Meet A New Girl: Finding A Home In Fort Greene
The New Girl: Jennifer Metzger
Jennifer, Jenny, Jen. While playful, nicknames can reveal a lot about a person. But more importantly, they often indicate a specific relationship between the nicknamer and the nicknamee.
To most colleagues, she's Jennifer. To close friends, she's Jenny or J. But to me, she's Jen.
Although we did meet at work, Jennifer was always introduced to me by the abbreviated version of her name—coined by our boss at the time. In fact, there are probably only a handful of people that know her by this one-syllable moniker, most likely having crossed paths with us at work circa 2013-2015. And however minute that detail may be, it's representative of a pivotal (and somewhat tumultuous) three-year period of both our lives.
We became friends under unusually similar circumstances: we were both living in LA, newly single, and working in social media at GUESS? Jeans. We spent our days navigating office politics, and our evenings drinking sparkling Lambrusco and snacking on free popcorn at our favorite wine bar down the street. Happy hour would often turn into lengthy dinners where we'd share dreams of leaving our jobs, finally meeting the right guy, and moving to NYC.
Luckily, Jen's always been a trailblazer, so she braved NYC a year before me while I waited patiently on the sidelines, living vicariously through her new adventure. In the meantime, I followed in her footsteps and took over her old role at work, biding my time until it was my turn to take the leap.
Fast forward a couple years, and my nickname for her has stuck. But our circumstances—job, partner, city—have very much un-stuck from those challenging LA days. And our continued friendship in NYC serves as a reminder of just how much good can come in a few short years.
So naturally, photographing her for this shoot was especially special to me. Almost as special as seeing her marry the love of her life last year and being a part of their magical day in Brooklyn. Because in true work-wife form, a full analysis of their first text conversations had obviously been conducted with scientific precision between our cubicle dividers. If that's not full circle, I don't know what is.
I hope you enjoy reading more about Jen's experience and seeing the life she's made for herself in Fort Greene—it's a good one.
More About Jen
Where are you originally from?
LA! I grew up in Santa Monica, went to school in Downtown LA, and lived in Los Feliz and West Hollywood. My move to NYC was the first one where I couldn’t just pack up my car.
How long have you been living in NYC?
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Describe your current living situation and how you found it.
I live with my husband. He asked me to move in after three months of living in New York. Most people thought we were crazy, but for us it made perfect sense.
What pays the rent?
The 9-5 (er 8-6). I work in marketing at BaubleBar—a brand that believes fashion should be fun. Having spent my career in fashion previously at GUESS? Jeans and H&M, the humor and playfulness the brand brings to the industry is so refreshing and one of the aspects that drew me to the company. I oversee email marketing, CRM, social media, affiliate, and other bits of marketing here and there that I've picked up along the way. I love the balance of creative and analytical work that ultimately ends in a story.
The company was also founded by two kick-ass women with venture capital backgrounds and MBAs from Harvard. Given the current climate around sexual harassment in the workplace, working for a female-founded company is an aspect that I do not take for granted.
Tell me about your first "home" in NYC
My brother’s friend’s friend was looking for a sublet in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was not the most glamorous NYC apartment but it was only $800/month, which is pretty unheard of anywhere in a 10 mile radius of the city.
Perhaps, it was $800/month due to the fact that...
- The smell of the fish market on the ground floor consumed you every time you walked up and down the stairs
- The girl I sublet from didn't believe in air-conditioning and thus only had a fan in place of an AC window unit. At the time, I didn't know that people could be against air-conditioning. My parents would run the AC when it was 78 degrees in LA. In this case, it was the middle of the summer in NYC and over 100 degrees.
- On my second day in NYC, I got a note from my new roommate that if I came home to a "crime scene" it was because he had spotted a rat in the apartment. So, my first couple nights were spent sweating profusely and keeping one eye open for said rat.
Describe your first day as a New Yorker:
On the way back from the airport, I picked up my brother (who also lives in Brooklyn) in the cab. He’s an amazing brother—he helped me with my bags and made sure I was comfortable in my Bushwick sublet with my two new male roommates. Then he took me to dinner and gave me a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. But, he had to wake up early for work the next day so we said goodnight around 8:30, 9pm.
After sitting in my room for about 5 minutes, I decided I was not going to be in bed by 10 on my first night in New York. I proceeded to call my then NYC crush and now husband to see if he wanted to grab a drink. Granted, we already had plans to see each other in two days, but hey, moving across the country inspires you to do things that often surprise yourself.
What has been the biggest adjustment since moving here?
The weather! It’s hot, it’s cold. It’s almost never 75 and sunny like in Cali.
How do you combat the stress of the city?
Nature-filled weekends upstate.
What's one thing still on your "NYC" bucket list?
Seeing Sleep No More.
Describe what a typical weekday in NYC looks like for you.
5:30 alarm goes off (I know, it’s crazy!) My husband and I go to the gym in Manhattan before work, which coming from Brooklyn means an early start. We stop by Sergio’s coffee cart outside of Barclays Center. He has our coffee order ready by the time we make it up to the window. You’ve never seen a man more efficient than Sergio. He never misses a beat and always greets you with a smile. I’m at the gym by 6:45, 7 and will either do a spin class, go for a run or do barre.
I’m usually the one to turn on the lights at the office, which I love. I’ve made coffee, caught up on my emails and am fully awake by the time most people arrive at 9:30. I feel getting in early gives me an advantage to the day. Half my day is focused on strategic planning and half on content creation, which is my perfect blend.
I’m out of the office usually by 6pm. If my husband and I don’t have plans, we love to cook at home. It’s a great way to unwind and catch up on our days. I often meet up with friends after work in the city for dinner or drinks. I also love going to concerts—New York has some of the best venues. I try to read a little before bed and just started a book club to keep myself better on track (also a great excuse to drink wine and catch up with friends). Lights out around 10:30 usually.
Moments Of Truth
Starbucks, Stumptown, or sidewalk coffee cart?
Favorite NYC season?
Best place in the city?
Uber, subway or walk?
Westville or The Grey Dog?
Seamless or cook?
Describe your "perfect" weekend in the city...
Friday night movie at the Alamo. It’s one of those theaters that serves drinks and food to your seat. Warning: the warm soft cookies are addictive. The rest of the food is just okay, so we would grab a quick bite afterwards at National—an amazing Thai place. Never too long a wait and great service.
Saturday morning starts with a run around Prospect Park followed by brunch at Olea. We’d probably sit at the bar since it gets really busy. Afternoon could be spent hanging at a coffee shop (Smooch), checking out a museum (The Whitney is my favorite) or hanging out in the Botanical Gardens, weather permitting. For dinner, there’s an amazing Italian spot called Aita, but we love to cook at home too. For a one-of-a-kind music experience, we’d head to Sunny’s in Redhook after dinner where anyone can join in on the jam session, but only the talented dare to.
Sunday’s are spent at home—cooking, cleaning and prepping for the week. We love to have friends and family over for dinner.
What makes NYC feel special to you?
After over two years here, it still feels so new! The view going over the Manhattan Bridge from my apartment to work everyday gets me every time. I worked hard to get here and because of that I feel so grateful.
Any NYC "hacks" you'd like to share with the group?
Advice to fellow New Girls
Take a risk! I had to move out of my West Hollywood apartment I shared with my two roommates in order to take the leap. One of roomates was actually already moving to NYC. So my other roommate, knowing I was also trying to move New York, understandably decided to get her own place. I moved back in with my parents as I awaited to hear back on my third interview. I was either going to be depressed and living at home or moving to NYC and fulfilling a lifelong dream. I took a risk and it paid off. Most of my friends that moved here had to do something that scared them.
NYC was always a dream of mine. Little did I know, the real dream I would be fulfilling was finding my partner and husband, Adam. NYC can be quite a matchmaker whether it be love, career, or friends. You've just got to take the leap!