Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Out and About in the East Village

In this ongoing feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village. East Village photographer Stacie Joy compiled today's post.

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!


Anonymous said...

I want to buy her a cappuccino

Anonymous said...

Sorry - just curious...

I thought it was hard to get permission to work in the U.S. unless it was a "difficult-to-fill" job or work category such as nursing or tech?

Puzzled that someone could just move to the U.S. to work in fashion/design (which so many people want to do anyway)?

Anonymous said...

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is!

O brave new world, that has such people in 't!

Goggla said...

Very sweet interview!

Anonymous said...

I have rented a room in my apartment to people from France, Germany, China and other countries and am always inspired by how much they love the neighborhood. They are also way more respectful of this place and its history than the young frat and sorority-reared Americans who move into the East Village. All this to say, Roos sounds like a lovely person, and I hope she finds another nice place to live in the East Village after her current sublet ends. If I was renting out my room now, I would snatch her up in a second!

Anonymous said...

I want to check out this coffee shop. I thought I'd hit them all.

Anonymous said...

I met a girl from Germany two days before she had to go back to America on July 7, 2013. She didn't the money or time to come back to America to see me and I didn't have the money or time to go to Germany to see her. We stopped conversing two years ago.

I really honestly think that had she lived here for another year we'd be two years married, that's how much I was into this girl. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Grieve: How does James find his subjects? Is there somewhere I could recommend or submit someone?

EV Grieve said...

You can email me at

Anonymous said...

Interesting to know how people find their way here now (vs. me in 1981, a friend with a nice (!) landlord) -- good luck Roos in finding a new place in the neighborhood.