The first time I lived in New York City, over one summer during graduate school, I lived at the heart of it, in the 30’s on Third Avenue. I wanted to be in the center of things. I craved crowds and anonymity.
When I moved back years later, I was pushed out towards the river and lived on First Avenue. This was completely dictated by real estate prices. The farther you are from the subway in New York City, the less expensive the rent. I stayed on the far East side of Manhattan for several years and, slowly, I began to set up a life on these quiet edges of Manhattan. I preferred less crowds, the East River running path, the quiet streets.
Now, I live on the other side of the river. In Brooklyn. I live on the ‘wrong’ side of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in a neighborhood no one has ever heard of (the Columbia Waterfront District) so I have to claim a different neighborhood in conversation (Carroll Gardens). I live far from the subway next to shipping containers and terminals and abandoned lots teeming with stray cats.
Today, Tyler and I rode our bicycles along the edge of our Brooklyn, to Greenpoint. He watched the tugboats. I became fascinated with these statues. While there is so much to see in the center of New York, I always point visitors towards its edge. A river path, a pier, a park. The ghosts of people sit here, looking as water laps against the rocks. It’s strange, and empty and beautiful. And there is, in my opinion, just as much inspiration, if not more, at the edge of things.
What lies at the edge of your world?