Stella's Blog

Living Alone In New York City For a Month At 17: Installment I


Independence is something that’s been intertwined throughout my entire life. But never quite like this. It was at work that the idea hit me. Or the reality that I would spend my last summer feeling like a teenager working every single day and mindlessly blowing through summer. I craved something more meaningful. As we get closer to our last days in high school, it seems like the naivety and freedom of childhood only runs out more. So above all, my goal for the summer was to make the most of my time. Ideas flooded my mind of different things I could do, but the dream was to spend the summer working at an art gallery. 

After a couple of emails and phone calls I was able to contact my cousin’s boss’s life long friend and the owner of Ivy Brown Gallery. It took a lot of early mornings at Flanders Bakery to save up the money needed for the rent to stay that month but sure enough I was able to secure a room in the East Village. 

Surreal is an understatement to how the first few days went. The reality of spending time in New York City alone was inexplicable in itself, but to be spending my time in a productive way that opened doors was beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. Every morning I would walk a block up to 14th street and take the L train to 8th avenue. I’d emerge from the bustling subway to the cobblestone streets and quaint bakeries of Greenwich Village. I’d spend my days contacting interior designers looking to buy art, installing shows, working the front door at gallery openings, and listening to the wise perspective of the woman I worked with, which was by far the most fulfilling part. The energy of the city coupled with the routine that renewed me with purpose is something that solidified my need to be in the city. As hard as it was to leave, this experience only showed me what exists beyond East Lyme and what’s out there for me. It’s easy to feel stuck in small towns and forget how different life can feel elsewhere. This experience opened more doors than I could have ever expected and that is what I am most grateful for at the end of the day.

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