new york city, usa - a manhattan love letter

I moved to Switzerland in May 2014 after almost a decade of living in New York. I lived in the East Village, Alphabet City, Middle Village, Greenpoint, Windsor Terrace. I lived on the Bowery, in Brooklyn, on the East River, on the Avenue of the Americas, on St. Mark's. I worked in Midtown and the Financial District and went to school downtown at NYU. I worked at a German nonprofit, a jewelry market, a juice bar, an antique store, a real estate agency, a financial consultancy. I lived on the F, the L, the G, the N/Q/R/W, the 4/5/6. I commuted by bike, by ferry, by foot, by train, by cab. Mostly I walked everywhere. I ran 10 miles at 5 in the morning before work along the East River in Manhattan, watching the sun rise over Brooklyn, past the women doing tai chi under the bridge near Chinatown. I bought groceries at 2am from the corner bodega. I waited in agony on hungover Saturday mornings for the Indian place to open at 11am.

Like every other New Yorker, I would walk around thinking, I own this fuckin' city.

Manhattan, New York City

After 1.5 years away, being back in the city was like hanging out with an ex-boyfriend who you'd dated for 10 years and his new girlfriend. You know it so well but also... something's different. And it's not yours anymore.

But it'll always be home. When I told my friend Nich I was coming he said, "I'm so glad you're coming home. I mean home home."

These shots are from four days in New York, back in September.

Manhattan, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, New York City

One World Observatory, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

Au Za'atar, New York City
AU ZA'ATAR - 188 Avenue A

Had to get my hummus fix.

SoHo, New York City

Manhattan, New York City

SoHo, New York City

Brooklyn, New York City

Caracas Arepas Bar, New York City
CARACAS AREPAS BAR - 93 1/2 E 7th Street

Dragged Nich around the East Village for an hour (sorry, guy) before choosing Caracas for dinner. Hadn't been since my Chinese-Venezuelan boyfriend took me for a first date. They've been in that building forever, man.


The next night when we were picking a dinner spot Nich's roomie recommended we just walk around the East Village and look for something good. Nich gave me a death glare and said, "I can't take her to the East Village. She has too many memories."

Financial District, Downtown New York City

SoHo, New York City

East Village, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, New York City

One World Observatory, NYC

Downtown New York City

Sorry, potential agency scouts -- Nich was recently signed to IMG Model Management.

Lower East Side, New York City

Chinatown, New York City

Lower East Side, New York City

One World Observatory views, Manhattan
ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY - 285 Fulton Street

These are the views from the 100th floor of One World Trade Center. I spent maybe an hour here, staring out at all the buildings. The tourists around me had weird questions -- "Where is Stuy Town?" "Is that the West Side Highway?" -- and I had all the answers.

One World Observatory

Luke's Lobster, Water Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park
LUKE'S LOBSTER - 11 Water Street

I lived next door to Luke's Lobster's original spot, in the East Village. When a spider bit my eye the night before the presentation of my thesis, causing me to wear huge sunglasses indoors while giving said presentation (and to introduce my presentation by explaining that even though it was the day after the Yankees won the World Series, I wasn't wearing sunglasses because of a hangover), I drowned my grief afterwards in a Maine lobster roll, Connecticut-style.

Luke's Lobster, Water Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Now they have a bunch of locations, including a good one in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Get a lobster roll and watch the ferries come and go.

East River Ferry NYC

And take the ferry. I took this guy to and from work every day when I lived in Greenpoint and worked in Midtown. Nothing like taking a MF boat to work every day.

East River Ferry NYC

People always ask for my recommendations for New York and this is it. Take the ferry. It's hella cheap, there's a bar on board, and you get stellar views of Manhattan.


SoHo, New York City

Chinatown, NYC


Brooklyn eats. Can't remember name of this cafe in Cortelyu. This was the closest I could get Nich to brunch.


So Brooklyn. So, so Brooklyn.

SoHo, Manhattan NYC

SoHo, Manhattan NYC


Thebao and I spent an afternoon taking shelter dogs for walks. They gave us all the huge, unmanageable pits.

Chinatown, NYC


I spent hours watching pick-up basketball at three different courts over two days. I guess because it epitomizes the things I miss most about America: fun, friends, and slang.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you to Nich, Thebao, and Anna for lending me places to sleep, keeping me company, and ensuring I was always full and at least half drunk.

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, NYC

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade, NYC

“You swallow hard when you discover that the old coffee shop is now a chain pharmacy, that the place where you first kissed so-and-so is now a discount electronics retailer, that where you bought this very jacket is now rubble behind a blue plywood fence and a future office building. Damage has been done to your city. You say, ”It happened overnight.” But of course it didn’t. Your pizza parlor, his shoeshine stand, her hat store: when they were here, we neglected them. For all you know, the place closed down moments after the last time you walked out the door. (Ten months ago? Six years? Fifteen? You can’t remember, can you?) And there have been five stores in that spot before the travel agency. Five different neighborhoods coming and going between then and now, other people’s other cities. Or 15, 25, 100 neighborhoods. Thousands of people pass that storefront every day, each one haunting the streets of his or her own New York, not one of them seeing the same thing.”
-Colson Whitehead, The Colossus Of New York

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