February 2013, Elizabeth Street.
Tell me about your first New York City apt, your first New York City job, and what song reminds you of all of it.
“My first post-college Manhattan apartment was a 6th floor walk-up sublet I shared for 5 months with my close friend Angie. It was cheap. We had both just started our first full time jobs. She was at Marc Jacobs, I was at Seventeen Magazine. We discovered leather bondage masks hanging in the closet. The bedroom felt uncomfortable after that. We passed out most nights exhausted from work folded over opposite sides of the couch, shared Chinese take-out left open on the coffee table. I’m sure this sounds vaguely familiar to many early 20-somethings living in the city, hopefully sans strange fetish garb lurking in the hallway coat closet.
My first part time job was at Canal Jeans on Broadway. The building is now occupied by the Bloomingdales Soho location but back in the 90s it was a maze of vintage clothes, dead stock Hang Ten tees, surplus military accessories and weird pastel raver meets Clueless mini skirts. I worked on the top floor in the Calvin Klein Jeans section. Probably the only uncool part of store. I spent my days folding denim, rearranging stacks of already perfectly folded denim and giving stink-eye to the tourists who tugged at the pairs on the bottom of the stack.
A song to combine BOTH these places in my life? Youthful, carefree, carelessness under the present fog of nostalgia and post-college seriousness and strategy? The Breeders can’t be the right answer here, correct?”
Meet Marissa Rosenblum. She was the first woman I connected with when I moved to New York, on a very rare and coveted “equal-meets-superior” level – in other words, I felt comfortable enough to speak with her about ANYTHING, and she was happy to talk yet still maintained a professional relationship with me.
The people who take the time to help you get from point A to point B in NYC are people you should keep close. I have kept Marissa close for 8 years and we have become very good friends. When we first met, Marissa was a Senior Fashion Editor at Seventeen Magazine, and now she’s the Director of Programming for Refinery29.
About two years ago, Marissa went through a divorce. We were on the West Side Highway headed to an event when she told me the news. Truthfully, I didn’t understand. Marriage is a confusing institution to me, though I acknowledge it can also be a brilliant one for some. But over the course of the following year, I watched Marissa change so much about herself in the most positive way, as if she could finally breathe fresh air for the first time in a long time.
I understood something new by watching Marissa: graciousness. She managed to change and move within her life with a certain ease. While the difficult decisions people make in their lives most certainly have a profound effect on who they are as individuals, Marissa is the same fun, outgoing, and intelligent woman I met when I moved to New York, despite whatever challenges she has encountered. And I love that about her.