Old Haunts

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To know that you’ve done your time in New York City is to have recognizable phases. To be able to look back and say, “oh, that was my couch surfing phase”, “that was my living above the bodega phase”, “that was my I had a ton of time and used to walk home from work/go out drinking on week nights phase.” These phases all have routines—kineticly responsive routes, familiar cashiers at the grocery store, Sunday morning rituals—that, as deeply entrenched as they are during the 3-5 years of your experience, become erased and replaced once you move on to a new phase. As quickly as these routines slip out of consciousness, they just as quickly flood back in a bathtub of nostalgia when spontaneity finds you back in your old haunts.

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I rode the M Train across the Williamsburg Bridge this past Wednesday night to meet the ladies out for dinner and drinks and to toast a new month. Walking through the station at Delancey/Essex was like stepping back in time. And I found it funny, as I actually stopped to read the signs to ensure I was approaching the correct platform, that  just three years before I could have traversed the subway station in my sleep.

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That particular stop on the M, and the surrounding neighborhoods (my former neighborhoods), symbolizes a time of extremes. The joys were extremely joyous and the trials, extremely trying. It was my youth. In a few splashes of memory, the time is marked by backyard birthday parties next to the fig tree, Nina Simone records at dinner time and feverish interaction with people, places and things that were all fresh and full of potential (and stories that were written and are still to be written). It was my phase of complete exploration in New York City as an adult, sandwiched between my time away in Korea and my current New York phase—that of blissful stability, overflowing abundance of gifts and gratitude for all that I’ve learned and all that I have to learn. A time when my youthful adventures are behind me and my heartfelt, bold, mature adventures are just beginning.

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I was moved, as I often am when I think about the Bushwick days, to look through old pictures from that time. A tapestry of art making, love, baby faces, best neighbors and growth into the woman I am filled my computer screen and filled my heart. It brings me joy to let these photos—these memories—have their place on Naked City Style as an homage to all that was and all that will be.

Cheers to old haunts.

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