Laure Reilly of Thrillist, A Greenpoint Home
As I enter the third year of my life here in New York City, I often think about the idea of 'home'. I look enviously around me, dreaming of my 'perfect' situation. "The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." - Maya Angelo would say. And to this tune, I think more of how the people in my life create this space for home, an idea that is surrounded by memories, moods, and moments, rather than tactile objects, rooms, or physicality.
Laura and I met as the Summer came to a close to exchange ideas and (hilarious) stories around this very subject. Having been born in London, and have grown up in Costa Rica, I felt that Laura shared a unique experience of home. We met at her current residence in Greenpoint, tucked away along the edges of Brooklyn, in a rather quite street. You could hear the breeze cut through her living room, the air was still humid at the time, but stretching thinner. As Potato, the bandana fashioning pup pranced around the living room, I asked Laura to share her story, here's what she had to say.
I manage [Thrillist's] freelancers, my title is Contributor Network Manager. I'm pretty happy doing what I'm doing now.
I was born in London, and I lived there until I was eight. My father was an entertainment lawyer, but he was unhappy with his job, so he ended up getting another in Costa Rica. I lived there from when I was eight till I was eighteen.
It was a super beautiful place, mountainous, the most insane view of the central valley. It was just a sea of lights that followed the landscape. It was also a very no rules kind of place, so we got into trouble a lot.
In Costa Rica, there was no opportunity for expression, so I got pretty into the internet. I started a fashion blog. It was just my way of feeling connected. I was obsessed with fashion forums and with collecting editorial tropes, like one legged jump-suits. And then I realized you could make a career out of this thing. I started looking into that and I saw that Fashion Journalism was offered at Academy [of the Arts in San Francisco].
I think it always stuck with me, that fashion wasn't an intellectual pursuit, it chewed at me, even though I was always interested in it. I knew consciously that it's not true, but probably at some point an authority figure told me that it was dumb. Between Academy and USF (University of San Francisco), I made that jump away from fashion [to media studies]. I just realized that media was what excited me.
I graduated, and then I decided at some point that I wanted to move to New York. I did that and ended up getting a job doing social media for a fashion company for two months and then they told me they were closing. I was unemployed for a couple of months, and started another blog, because that's what I do when I don't know what to do. I eventually ended up getting a job at Thrillist as a production assistant, and eventually doing what I do now.
Five years is a good gauge (of how long I'd like to be in NY). I was in San Francisco for about five and half years and I felt done. I know that's different, but I feel like there's a next place, and I'm already anxious to get there (a little bit). I don't know where that'll be, but maybe Europe, because that's what you do right?
Before Greenpoint, I lived in East Village, in Alphabet City. It was a great location, but it was such a small place, and expensive. I had a friend who was living here (current home), and it was her place. It looked totally different. She was in a punk band, so it was kind of like a trap house. She told me that the downstairs would open, and then the whole house switched over in terms of who was living here.
I like [Greenpoint] because it's Williamsburg adjacent, so as much grief that it may get, it's such a point for cool restaurants opening up, good bar ideas and thoughtful businesses. And I just think Greenpoint is at a time in its life where it's getting all of the good stuff. It's a mix of what Brooklyn can be, it's an interesting cross-section.
This is the first place I've ever lived on my own that feels like a home. Everywhere else had a very temporary feeling to it, or it just didn't feel like somewhere I could host people, where they could feel comfortable as well. I feel like I have had a lot of great memories of friends just being here, drinking wine and cooking food - hiding from the snow or the heat.
Every item in here is kind of like a success story. I've been talking to this guy on Craigslist about couches for months and I emailed him about this gorgeous white sectional. He ended up selling it, but we're now penpals. We talk about what's happening in our furniture lives.
I've had some weird run ins. I was working at Thrillist, and they hired a new team to start up our entertainment vertical. I was working with them for about two weeks, and at the company happy hour I was talking to one of the girls on the entertainment team.
She was like, "Ya, I know we barely know each other, so what's your story, where are you from?"
"OH, I'm from Costa Rica, but I was born in England"
And she said, "Oh, I was born in England, and I actually went to Costa Rica once."
"Oh wow, that's so crazy, why did you go to Costa Rica?"
"I went to go visit these sisters there, family friends, their names were Laura and Rebecca."
I said, "That's me and my sister. What the fuck, who are you?"
And I realized we were childhood friends from England, our mom's were in lamaz class together. We have pictures together in Disney Princess costumes as babies, and had been working together for weeks before realizing that we knew each other.
Quick List : Favorite Places in Greenpoint
Nights and Weekends
Troost (for drinks)
Franklin St (shout out!)
Dandelion Wine (chilliest and nicest, and they deliver, changed me from a person who gets wine at a liquor store to a person who gets wine at wine store.)