Looking Back: Living in New York

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” –Tom Wolfe


It was Fall 2012 when I moved to New York to study design for a part of my senior year. This particular day, Mackenzie, my classmate who was studying photography, and I decided to walk around and explore the city; open to where the day would take us. We ended up finding our way on the rooftop of a building she pretended to live in just to see the view. She previously did a shoot there so she knew about it, but getting past the front desk would be a completely different task. When asked who we were, she told them she lived in Apartment 3B and gave them the name of the person she was guessing lived there. It worked! And we got onto the roof with no further questions, hoping the attendee wouldn’t figure it out. Times like these were a dime a dozen and what made everyday so unique. 

On Living in New York...

I remember waking up every morning in my brand new 12th floor apartment to the sounds of taxi horns blaring below, never feeling more alive and exuberant. New York allowed me to feel like I was finally living for the first time and no longer yearning for something more. I was full every-single-day, engulfed in a world of art and culture, and meeting the most dynamic people by chance... life seemed to just happen to me. 

I can’t really place specific moments because NY seemed to submerge me into its whirlwind without warning.

The constant climate changes from extremely cold streets to hot and humid subway tunnels.

Speed walking everywhere, even when I had no destination.

Giving directions to tourists, never letting on I wasn't from there either.
Learning my way through every borough of the city. 

Struggling to carry grocery's on multiple trains because I had to have Trader Joes.

Working for my then idol, Vashtie, and getting a look into the New York creative downtown scene I'd always been fascinated with.

From gallery hopping and museum tours, to working in my Chelsea art studio until the wee hours of the night.

Fighting my way through the closing doors of the 7:23am train during rush hour to finish up my reading for my 8am class in the city, sitting underneath armpits and coats damp from the rain.

Meeting a guy one day, one time with the strongest New York accent that ended up being one of the most significant relationships I'd experience years later...

New York is like that. Ready to consume you the second you step foot off the plane. Quickly moves on when you leave. And is somehow always exactly the same yet completely different each time you come... always welcoming you back no matter how long it's been.

I focus so much on what's next; planning my future, goal setting and visualizing that it's easy to forget the extraordinary experiences I’ve already had that don't even seem real now. Sometimes you have to stop and look back to understand what’s possible for tomorrow._

Photos by Mackenzie Rouse


What strikes me about these pictures is that they truly capture one of the most remarkable times in my life. It made me realize how many pictures we take purely for the photo op, the pressure to capture everything, and for social sharing, but not for the joy that moment brought us.