A year ago today, I started this blog with a post on the Times Square Howard Johnson's, maybe the first New York vanishing that really broke my heart.
I’d never had a blog before, nor considered it. I'd been writing fiction and essays about the city for years, but never managed to publish. Last summer, I was writing a novel—about an East Villager named Jeremiah who grapples with grief and rage for his vanishing city. Giving voice to my inner Jeremiah provided me with an outlet to express my own anger, powerlessness, and longing. As my first draft was coming to an end in July, I didn’t want to give up that outlet. So, without much of a plan and inspired by blogs like Neither More Nor Less and Lost City, I launched VNY with a memory of HoJo’s.
i kinda need this shirt
As an unpublished novelist, writing mostly in the vacuum of solitude, it has been gratifying to have readers. The blog has connected me to new people, both in person and electronically. It also reacquainted me with New York. For awhile, I’d been turning away from the city, a place where I no longer feel at home. But writing the blog forced me to turn outward again. It sent me out walking and got me to travel around Manhattan and the outer boroughs to seek and find what remains.
Along the way, there have been moments of hopefulness, instances when it seems the soul of New York is still alive and well. I’ve tried to record those moments here, together with the vanishings. The compulsion to preserve, even if it’s only with a few words and snapshots, spurs me on.
Thanks, everyone, for reading. For a taste of my novel, check out the old post Jeremiah's Lamentations. And here are a few of my favorites from last summer: