there's no place like it

Publisher's note

Photo: Maureen Drennan

Photo: Maureen Drennan

If it's hard to write about home without feeling embarrassed, that's probably a good enough reason to do it. The first time I moved from a place that was then home to me, I decided with a self-seriousness available only to fourteen-year-olds to pump The Doors' This Is The End into my headphones as we left our old driveway and drove toward another state 1,500 miles away.

But it wasn't the end, really. Like any habit or pleasure, home is more flexible than we anticipate and less specific than we hope. It's where we start from, and also where we end up. But no matter how many times we hear that you can't go home again, it can still be hard to accept that when you move out you can't typically come back to visit. 

So how do we make a new home once our old one is too far away or inaccessible to offer any comfort? In New York's case – overwrought and mostly now inaccurate Ellis Island mythology aside – the city works to attract newcomers drawn to its liveliness while simultaneously encouraging their departure via its landlords' rent hikes and increasingly inadequate public transit. It can be at times too easy to feel accepted within one environment here, anonymous in another, and scorned in a third, sometimes all in the span of a few minutes.

This month, for our largest issue yet, our contributors explore all the things we do to make this strange place feel like home – whether it's fixing a dishwasher, coming to terms with the city's specific climate reality, foraging for books and furniture on the sidewalks, cooking for family, or visiting a museum to better imagine what another kind of home could be like. Their work, hopefully, can serve as a reminder that home is in many ways a choice.

Thank you, as always, for reading.