It was August in 2000 that I first moved in Brooklyn.
I left my country and moved to New York at the end of 1999, had stayed in my friend’s place in Manhattan for the first eight months, then decided to rent my own place and happened to find a sublet in an artist’s loft for two months inside an industrial building in Bushwick.
I didn’t know about Brooklyn back then, but on the first day I arrived there, I immediately knew that I would fall in love with Brooklyn. (The story continues on this page.)
Two of my roommates were both hardworking artists and their places were so inspiring with full of blushes, paints, candles, cigarettes, photos, strange objects and their art works. It was a huge loft and the whole floor was divided into three or four spaces by walls built by the residents who moved there a few years ago. There was a large cooking table in the middle of a common space.
“We have a secret place. Do you want to see?”
One of the roommates said, and he leaded me to one of doors that took us to a small room at the end of the hall way. In the back of the room, he opened another door connected to narrow stairs. We climbed up and stepped out of a door on the top.
There was a view of Manhattan, shinning with the reflection of sunset sky.
Since that day, I went up there to see the stars at night when I felt high and low.
After I stayed in the loft that summer, I moved into a small room in a house of Japanese artist on Driggs Avenue for a month. In November, I took a bus all the way down to Mexico and Guatemala, traveled for two months, then came back to New York in January, and found another inspiring loft in deeper in Bushwick, sharing with three boys from California for first three months, and then shared with three fabulous creative girls for a half year.
We sometimes had BBQ parties on the roof of the building where most of residents were either artist, fashion related, writer, dancer or any creative crazy people. We drunk, fell in love and together saw the moment that twin towers collapsed. I found artist friends on a bulletin board which was just a wooden plate in front of an abandoned store on Bedford Avenue, and sold my photos on the street in Soho with them on the weekend. After I came back from Mexico, I found a place called “Artland Bar” on Grand street close to Lorimer and the owner let me have an exhibition and a opening party there. Whole neighborhood was a united artist community and I felt connected. The time I lived in Brooklyn was only about a year, but seemed like more things magically happened to me than things that happened in next 10 years.
Brooklyn, especially my favorite area Williamsburg and Bushwick have changed dramatically during past 10 years. I’ve been there often even after I moved to Astoria in Queens, but I felt that the place was not the same as it used to be. Not necessary to mention about the building rush of condominiums, most of artist moved out there and I feel that I’m not a part of it anymore.
I never took pictures to keep memories before. But I’m glad that I took some photos at the time I want to remember now.
I thought about taking more pictures to show how Brooklyn were now, but decided not to do it because It’s difficult for me to photograph something I’m not attached with.
I just want to remember the time and place that I spent 10 years ago. I just want to remember my Brooklyn that used to be.
Things changes. We change, too. I’ve realized that as I’m getting older. So now I take pictures to remember them. I can’t tease myself for that anymore. But I still want to believe that there is something that never changes in this world—–probably love and memories.