When I lived in New York City at the turn of the last century, I loved to walk home after work through the West Village, the one neighborhood in Manhattan that has still managed to preserve its bohemian charms. In that magical hour after sunset as legions of people made their nightly journey back downtown, I loved to watch the gorgeous old brownstones slowly return to life after a dormant day. Gazing up at the enormous lit windows, I would try to guess what each home was like from the clues I could make out as I walked by: a piece of artwork on a wall, floor-to-ceiling shelves stuffed with bibelots and books, carved ceiling moldings, even the fabric on a chair. As much as I longed to go inside, there was something magical about being on the outside looking in. It was an enchanted domain, and the fact that I would never be invited in made my fantasies all the more potent. I'd climb the stairs to my studio apartment (decorated in techno-chic, don't ask), settle in on my futon couch and order takeout Chinese, still awash in visions of pre-war splendor.
Even today, the allure still holds. Just the other night, after we had neighbors over for a glass (or three) of champagne, I grabbed my camera and took this shot of our kitchen from the backyard. The golden interior light, the remnants of dinner on the table and the blurry outlines of my husband (tidying up) and my son (angling for another Trader Joe's macaroon cookie) gave me the same frisson of longing that I remembered from my NYC days. The only difference was that this time I could go inside and join the party.
Do any of you have the same fascination?