Imaginary places in memory

20 years ago I was in New York briefly staying with my friend’s parents while we were en route to Ireland to go to the Yeats International Poetry School. I was 18 and very excited about Travelling for the first time. I didn’t have a drivers license and had never been anywhere on my own. Anyway, the point is, the friend I’m staying with now lives in the same apartments that my friend’s parents did, Washington Square Village, an NYU housing complex. This morning I woke up and crawled out the window onto the rainwashed concrete balcony overlooking a little park and some trees, looked across to the building where I had stayed 20 years ago, and started laughing hysterically.

In my memory that was a super fancy tall apartment high rise. It was so intimidating! Going up an elevator to get to your “house”, where the view gave me vertigo. There was a doorman. Unthinkably posh and big-cityish! It loomed. A skyscraper, fancy, sophisticated.

So it’s funny to be there now in the same place, and to see it how I do now, which is that it’s somewhat run down, a regular old apartment building, mostly for student houseing. Really, a little squalid… and only 15 stories.

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