August 14th, 2019
Each time I view this photo, I notice something different. Sometimes it's the way the clouds appear to still be moving across the sky; other times it's the flag in the distance; and today, my mind is filled with thoughts of what it might feel like to stand out on one of the balconies on the other side of the building, and to look out over Spuyten Duyvil Creek with a cup of Earl Grey tea on a cool and crisp November morning. Alex caught the photo almost two years back, while we were spending a morning with Megan Cossey at home in her apartment in Marble Hill, and speaking with her for Issue No. 2 - Autumn 2017.
Cossey's short story, "Fathers & Mothers, Sisters & Brothers," appears in the issue, and on that particular Sunday in November, she closed our chat with a reflection on her relationship with the apartment, its casement windows, and where she might move to if she ever left New York.
The entire interview, along with Cossey's story, can be read within Issue No. 2, and an except from the close of the interview appears below.
- Isaac Myers III
Isaac: What was your high school mascot in Crystal River, Florida?
Megan: The Pirates!
Isaac: What were the colors?
Megan: Blue and gold.
Isaac: How many students?
Megan: I think our graduating class was 150.
Isaac: 150 students?
Megan: Why, is that a lot or a little?
Isaac: Very few.
Isaac: Who were your rivals?
Megan: Our rivals were Lecanto High school, the Panthers, but we called them the Dirt Farmers.
Megan: Because they made Crystal River look like a metropolis. Lecanto was literally a post office.
Isaac: You said Dirt Farmers?
Megan: Yeah, it’s what we called them. And then Citrus High School . . . I can’t remember what they were. I wasn’t that into sports.
Isaac: Out of the 150 students, do you keep up with anyone?
Megan: Yeah! I had my twentieth high school reunion a few years ago, and then because of Facebook, I’m in touch with a ton of people now. It’s been interesting. It’s been nice. Before that I was only in touch with a few close friends who I grew up with. I’m in touch with a lot of people now. It’s fun to keep tabs on people who you thought you’d never see again. It’s been good, because I’ve gotten to know people in a way that I’ve never known them before, or people who I lost touch with while in high school, because of social groups or whatever. It’s just nice to reconnect with them, and learn about their families and what they’re up to.
Isaac: Have you gone back to campus at all, and done donuts in the parking lot?
Megan: No, I don’t like to go back. I don’t like to look back.
Isaac: But you have been back, right, your parents live there?
Megan: Yeah, I go back twice a year.
Isaac: So what do you do?
Megan: I don’t know. What does anyone do when they go home? There’s not much to do. It’s a very small place. Well, Leo is older now, so I take him swimming. I think he swam with the manatees once. I think when he’s ten I can take him diving. It’s a big diving area, around where I grew up, so I’d like to get him certified.
Isaac: What do you think drew you to New York, and what’s keeping you here?
Megan: It’s the best city in the world. I don’t know. I can’t say I can’t imagine living anywhere else, because as I get older, I think about where I’m going to retire. And I love the Smoky Mountains. I always say, unless you’re from New York originally, and you have family here, you have to love New York more than you hate it, to stay here. Because there’s so much about it that’s not easy, or that’s really annoying. It’s very intense. The negative aspects are in your face in a very intense way. And if that takes over the positive parts you have to leave, because you’re just going to be miserable.
Alex: Or get super bitter.
Megan: Yeah, so I’m just really thankful that I’m in a place that ––– well, when my parents visit, they’re not impressed by this place at all. I know they think that I’ve made a terrible decision, but I still think that it’s an amazing apartment.
Alex: It is an amazing apartment, objectively.
Megan: New Yorkers get it! And they’re like, “Oh my god, this is amazing,” which is nice, but my parents are coming next weekend, and it’s hard to see it through their eyes, especially my father’s. They’ll say that Leo really needs his own room. And he will need his own room, or I’ll need him to have his own room. I also refuse to pay more than two grand per month for an apartment in the Bronx. So it might be that I turn this into a two bedroom.
Alex: It’s totally doable.
Megan: Yeah, I have a friend who is an architect. There’s so many people who could help me do it. So I’d rather just do that. Because I love the windows. I just love New York I guess. If I was going to leave New York, I would go to the country. I wouldn’t go to a suburb. My whole thing is, if I’m not going to live in New York, then I want to go someplace where I can have a horse, and where it’s not cold.