Words: Mary Sniatkowski
Photos: Dan Snyder
Mary Sniatkowski is a writer and marketing specialist living in New York City. Read about Mary's New York journey, and how she is discovering herself while exploring a new city.

After growing up in Vermont -- a place that only seemed cool once I left -- I did the coolest thing a person can do, I moved to New York City. I mean, come on. It’s a place filled with the cheat codes to cool; an afternoon at the Met, an evening on Manhattan’s most “urban-renewed” piers, drinks at the finest bars! Hell, anyone that lives outside New York would be impressed that I could visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on a weekday (something I would never do). But, once I got here, I realized it’s cool to be in New York, but it’s not so easy to BE cool in New York. The Met gets 7 million visitors a year, urban renewal is superficial as fuck and, as it turns out, we all read the same “Coolest Bars in New York” article. This early revelation forced me to realize that I needed to put in more effort than paying an amount I’m too embarrassed to disclose for a room that did not even have four real walls.


Cool, as both a doctrine and a virtue, is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. The revolving door of coolness, just as quick to allow entry as it is to dismiss, is entrancing. The irony that my obsession is decidedly uncool is something that’s not lost on me. It’s alright though, pining after cool has always been an insular struggle, well except for now.

My endeavour to cool in New York has led me to many discoveries. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge gets relaxing two thirds of the way in from the Manhattan side, any L Train Vintage is usually a nightmare but the one in Prospect Park has probably had the fewest Tik Toks made about it, Williamsburg is nice for a day and don’t disclose the places you think are cool on the internet. New York is about discovery anyway. Sometimes the random book store you spot from the street happens to sell hand-painted tote bags it describes unironically as “spiritually essential”. As far as I’m concerned, any object atheistically described as spiritually essential is cool. Beyond the financiers, the wall streeters, the broadway hopefuls, this kind of wackiness is just as integral to the city’s identity.

With Covid came the dormancy of the city’s wackiest corners. New York will forever be associated with big industry, but for the cracks in it’s facade to be filled, it needs the living, breathing in between. As the tide of vibrancy has pulled away from the city’s shores, it’s beached some of the places that mattered most to New York’s ecosystem. What it’s also done however, is revealed the frivolity of cool. The Pavlovian anxiety born from cosmic uncertainty has pushed my obsession to the furthest corners of cognition. In spite of this, I know the hum of New York isn’t completely gone, it’s resiliency gives me hope that when I can blissfully return to my pursuit of cool the city will 'be ready for me.

Corridor 2021