New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

015 : Andrea Jarrell at the Corner of Prince and Elizabeth streets, Manhattan
Born 1962 in Los Angeles by way of Longview, Texas. Andrea Jarrell currently works as a writer. Why New York? Because I dreamed of it always from faraway L.A. She digs the following Gotham bits: crossing bridges to get there; being shoulder-shoulder with my fellow humans; dogs, scooters, and kids on city streets; elegance; and the mix and the buzz of life you can’t get anywhere else. She is, however, a bit miffed by That all the hole-in-the wall spots are disappearing. For more info on Andrea Jarrell you should send an email or visit www.andreajarrell.com.

image: Brad Rourke

“...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.”

My son and I stand in front of the apartment so my husband can take the picture. Daniel, who is seven, has no idea what this place means to me—a long gone year in my post-college career dreams. We found the building easily after a tromp through Chinatown and Little Italy[1]. But the neighborhood is completely different—chic shops and no more Italian bakery across the street. My roommates and I—three Western girls come to the big city—used to worship the smell of bread baking in what looked like a secret Wonka factory.

I had come to New York over a decade before to work in fashion magazines. But after spending two years writing copy about make-up and jewelry and being surrounded by models, I’d had an inkling I wouldn’t last much longer. Like my apartment, New York City was too cool for me. So I convinced myself I’d met the man of my dreams and ran off with him back to the wide-open spaces of the West. The moment the plane touched down I knew it had been a mistake—a mistake from which it would take me another few years to extricate myself.

I shiver. Our summer vacation day has turned dreary and cold. Daniel wears a bright red NYC sweatshirt we bought hastily in one of the Chinatown shops. He leans against me and my arm goes round his little chest, holding him tight: my own talisman against the folly of my youth. My husband says, “Smile.” And I do.

referenced works

  1. No matter that the island of Manhattan stretches 23 square miles, the two neighborhoods of Chinatown and Little Italy are squeezed together along the two parallel blocks of Mott and Mulberry streets. One one block you'll find rows of ducks hanging in windows, and on the next you'll find green-white-and-red signs advertising cannolis. Chinatown continues to grow beyond Mott Street, however, straddling the Bowery to the East and Canal Street to the South, while Little Italy is increasingly subsumed by the boutiques of "NoLita," which means "North of Little Italy."

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017That's when I knew I wanted to live in New York: in the midst of those fragile bralets and bodysuits.— Ling Ma

016The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.— Tara Deal

015...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.— Andrea Jarrell

014Y'all in a band'r somethin'?— Abraham

013Perhaps it was the lanky teenager with the bright red book-bag that made me think I saw Adam.— Carrie Teicher

012I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.— Erin Fisher

011I glanced up to see another shape hit the sand.— Ken H. Judy

010Vibrating almost imperceptibly in the breeze like a woody tuning fork.— Rob Giampietro

009Then the jazz stopped and the radio said the war had started in the Middle East. — Roland Kelts

008Shirtless Boris Yeltsin’s skin reddens as he reads a book.— Michael Maiello

007Port Authority was there with open, non-judging arms.— Khoi Vinh

006His almost-loss was my almost- nonexistence.— Matthew Rand

005On the cold hard floor of the orphanage, I sang, longing for the day that they would come and rescue me.— Jen Egan

004He was a lawyer, after all.— Kristin Gardner

003The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.— Lorraine Martindale

002We arrived on completely Russian streets, with Russian signs and a familiar rudeness.— Kseniya Melnik

001...the hourly clicking of Oxfords and high heels across the parking lot.— Tam Nomgum


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