Miles From One Year Ago…

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

June 19, 2012, Washington, DC: In June 2011, I embarked on a year-long project that would bring me back to each of my hometowns to learn more about the places I’d lived. There were many that had shaped me — from Montreal and Toronto to San Francisco and New York — and I wanted to get a good feel for their geography, their people, their neighborhoods and their pulses. I also wanted to examine, broadly speaking, why people live where they do and what makes a place feel like home. With ample vacation days, multiple frequent flyer tickets, many tanks of gas, several bicycles, and a few good pairs of walking shoes, I covered extensive ground in twelve months. The project, Neighborhood Nomad, is documented on this blog, derived from a love of travel and a longstanding obsession with the power of place.

The study came full circle this weekend, ending up where it started on a Virginia vineyard. And so with the advent of summer comes an opportunity to revisit the year I spent traveling back to my former neighborhoods. I’ve come miles from one year ago, and I’ve logged all of them in hopes of better understanding the places we called home.

Read on for a chronological overview of this year’s travels back home…

Continue reading

Can You Keep Up With This City?

“I carry the place around the world in my heart but sometimes I try to shake it off in my dreams.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald on New York

November 17, 2011, Washington, DC: Last weekend wore me out. For the past few nights, I’ve come home from work unable to write and unable to think. New York is tiring.

But it’s tiring for all the right reasons. In one weekend, we saw nearly twenty percent of our wedding guests, dined and celebrated with immediate and extended family, ran into an old friend at one in the morning, made treks up to Columbia and out to Brooklyn, and descended back into another hometown.

There are so many reasons to love New York City it’s downright exhausting.

If we lived here again, could we keep up? Would our pace slow to a semblance of sanity if we didn’t have to pack it all into a weekend? Or would the city still whisk us away?

Continue reading

Back to College: Morningside Heights

“There is no question there is an unseen world; the question is, how far is it from midtown and how late is it open?”
-Woody Allen

November 13, 2011, New York: I went back to school this weekend. After ten years away from Morningside Heights, I returned to the New York neighborhood in which I lived as a college student. My husband came along for the trip down memory lane.

Continue reading

Map of Mornings: Union Square & Gramercy Park

This is one in a series of morning photo essays documenting neighborhoods around town.

November 13, 2011, New York:  Saturday morning in Union Square begins with a jackhammer, a film crew, a farmer’s market, and a column of steam rising from the street outside L’Express. After a visit to 71 Irving Place for a cup of coffee on one of my favorite city blocks, I begin this walk through a neighborhood I’ve come to know well over the course of a decade.

Continue reading