on alphabet city

i knew of alphabet city from the elliot smith song: there’s a name you keep repeating, you got nothing better to do. i know what you are, i just don’t mind.

later, planning to visit new york, i read about the avenues east of the village that were named with letters, and realised that it was a physical place, full of vegan icecream parlours and mythology.

the discovery wasn’t half as surprising as stepping into a yellow cab at jfk, watching brooklyn slip past the window and realising that new york was a real city that i could actually visit, that i had actually found myself in. all these stories, all this borrowed memory, all those movie sets. new york was real.

maybe you know the rest of the story. there was this girl, see.

we watched the city light up from her park slope rooftop. the statue of liberty. a million little lights. the next morning, a soy flat white made by an australian café on the next block cleared my jetlag. we rode bikes to coney island & drank cocktails at the algonquin & walked the high line & became part of the art at moma. new york miracles, & falling in love was as inevitable as it was startling.

& there was this city. new york felt instantly like home, and how do you come home from that?

well, one way is to bring some of it with you. long story, short: she drinks her flat whites here, now, and this month we opened alphabet city, a printshop and gallery on the edge of auckland’s central city.

it’s a different kind of alphabet city, it’s spinning different kinds of miracles, but i can’t wait to see what grows.

20 June 2011  •  3 notes