Summer and the City

I honestly don’t know how to start this one; a lot has happened in the nearly two months since I last posted. First and foremost, I moved back to New York for my second summer here, and I’ve started my internship at Vogue. I feel so fortunate to have the incredible opportunity to be at the heart of the fashion industry, if only for three months. That being said, I have made the conscious decision not to write about my job, or share information about the company or any of the people that work there. So you won’t hear much about Vogue itself; I hope thats not too disappointing.

I moved into an apartment in East Village-adjacent Stuytown on May 21st. I have four roommates (also college students), because otherwise none of us could afford to live in such a nice location. Living in Stuytown is like living in a park, its full of squirrels and trees and birds. From what I can tell, its mostly inhabited by middle-aged dog-owners and young couples with children. Its essentially a little suburban idyll in the middle of Manhattan, except I’ve never seen a suburb made out of high-rises.

This is the view from the window of the room that I share with my dear pal Charlotte. That is legitimately a fountain in my backyard, one thats surrounded by park benches. We have a freakin’ farmer’s market on Sundays! Its an NYC miracle.

This is my room from when I first moved in. None of my roommates had moved in yet, so it was pretty bare. But just look at those hardwood floors. However, beautiful as the apartment is, I’m rarely here. I’m either at work, or out with friends, or at my boyfriend’s place. As a result, after a few weeks living here, my area of the room had come to resemble a life-raft surrounded by flotsam.

This is how it looks on a good day. I even sort of made the bed, despite not having any sheets which fit this mattress. Also, you may have noticed that my bed appears to be kickin’ it footloose and bedframe-free. That is because what you are seeing is, in actuality, a memory foam pad from IKEA. Its my very own Swedish-made island in a sea of parquet and random crap that I shouldn’t have brought with me.

You can’t tell from looking at my space, but when I packed I really did make a concerted effort not to bring too much stuff. I’m flying straight from NYC to the UK at the end of the summer to visit my family, so I can’t really have anything here that can’t come on a plane with me. But despite intellectually knowing that I have to travel/pack light, I somehow keep accumulating more stuff. This is especially impressive considering that I’m flat broke, and didn’t think I would be able to afford anything more substantial than a MetroCard. However, as previously mentioned, I am in the process of dipping my toes in the fashion industry. This is a business renowned for its freebies, and access to it may prove to be my Achilles heel. I just can’t turn free stuff down, especially not when its such good stuff! Between hand-me-downs, re-gifted stuff from work, and prop left-overs, I’ve acquired at least one additional carry-on in swag.

About a week after I got to New York, my boyfriend’s stepmom very generously gave me a bunch of her designer hand-me-downs. She works in fashion, and wanted to bolster my confidence for the start of my internship with a few nice pieces that she doesn’t wear anymore. She also apparently has an uncanny ability to tell which labels I covet the most. This Allsaints leather jacket had been on my radar for a while, as something I might invest in one day down the road. Inheriting this was a total kismet moment for me; it even fits me perfectly.

I’m equally excited about this Prada jacket. Its a very lightweight, angular piece that looks particularly cute with floaty, girly summer dresses. It has the look of a motorcycle jacket, but its done in heavy linen, making it more weather appropriate.

She also gave me a variety of oversized cashmere sweaters. This teal one is from Ernest Sewn, and is long enough to wear as a dress in the winter. Or even on a chilly summer night, if this heat wave ever breaks.

This purple waffle-woven one is by White + Warren. Its very cute and comfy, more of tunic length than the green one.

This is possibly my favorite sweater of the bunch. Its a little tan cardie from Marni, and its both cozy and versatile. It works well for all seasons and goes equally well with a dress or with jeans. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and I’ve already gotten a lot fo use out of it.

She also gave me another Marni piece, a little sleeveless blouse in approximately the same color scheme as the cardigan. Its a bit too big for me, but it has an airy, ethereal look to it that only benefits from it being oversized. 

She also gave me this beautiful black Vera Wang dress. This is another item that is a tad roomy on me, but I’m planning on having it altered to fit me better in the near future.

This particular freebie actually came from work. My bosses get gifts from brands every now and then, way too many for them to ever use. These extras are either donated to charity, or occasionally given to an intern. This Isaac Mizrahi scarf was one such item, and I happened to be the lucky beneficiary. Its a lovely color, and a perfect weight for a summer scarf.

Last but not least are a couple of extra props from a shoot that I was on. We had tons of leftover flowers, so I claimed a big bunch of orange and red daisies, which looked gorgeous and summery for about a week. I also got this pseudo-retro phone that plugs into your iPhone. This is great, because I never would have gone to Urban Outfitters and bought one for fear of looking like a tool, but I would have always secretly wanted it.

All in all, I’ve been good about resisting the temptation to buy everything in this ridiculously expensive city. However, I haven’t been perfect, I have slipped up a couple of times and actually purchased some things. Including:

This cashmere Armani sweater, picked up at Newbury Street consignment store The Closet before I left Boston. The store specializes in second-hand designer goods, but most of the stock is still well out of my price range. I found this at the back of the store, semi-buried and priced at $33 thanks to a small hole in the shoulder. I haven’t had a real chance to wear it yet, but come winter its likely to be my go-to garment.

These exceedingly awesome yellow suede shorts. I got them at a nearby thrift store for twenty bucks, and they were worth every penny, despite being two sizes too big and their tendency to shed yellow dust everywhere. I’m making them sound heinous, but they’re actually perfect.

Here we have another twenty-dollar item, purchased at that poor girl’s paradise, Forever 21. Consider this visual evidence of me jumping on the maxi-dress trend and the red-orange trend simultaneously. Actually, I was already a pretty big fan of this particular color, as indicated by my love affair with my YSL Le Orange lipstick. But I’ve always been wary of maxi-dresses. Wear it wrong and you look pregnant or chubby or like you’re wearing a muumuu. This is particularly true if you’re short like me. But I think that this one has enough shape and natural airiness to be a safe option.

These were my most expensive and my most practical purchase of the summer. My job involves a lot of running around, and I quickly gave up on heels in favor of something more comfortable. I bought these granny shoes (meaning arch support, cushioned instep, etc) at the Memorial Day sale at DSW, for fifty bucks. In my broke world, this constitutes a real financial investment, but they were well worth it. I wear these shoes literally every day, to the point that they are starting to fall apart. But I wouldn’t trust any other shoes to bring me to a far-flung design house and back again in one piece. Prada, I’m looking at you.

I think that might be it, as far as new goodies are concerned. I’ve had a lot of other adventures over the course of the summer so far, but I’ve never been very good at the photo-journalism side of socializing. I shopped at the Greenpoint Smorgasbord flea market, saw jellyfish at the Museum of Natural History, and celebrated a west-side Fourth of July without documenting any of it. I just don’t have that many pictures of my escapades. However, I went through my phone, and tracked down a few snapshots of the summer so far.

These two shots are the view from the balcony at my boyfriend’s dad’s apartment. Top is the surprisingly pretty panorama of Jersey City across the Hudson, while the bottom photo shows the harbor, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance

This is a similar shot of Jersey City, but taken from Luke’s mom’s place, since both of his parents live in Battery Park City. From her apartment, you also get a view of the exceptionally lovely Riverside Park that stretches along the Hudson.

A couple of photos from my almost-nightly walk back to the R train. The top shot shows the  Freedom Tower in progress from the West Side highway, while the bottom photo shows City Hall from across the park in Tribeca. I’m glad that when I walk around NYC after dark, its almost exclusively in this neighborhood.

During the day however, I tend to be in a million different neighborhoods, going on errands for work. This is a photo I took on the West Side, slightly north of Chelsea, while heading to a PR firm by the river. I’m a little bit in love with the gorgeous, greenery-covered townhouses that populate this area of the city.

This is probably my favorite photo of all. It shows the harbor near the World Financial Center, in the BPC area once again. I was hanging out with my boyfriend, eating ice cream from Shake Shack and enjoying the sunny day. I think I like the photo so much because a) its a happy, relaxing memory, and b) it almost makes it look like I have some kind of skill as a photographer, rather an iPhone camera and a lucky shot.

I think that might be all for now, but I’ll try to keep my camera more at-the-ready over the next few weeks so that I have some substance for whatever I end up writing at the end of the summer, once this is all over. However, I have a feeling that whatever I write then will have a lot more to do with my upcoming trip to England than with my apparently never-ending NYC stories.