It was love at first sight and it still is the love of my life. New York has never lost its attraction, its allure since we first met 27 years ago. I can still feel the same butterflies in my stomach when I walk along the streets of this amazing city. I was born on July 4th, so it was probably meant to be. Growing up in Germany, I always dreamed of living here, but as a student and later as a freelance journalist, it wasn’t always clear if I could ever afford living my dream. Everyone knows that New York is a place where people either live in huge apartments (with their parents) or in closets (with two significant others), but the city is worth every sacrifice. To me, at least.
New York wields a magnetic force over thousands and thousands of penniless artists (talented and not so much), dreamers and visionaries (with and without a job), who come to New York and make it work. New York is one-of-a-kind, breathtaking and invigorating, exhorting and energetic. I am not a Broadway star, fashion designer, publisher or investment banker, so my career path didn’t naturally lead here. I am just someone who loves discovering the world and I was just lucky to end up here, in New York, due to my husband’s job. Like 8.5 million other people, I call New York home now, while for the rest of the world, New York is on top of the bucket list.
With all its facets of craziness, the city is forever bustling–busy, loud, incredibly dirty, flamboyant and inspiring. New York is never quiet and always right in-your-face. I enjoy people watching, and if you are anything like me, this city is the best place to be. There is an unlimited number of people to watch, each and every one unique. You can make up countless stories about who they are, where they've been, where they are going, what they do, their clothes or the snippets of behavior you observe. But this is not what this book is about. I am not making up stories here. Instead, I want to tell the real stories of the people I met since I moved here in summer 2015.
Street Views of New York is not only a representation of my visual impressions of New York and its special places, it’s also a record of the ambition and zest of New Yorkers. Living in New York is unlike living anywhere else. The city is a microcosm of the world with neighborhoods so intimate you feel right at home. New Yorkers, whether by choice or by birth, are passionate about their city and embrace its character from tenement to brownstone to glass-and-steel glitz. For behind it all are the people and the stories that connect them all.
Meet Kate, the musician who bewitches everyone with her incredible voice. Or Gino, who came by ship in the sixties with no ambition but to be with the love of his life. Meet Nate, the dog whisperer, who came for a blind date and stayed. Liz, who knows everyone and is someone you must know, if you are interested in the culture or history of the Village. Meet Gina, investment banker and New Yorker at heart. And Lisa, my stylist, who inspires with her creativity. And finally, meet Esther, who created the “Townhouse Gallery,” which supports talented and penniless artists, as her Mum’s legacy.
These are the people that make New York so lovable. To me. Everyone who lives here could point to a different group of people and tell you that they make up their New York, that they fill this concrete jungle with a special kind of warmth and humor. The ones pictured in this book are my New Yorkers, they make my sliver of New York.