When I was 14-years-old my parents took my sister and I on a major family holiday to New York City. We stayed on the Upper West Side, across the road from a huge food market where you could buy everything from rice pudding in a cup, to toffee apples, to single serve packets of minced garlic. I was captivated by the grown-upness of it all.
The first day we walked outside our hotel onto the wide, leafy streets (me wearing a 50s-style purple floral dress I’d borrowed from a friend for the specific occasion of ‘My First Day In New York’), a woman with three dogs on leashes rolled by on a pair of roller-skates, turned back and yelled to me, ‘Kick ass dress dude!’. Since that very first moment, living in New York City was the only thing I could think about. I dreamed about it. I drew it. I wrote stories about it. And ten years after that trip, I finally did it.
Living in New York was simultaneously unlike anything I could have imagined, but also somehow exactly as I thought it would be. Unexpected things affected me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I hadn’t anticipated how lonely I would feel. I didn’t fully grasp the extremity between the sticky heat of summer and the bitterness of winter. I’d never even seen a rat until I had to run past them crawling outside the trash cans of my first apartment.
And yet, exactly as I’d imagined, walking down the street everyday felt like a movie – in fact – often times you DID stumble onto a movie set. The people were brash, no-bullshit, and some of the best I’ve ever met. Anyone who’s moved to New York goes there for much the same reason, and while there is a huge amount of diversity on every spectrum, those big New York City dreams are the one thing that binds everyone together.
Everyone has their ‘spots’ in New York, and there are constantly new things to discover. From a creative perspective, there is nowhere more inspiring. Here are some of my favourite design-focused spots.