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New York, When I Was Twenty

If I'm going to write every day this month, some of these posts will have to be photos. But, at the very least, I'll try to pick ones with a story.

This is me, age twenty, in New York:


I moved to New York the week I turned twenty. I was a mess, completely lost in the throes of a suffocating grief following my mother's death. I lived in a little walk-up in the East Village and I went to college at The New School. I bartended at a restaurant in Union Square, and I fell more in love with New York every day.

That first summer I had insomnia. I stayed up until dawn every morning, smoking cigarettes in the living room and watching the light break over the buildings outside the window. On almost every walk I took through the city, I thought about my mother. I wondered if she had walked this same street, or been in this same building.

But even though my mother had lived in New York for almost twenty years, I knew that it wasn't what she would have wanted for me. New York quickly robbed me of my naiveté. The sweet, mournful college girl I was when I arrived disappeared a little more every day. 

That's not to say I didn't like the person that I became over the four years that I lived there. I did. I loved that city like you do a child, fiercely and with propriety. I'd spent my whole life wanting to be somewhere else, and for the first time, that feeling was gone.

I left just after my 24th birthday. Tears dripped down my shirt as I drove through the Holland Tunnel. I was bound for Los Angeles, a whole other city I would fall in love with. I just didn't know it yet.


  1. I’ve always loved this picture of you.

    Comment by Liz on November 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

  2. I love this photo of you and find it bizarre that you are loving New York more each day when I look at this blizzard in the background. And as always, even your most simple of posts, is beautifully written. You are destined to love all of the places you live because of the spirit you bring with you.

    Comment by Zora on November 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

  3. Aw, thats nice to hear. And, well, New York is just amazing no matter the season.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on November 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

  4. Thanks! Me too.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on November 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

  5. This photo of you is amazing – I love this entry

    Comment by antonia on November 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

  6. Thanks, Antonia!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on November 20, 2010 at 10:15 am

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