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Looking Back: The NYC Nomad


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2 years ago, I wrote the first blog post of my nomadic travels in NYC. At that time, I thought I might live with different people for a couple of months while I “figured things out.” It turned into much more than that, an indelible experience on my life with images from the people and places of New York City.

I lived in a different neighborhood, with different people, every week for nearly two years!  Towards the end of my project, I realized that as soon as I stopped I’d look back on it and ask “How did I ever do it?”  And now, after month-long sublets in South Williamsburg and Greenpoint and 6 weeks in my new, permanent home in Alphabet City, I’ve reconsidered just that:  How did I do it? How did I move almost every week since March of 2010?

You can get used to anything, and I got used to moving. Almost Every Sunday, I packed everything I owned into four bags and moved to a new neighborhood of NYC. I thrived on meeting new people and seeing new places – on getting to know this city in a truly unique way. I was constantly aware that seeing any place for a week is not enough, but when you know you only have a week, you see a lot more.  You also talk to people a bit more, and through my SoundCloud fellowship, I met and interviewed people who know a far different New York City than I ever will.  (Bernie’s been in Stuytown since the 40’s!)

It’s quite hard to encapsulate this project in a single blog post.  I had over 100 roommates and lived in everything from a tiny studio to an 8 person loft, from a Park Avenue doorman building to the South Bronx.  I even camped one week in Brooklyn.  I stayed with people from the age of 8 months to 80 years old (my 80 year old host was still flying planes) and in 52 unique neighborhoods across the 5 boroughs (map here).  

None of this would have been enabled without some amazing friends and supportive family, friendly acquaintances, and welcoming strangers.  I’m still overwhelmed by the willingness of people who shared their apartments and lives with me. I learned so much, a great deal of which is still being processed.  I’m similarly overwhelmed by the number of offers to stay with people around the world (especially Brazil!).

I want to say thanks, and I’m having a party at my new place so feel free to stop on by if you’re in the neighborhood.  Here’s some more info on the party.

I’ll end this how I ended my first blog post for the NYC Nomad and say that I hope to see you in your neighborhood!

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56 Notes

Listen to my quest to find the most interesting person in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. It was tough, but ultimately I found Igor.  Like many others in the neighborhood, including Anna (interview below), Igor swims when most people don’t even think of going near the beach. He swims almost every day of the year.

Anna - Swimming in Brighton Beach by thenycnomad

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The NYC Nomad in Brazil

Well, I’m not there - at least not yet.  But here’s an article that ran in an airline magazine last month.  So far I have multiple offers from Sao Paulo and an offer to go to Rio and the capital, Brasilia.

NYC Nomad Brazil TAM Airlines

68 Notes

I found the most interesting person in Middle East, Baltimore at the Northeast Market, one of 6 remaining public markets in Baltimore. Mary, whose family has been at the market since 1912, recounts fond memories from her earliest days at the market to the more difficult times when male shop owners stood atop the building with guns to defend the building from arson in the late 60’s.

Middle East is also the neighborhood where a lot of the HBO Series The Wire was filmed. It’s eery now, with many homes boarded up (flickr set here), but the Northeast market is still bustling and Mary and her daughter Loretta still have a thriving business.

Music sampled from Titus and the Raindrops on SoundCloud; interview length (6 mins)

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BedStuy, Brooklyn

added another pin to the Map!  

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Catch Up Post: Longwood Historic District

I spent a week with Ilya and Lauren in the South Bronx

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East Williamsburg is still actively industrial. The hulking Pfizer Pharmaceutical Plant finally stopped running in recent years, but the blocks are filled with factories and warehouses that make everything from concrete to wontons (just follow the shifting scents in the air to find what’s what). If it’s hints of history you’re after, a hike south of Metropolitan will turn up plenty of shuttered giants still bearing signs of the area’s past as a textile and food production hub. Along the way, check out the Williamsburg Houses (1937) - - one of the first NYC housing projects, the massive, early modern complex has been preserved as an architectural landmark.

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