this blog has always been a catalog of visual inspiration and a place for me to post about artists and designers i love, but with a big change coming soon, one that will really alter my visual landscape, i thought i would get some thoughts and memories written down here. with more people using instagram and pinterest lately, this blog actually feels quieter and more personal now. storytelling has never been a skill of mine (unlike jenna who writes about life so beautifully!) so these posts might be boring… but i want to get some details written down before i forget them.
we are moving to california next month! after 16 years in new york (and 18 for josh). we are taking the leap… leaving what we know and love to experience new things and be closer to my family. “life is short” we keep telling ourselves as we panic at the thought of leaving. i grew up in san francisco so this is a return home for me, but i moved here when i was 20 years old so i haven’t lived as an adult anywhere but NYC.
i impulsively left college the summer after my sophomore year and moved to manhattan. the university i attended in oregon was not the right fit for me, and even though i made some great friends i was mostly bored and sad there. my family had a small apartment in a high-rise in murray hill (midtown east, manhattan) used for business, and i pleaded my case to live there temporarily while i “took a semester off to figure out what i wanted to do”. i fell in love with new york immediately.
my first job here was working for a nanny temp agency, babysitting for wealthy families. then i was a salesperson and cashier at canal jeans– a huge, loud “urban” clothing store in soho. that stretch of broadway looked so different in ’97. canal jeans was eventually replaced by bloomingdales in ’03, then came topshop, uniqlo, muji, and H&M. but in the late 90s everyone talked about soho before, when it was all art galleries. josh and i were introduced earlier that summer by a mutual friend and he was living on macdougal and houston, and going to NYU.
in 1998 the internet was still fairly new (crazy) and people mostly found rental apartments in the village voice, the free weekly paper. the new copies came out wednesdays, but i noticed the classifieds posted online late tuesday evenings. i was able to snag our rent-stabilized apartment in the west village (pre-war with a working fireplace!) because i was first to call the broker. i wanted to live in the east village but the rent was so cheap. we loved that apartment and stayed there for 7 years.
we didn’t know it, but we had so much free time in those days. we ate at diners open 24 hours… at yaffa cafe on st. marks, caffe reggio, veselka, mamoun’s falafel, and john’s pizzeria. our friend nick worked at sacred chow, a vegan place, and he gave us lots of free tofu. there were so many music stores– mondo kim’s, bleecker street records, tower records, rocks in your head, other music, and rebel rebel. i would browse through racks of vintage clothes at starstruck, atomic passion, domsey’s, cheap jack’s, and the flea markets in chelsea. we’d see movies at angelika, or the NYU cantor film center, or a dirty theater in midtown that had showings of older releases for only $2. we saw bands play at arlene’s grocery, lakeside lounge, CBGB’s, tramps, brownies, and coney island high. most of those closed in the last decade as downtown NYC got fancier and wealthier and rents sky-rocketed.
with help from my dad, i got an interview for a “real job” in 1999, for an assistant positon at girbaud, a french denim line with a US office in the empire state building. i was hired, and when their graphic designer quit, i asked to stay late and take on extra work that was unfinished in his absence. they promoted me to junior graphic designer.
ok, i’m going to continue this in another post!
(top photo: josh on east 7th, bottom photo: outside our hudson street apartment)