{memories in manhattan : volume one}

13 Mar

a little preface here :

i have been thinking about my experiences living in manhattan… i’ve been thinking about it a lot, in fact. i hope to make a trip up to the city in june, and so i have been mentally reflecting back on my time there.

i thought i would start writing about some of my experiences. i enjoy writing so much, and yet i don’t do it enough. i try to keep a journal, but my fingers just can’t keep up with my mind most of the time. i’m a much faster and better typer than i am a writer, which kind of makes me sad but also makes me thankful that i can take time to sit down and type out my thoughts when i need to. having said all that, i really wanted to start a series here on my blog which will highlight some of my favourite experiences living in the big apple. some of the stories may include fotos, some of them may not. i don’t have any expectations regarding this, but i do know it’s something i want to do.  and so to honour this desire of mine, i plan to update this collection of memories on mondays.

i thank you in advance for taking this journey with me, and enjoying these memories with me…

and without further ado, i present to you –

memories in manhattan : volume one

i’ll never forget pulling up to 20th street with the half-empty u-haul and seeing my new roommate standing on the curb with her friend and his dog. i can’t remember the dog’s name, but i’m sure ms. judy will refresh my memory if i ask her. i was so eager to meet her, as we had been exchanging emails back and forth for about a month. my boyfriend at the time was living in manhattan and had helped me land this living situation by visiting it prior to me moving there. i met my roommate, miss J, online when she responded to an ad i had placed looking for a roommate/apartment. it was so serendipitous to have her reach out to me, because i had struggled finding a place to live that was reasonably priced and met some of the requirements i had set for myself. of course, i wanted a safe living situation and preferred a female roommate. i also wanted something on manhattan island and i had a certain budget i didn’t want to bend on. ms. judy met all my requirements and she even shared her name with my mother, which i found to be a fantastically sweet nod from the universe. 

i opened the truck door and stepped my foot onto the concrete jungle for the first time, looking up in awe at the trees all around me. it was the 1st of october, and the trees were ripe with a rainbow of colours and the air had a crispness to it that i wish i could bottle up. i took a deep breath and immediately reached out my arms to greet ms. judy. she gave me a warm embrace and proceeded to kiss me on one cheek, then the other. she pulled back a little and said, “in new york, we kiss.” my soul felt a warmth i was unfamiliar with and to this day has not been duplicated. her friend and neighbour then introduced himself and his sweet pooch, both of which i hugged {and ‘new york kissed’}. 

i fell in love with my neighbourhood immediately. the tree-lined street just off the east river had been built shortly after WW2 and was one of the only “complexes” in manhattan. it was tucked away just far enough off the bustling streets to feel like its own personal city full of park benches, fountains, and lots of greenery! right below our apartment was the most perfect little bodega that ms. judy and i strolled into shortly after unloading my things to grab some pizza for dinner. everyone working there knew her by name. the place was packed with just about every kind of goodie one could imagine. it became quickly apparent that this was going to be a place i would frequent – all hours of the day. 

although i remember those very first moments of arriving in new york city, i do not remember much else about that day. my room was already furnished, so it didn’t take me too long to unpack. i had been downsizing my things prior to moving to NYC, and so by the time i arrived, i had packed and unpacked so much it was like a science. 

i do remember the following few days… i pulled out my brand new camera that i had recently bought with money i received from selling my car. it was 2008 and digital cameras were much more expensive at the time than they are now. it was my ambition to make that happen, and sure enough, i did. 

ms. judy had given me lots of information about the neighbourhood, and in true audrey form, i had done a lot of research on the area as to {somewhat} know what to expect. i stepped out into the cobblestone-lined walkway just outside of our building and i began snapping fotos.

i think this was one of the first pictures i ever took in new york : 

my first foto in nyc

i was still a somewhat budding photographer at the time, and looking back at some of the first images i took in new york makes me kind of giggle – as i can now see how much i’ve grown as a photographer and artist. 

bricks and cobblestones along my street

i was fascinated by this tree and the “growth” on it!

i have never seen a black squirrel outside of NYC

i walked around lower manhattan pretty much all day every day, for the first week that i called it “home.” my eyes would not stop wandering, taking in all that i saw, as much as i could. i thought for sure i would be overwhelmed, initially… and i was a little bit, but not in the way i expected. i was overwhelmed with inspiration, awe, wonder, and fascination. i had actually been to the city a couple of times before moving there, so it wasn’t quite as much of a culture shock. however, i hadn’t visited this neighbourhood prior to moving there, and i felt very fortunate to live there, as it was a unique part of manhattan and as i said, felt like a little city within itself.

this was the first foto of a door i had ever taken in new york. little did i know at the time, that i would begin to develop a fotographic obsession with these things. i remember exactly where this door is. when i finally left the city, that graffiti was still there. 

i was fortunate at the time to have enough money saved up from working all summer, that i could take a little time to settle in before rushing off to find a job. i spent the first couple of weeks just getting to know my neighbourhood, learning the subway and bus system, and getting to know my lovely new roommate. 

i pretty much fell in love, immediately. 

i was immediately in love with new york city

7 Responses to “{memories in manhattan : volume one}”

  1. David Armillotti March 13, 2017 at 5:44 am #

    I lived in the bronx for a short time as a kid. Stayed with my aunt & uncle/ cousins. My NY memories: A certain apartment I used to walk by- always had the Carpenters or Stevie Wonder records playing… A bunch of kids stealing my cousin’s bike out from under me, then going back with my cousin and stealing it back lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anthony0358 March 13, 2017 at 6:50 am #

    I want to read all about this journey. New York City fell in love with you too. I feel like I am walking alongside of you as you re-tell this heart warming story

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carissa Gan March 15, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    I feel you! I miss my days in New York so much too. Seeing your photos and reading your writing really brought back all the good memories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • cooking with audrey March 15, 2017 at 10:08 am #

      where did you live in ny? it’s always nice to meet other people who have had the pleasure of experiencing living there. thank you for taking time to read and respond! it truly means a lot to me! 🙂


      • Carissa Gan March 17, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

        I lived in Queens, and I worked in Manhattan so I had to learn to enjoy the long commute lol. Yes, I always get excited and nostalgic recounting memories in New York and speaking to people who’ve lived there before. They say that you can leave New York, but you can never take New York out of you. I’m so glad you had a wonderful stay there. 🙂


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