Although our daughter went across the country to college, we didn’t feel like empty nesters at all. As she spread her wings and embarked on her new chapter, we too, like excited college students, began our own adventure, back in NYC where it all began.

We hadn’t actually lived right in Manhattan since we were newlyweds ⁠— two hopeful young artists from Canada with a limited student visa and a ten-month lease on a tiny “one-bedroom” apartment on W. 85th Street. Although we did ultimately decide to stay in the US and apply for our green card, it wasn’t until now, almost 25 years later, that it was just the two of us together again in the Big Apple.

We were back on the Upper West Side and, other than a Starbucks on every corner, not much had changed, including the fact that we still had to climb a ladder to go to bed in our loft. We were on the first floor of a brownstone. The apartment was unbelievably small but it had an exposed brick wall and, as far as I was concerned, was perfect! 

I smiled when I saw it, like I’m smiling now as I recall the story. I’m not sure how long it took me to notice, but it was there right in front of me everyday when I left the apartment, and once again when I returned. The once shiny gold background and proud bold black lettering peeled slightly away from the wood grain door, just above the peephole.

I tried to imagine who put it there, and whether or not they recognized the irony of our new address (1F) which I could see clearly now, read “IF”.

I took a picture of it. I interpreted it as an affirmation, an offering, an invitation to the endless possibilities open to us “IF” we were brave enough to explore them. 

That was five years ago, and I am grateful when I say our NYC adventures have been filled with wonderful possibilities. 

When our daughter came home for Thanksgiving that November of her Freshman year, we three migrated back to Burlington where our feathered nest patiently waited for us to return, if only for a week. We filled our home with music and food and friends, thankful that we were able to rent it and share it with others while we were away. We would be taking a new sublet in NYC when we got back, and I wondered what moments our new address would hold. That night, as I reflected on how wonderful it had been to celebrate the holiday together in our beautiful home, it occurred to me. The name of our street is “Prospect”.


1. the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring.