By Stacie Joy
Name: Roosmarijn van Kessel, 23
Occupation: Fashion designer; assistant to Tim Coppens
Location: 6th Street and Avenue B Garden
Time: 12:45 p.m., Saturday, July 2
I am from the Netherlands: I was born in Boxtel, a tiny town in the south. When I was 4 we moved to Nijmegen, a small university city. That’s where I did my high school and at 17 I moved to Amsterdam to start at art academy. I arrived in New York at the end of January this year. It was the weekend after the blizzard. I had my flight scheduled for the night of the blizzard but I couldn’t get a plane so in the end I arrived on a Tuesday night and I started my internship Wednesday morning.
I was sort of nervous when I landed, but happy I was here, and thought, Let’s get a cab to my apartment. I asked the driver to go to McKibbin Street Lofts and he said “Never heard of it” and I was thinking, Do I even have a place? I have to work tomorrow! In the end, I arrived at 1 a.m. and started hours later at my job. That was a crazy start. I lived there for two months. Then, in April, I moved to the East Village.
My apartment is cute. It’s a sublet, and I’m sharing it with another girl. She’s very nice and creative, a 3D animator and she has a cat with a Dutch name: Schatje, which means “cutie.” The first time I heard her saying, “Schatje!” I thought she was talking to her boyfriend. And my room, it’s small, but it’s a good room and I am really happy with the location.
I was lucky, I must say. I decided I wanted to move, and I went on this Facebook [housing] group, and saw this post that was posted three minutes prior and it said “summer sublet, East Village, East 13th Street, one roommate” and I was like, this is perfect! I responded, saying, Hi, I’m Roos, I can stay for the whole period, can I have a look? I got a response, like “Yeah, sure, you are the first one to react so let’s meet on Monday.” I arrived on Monday and she said she had 75 responses within the weekend.
I am staying here until half of August and then I have to find another place. So, I keep on searching, hopefully I will stay in this area. For me it looks a bit like Amsterdam. It’s very cozy, but still we’re in a big city. What I really like is seeing all the people on the street. All these bars and cafes, everyone is so nice. I feel like I know people here, when I get somewhere in the morning they know what kind of coffee I drink. When I arrived I didn’t know anyone.
There’s this coffee bar, called Coffee Project on East Fifth Street, and they’re the sweetest girls. They are making really good coffee. I like Ludlow Street. I go to an Italian restaurant there, Taverna di Bacco.
On [June 29] it was my birthday and I had a long work day, but I was not going to go home without dinner. I went there and the guy who is running the place said, “Roos, it’s your birthday! Have a glass of wine!” I am here alone and it’s not that I can call that many people to have a birthday dinner with, and it’s great that there’s this restaurant that is so welcoming. There was a woman who started reading the palm of my hand, as a birthday gift.
In my field you work very long hours. I start in the morning by 9 and work until 8:30 p.m., and there are days that I work even longer, especially now that it’s almost Fashion Week.
Being able to walk to and from work is relaxing and helpful. When I was living in Bushwick and taking the L train it was adding too much information when I’ve already had such a long day. I need time to process before sleep. I am searching for comfortable spaces, where I can sit on a bench and watch the river. I am happy when I'm close to the East River. Whenever I see the water I feel close to home. I think every Dutch person would agree that when you see water you feel at home.
The East Village to me is the easy village. It’s funny, when I lived in Amsterdam, on the weekends or my time off, I would always search for more energy. Whereas here, with all the energy that’s already here, I’m searching for comfortable situations.
In Amsterdam I was always thinking more, more, more, and here I already get so much, I am ready to just sit for an hour and read my book. In the Netherlands I was always reading English books and now here my mother sends me Dutch books!