in sight, we walked towards 6th Avenue.

“It’ll be better on 6th. Fewer people.” It wasn’t.

“Once we make it past Times Square to 8th, it’ll be better.” It wasn’t.

We ended up walking all the way down to 23rd Street. I was not happy, my shoes soaked. But when I looked at my sister, she was beaming.

“You’re not upset with the crowds and the snow?”

“No! I love it. I can’t wait to move here. I kept telling myself on the plane I was going to hate it like last time, but I don’t. I want to move here.”

I remembered the first time I moved to the city in the summer of ’97. I would happily walk down crowded sidewalks in the snow, step on dog shit and marvel at the street theater that is daily life. I was in New York. It had been my dream. Now it’s my sister’s turn.