Tag Archives: 1990s

“My new cell phone has text paging”

Excerpt from the end of an email I sent to three of my college friends on February 5, 1999:

My new cell phone has text paging.

If, for some reason, you ever find yourself needing to reach me so desperately (ha, ha!), you can send messages to me at http://www.attws.com/general/msg_center/index.html.

I think I’m a little too connected!

Love,

Jennifer

Had I been able to look into the future to see Twitter, my little mind would have been blown.

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Celebrity encounter: George Clooney and David Spade

The year was 1995. Or maybe it was 1996. Perhaps my memory is fuzzy on that detail because it’s so clear on the rest.

I was young and fresh. Sort of cute maybe, but not cosmopolitan. My Scranton roots showed. I lived in Manhattan‘s Gramercy Park neighborhood where my rent was $950 per month and my entry-level salary was $25,000 per year. I was poor but somehow unconcerned, a combination of parental subsidies and youthful bluster-slash-cluelessness.

Observe all of the 90s awesomeness happening in this pic

Observe all of the 90s awesomeness happening in this pic

“It will all work out,” I figured each time I put down my credit card for Chinese food, pints of Guinness or blonde highlights.

I took a second job working part-time at the Broadway location of Equinox checking IDs for the cheaper membership as well as the extra money. Once I checked in Michael J. Fox, but didn’t realize until he had proceeded through the turnstile. It was only when his member photo popped up on my computer monitor, that I said “Oh” aloud, recognizing him. He was so little in person.

I used the little bit of Equinox cash I earned to purchase personal training sessions. Of course.

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Juxtaposition

The Meatpacking District of my early twenties was very different than it is now. There was no Standard Hotel and the High Line was nothing but an abandoned elevated subway track. It smelled bad.

By day, the neighborhood bustled with the meat processing businesses that gave the area its name. It was a place of big trucks and burly, gruff men and sometimes, blood on sidewalks. By night, it was a darker place, both literally and figuratively. There were shadowy bars to drink in and hookers, plenty of them transvestites, lingering on sidewalks.

You can see photos of the Meatpacking District of that era here.

Back then, Hogs & Heifers was my go-to spot. I damn loved that bar and was thrilled each time I persuaded a friend to go there with me for her first visit. Each time the bouncer waved me past the line outside, I felt like a celebrity.

Inside, my friends and I drank cheap beer and threw back shots of whatever alcohol was put in our hands without worrying about roofies or worse. Every chance I got, I danced on the bar, full of drunken confidence and a fervent desire to shed the Girl From Scranton awkwardness I bore each day at my entry-level corporate job.

I felt cool for hanging out there, but realize now that to denizens of the neighborhood, my presence already signaled the beginning of the end. Gentrification had arrived.

H&H is still open. It just has different neighbors than it did during the mid-Nineties. Fancier neighbors.

I didn’t go inside the bar on the day I took this photo, knowing what I most wanted to find wouldn’t be there.

Time marches on, and so did I.

On Williamsburg

Did you know that I almost moved to my current neighborhood once before? Yep, during Chicklette in New York version 1.0.

1999 to be exact.

Unlike me, Christopher Bollen actually did so. His essay in the Paris Review had me transfixed.

An excerpt:

#5A was mine for exactly four years, and that time did not magically evaporate in the expected dissolve of entering a revolving door and stepping out of it older, wiser. It was more like entering a revolving door and, by some failure of equipment, being stuck between two segments of glass, a perfect specimen of a confused young man who couldn’t go forward or back.

I decided I wasn’t ready to be a pioneer. Williamsburg was artsy. I’d have liked to have been artsy, but I wasn’t. I was (am?) corporate.

Circa 1998

Instead I got a place in Greenwich Village. No regrets. Those were fun times.

I had big hair

…and for quite a while.

Presented for your entertainment:

I’m the brunette wearing the herringbone chain.

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