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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 10.02.2019

These are the ephemera that mark my time on 34th Street.


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Photo: Annabelle Williams

Every time I walk into the 34th Street office—so pretty much every day—I’m greeted with paper. The wall behind my desk is tiled with covers of old issues dating back to 2017. To my left are photos of former Street editors—one DFMO–ing, one as a child in a fedora. A note from my predecessor Nick Joyner is tacked right in front of me. An ad from "Professor Salaam" touting a "sexual powder" and protection from "mystical abuse" hovers directly in my eye–line on the back wall. A note saying “Good Job!”—I don’t remember who wrote it—sticks to the corkboard to my right. These are the ephemera that mark my time on 34th Street. 

But when I started, we spent our time in a different room entirely. From where I sit now, here's how you get there. Head out the door and take a right and then a left and then another right at the water fountains. 

That office was smaller, passing cozy and careening right into claustrophobic, papered with physical artifacts dating back decades. Where our current office's walls are around half–blank, the former was so covered in clippings that it probably constituted a fire hazard. That old office formed my first mental picture of Street, back in my freshman year—a small space, steeped in a history I couldn’t even begin to picture, a legacy I couldn't envision myself taking part in. 

Between my freshman and sophomore year, I worked a job in Philadelphia. On my nights off, I’d trek over to the DP office and thumb through old issues of Street, Wawa slushie in tow. I wanted to learn more about what I was getting myself into. Even more than that, I wanted to belong somewhere. I wanted to make my mark on a place. 

In the late summer of 2017, as I prepared for my sophomore year and geared up to become a Street editor, the office moved. It was, put simply, a mind–fuck. I wasn’t even all that involved, and still I’d built up so many memories in that space. And now we were supposed to cede it to Under the Button and retreat to an (admittedly larger) office with antiseptic white walls and an uncomfortable red couch? 

The split came during the 133rd Board, and I have these bifurcated memories of then–editors Dani Blum and Orly Greenberg in both places. I had to check with another DP lifer, Julia Schorr, to even remember when we moved. That space feels like a relic of another life. 

I sit in our office now and think about the notes and photos on the walls. I realize that, if and when I leave them here, they'll outlast me on Street. Someday someone might sit in this office and know me and my predecessors and my successors only from a photo or a scribbled note. And I feel grateful to have added to the physical record of this place. But more than that, I'm excited to see how that record grows. 


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