“It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.” These are the opening lines to Joan Didion’s famous essay on falling in and out of love with New York City “Goodbye to All That”—which since its publication in 1967 has been responded to, emulated, and reimagined too many times to count.
This week, we asked four seniors to reflect on their time at Columbia and, more broadly, on their relationships with New York City. So, for our last lead story of the semester, please enjoy a beautiful mosaic of personal essays that follow four different experiences from Mae Smith, Shivrat Chhabra, Ayushi Roy, and Allen Johnson.
As many of you know, this issue is the last print edition of The Eye as we transition to an online magazine, and it’s definitely a bittersweet change. I specifically remember picking up a copy of the Sounds of the Underground in Fall 2012—back when The Eye wasn’t even a twinkle in mine (sorry, I had to)—and thinking, excuse my ineloquence, “Oh fuck, this is cool.” Print is an integral part of how readers, writers, and artists experience The Eye, and I’m sad to see it go. But after spending a semester living and breathing this magazine alongside some wonderful coeditors, I have a feeling that this is the place on the page where things get interesting.