15 new yorkers discuss modern love in nyc

Rebekah Campbell photographs 15 creative New Yorkers — single, dating, married, looking, and undecided — and we ask them what love means to them in 2016.

by i-D Staff
|
Aug 31 2016, 10:25pm

Name: Rebecca Brosnan. Age: 21. What do you do? A bit of everything, from painting to creative direction, to hosting events and curating galleries, to modeling, acting, and casting. Relationship status? Unconventional. My current partner — my best friend Desmond — and I share a deeply platonic kind of love. He may be gay, but for all intents and purposes he's my boyfriend. What's the best thing about being with him? Dez is the Robin to my Batman. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. The first time I went out with my most recent ex. I met him after he got off his bus from D.C. and we walked throughout all of Manhattan. The first time I kissed him was in Washington Square Park. I've never had a kiss feel like that. Do you think the way people date in New York has changed since you've lived here? I've never really seen people courting their interests all old-school like that; I feel like New York has always been unorthodox romantically. Growing up here you're exposed to all kinds of people and relationships at a super young age. What's your definition of real love? I thought I knew what real love was, but with every day I come to know I really have no idea.

Name: Desmond Sam. Age: 21. Neighborhood: Flatbush. What do you do? Model, write, style, and finesse. Relationship status? Open. Are you looking for anything in particular? I'm learning that relationships are not something you can look for. It's better when they come naturally, but a FWB never hurt anybody, LOL. How did you meet Rebecca? I'm single and I'm gay but since the Calvin Klein campaign we did together she's technically become my girlfriend. I've known her ever since my first day of high school, in Italian class. She hated me at first but now, almost seven years later, she's my other half and the only girl I can make out with. What's the best thing about being with her? She makes me feel straight. :( If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik. Hopefully we can all touch tongues at the end. What's your definition of real love? It changes daily. I feel as if it's hard to give a true definition of something I'm still learning about.

Name: Gabriette Bechtel. Age: 19. Neighborhood: Los Angeles, but Brooklyn right now. What do you do? Dance and model. Relationship status: Taken ;) What's the best thing about being with Lucas? What ISN'T the best thing about being with him? If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? Our friends Bodhi and Alex because they're a fresh couple and I can't get enough of them. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. Walking around the city and getting a good-ass meal. What's your definition of real love? Having an unspoken connection with each other and being able to love even the annoying bits. Knowing that no matter what happens you can always go back to them and know things will be okay.

Name: Lucas Bin. Age: 17. Neighborhood: LA, and currently Brooklyn. What do you do? I'm an artist and a musician. Relationship status? In a relationship. When and how did you meet Gabi? On Instagram, haha! We went on a sushi date probably two weeks later. That was about eight months ago. What's the best thing about being with her? Being able to share experiences with her and have another perspective, and also her being around motivates me a lot in everything I do. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. Me and Gabi go to this really good Italian spot in Soho called Galli. The first time we went there was like the perfect cliche candlelit dinner but it was so fun. What's your definition of real love? When two people completely affect each other in a positive way whenever they're around, through motivation, happiness, whatever it may be. You can tell the difference when those people aren't together.

Name: Liz Hopkins. Age: 27. Neighborhood: Bushwick. What do you do? Gallery director, artist. Relationship status? Full time, live-in girlfriends. When and how did you meet Adele? At a gallery opening. What's the best thing about being with her? I love knowing that I'm going to laugh every day with her. It's one of the best feelings. If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? Am I blowing it when I say Ellen and Portia? Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. As much as I love NYC, I love to get out. Going to the beach at sunset, when most of the sun soakers have left is so damn romantic. Lay the blanket in the sand, drink some wine out of the bottle, share a bag of pita chips with whatever dip Adele picked out. What's your definition of real love? Support.

Name: Adele Thibodeaux. Age: 24. Neighborhood: Bushwick. What do you do? Writer/breakfast waitress. Relationship status? Very in love, committed. When and how did you meet Liz? I met Liz really three separate times. The first time she doesn't remember. So the third was the real meeting. On a basketball court, to a bar, thighs sweating against one another. I laughed all night. I'm still laughing. What's the best thing about being with her? She's incredibly adventurous and up for nearly anything. I am never bored and always full. If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? Probably this blissed-out older yoga couple who come to my restaurant. Or Minnie and Moskowitz. What's your definition of real love? Passion, understanding, compromise, support.

Name: Gia Garison. Age: Timeless. Neighborhood: East Village. What do you do? I'm an artist, performer, model, musician, and really anything else I'm feeling in the moment. Relationship status? Single. Are you looking for anything in particular? I'm not really sure if I'm even looking right now or ever. I feel like if it comes to me, it was meant to be. As far as what I'm looking for, I have a wide lens. I'm down for anything from snuggling to buying me Prada! Just don't be a dumbass. How do you feel about dating apps? Do you use them? Dating apps are crusty and I wish I didn't have to rely on them as much. They're stressful and most of the time it never works out. If only someone would sweep me off my feet IRL… What makes dating harder or easier in NYC than in other cities? I feel like dating here is harder because there are so many distractions (aka really hot people) everywhere! It sucks! I can't imagine being tied down to a single person. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. I honestly can't remember the last date I went on (other than with a sugar daddy but we won't get into that) and I'm pissed about it. I've worked hard to become the person I am today, I put a lot of effort into the way I present myself and society is sleeping on it. Take me on a date!!! What's your definition of real love? "Real love" exists? I have no definition.

Name: Jeremy Young. Age: 28. Neighborhood: Lower East Side. What do you do? Model/artist. Relationship status? Married. What's the best thing about being with Sara? She's so kind and thoughtful. I can be the worst and she's still amazing to me. If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? They weren't romantically linked, however, they were somewhat a couple: Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Worst New York date ever? Throwing up on my date on a fairground ride, having just had baked beans on toast and a strawberry mikshake for dinner. What's your definition of real love? Being yourself around someone whilst having the most amount of fun.

Name: Sara Blomqvist. Age: 27. Neighborhood: Lower East Side. What do you do? I'm a model. Relationship status? Married. When and how did you meet Jeremy? I met him at a friend's house in Bushwick, on his 22nd birthday (October 14, 2009). What's the best thing about being with him? He's my best friend and the only person I would never get sick of spending time with. He's very silly and funny and make me laugh a lot. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. Probably the first date me and Jeremy ever went on. We had been hanging out for months, but with other people, and mainly hanging out and drinking beer and eating pizza. We went to the Spotted Pig in the West Village and had like a proper candlelit dinner with red wine. It was my first real date like that and I love going back there for memories. Do you think the way people date in New York has changed since you've lived here? Yes. I think just as the fashion industry has become more focused on profit and efficiency, dating has as well. People want results and are not willing to waste any time. What's your definition of real love? When you're more concerned about the other person's happiness and well-being than your own.

Name: Kate Bowman. Age: 20. Neighborhood: Lower East Side. What do you do? I study art history at university and model. Relationship status? In a relationship. When and how did you meet your partner? The first time I met my boyfriend was at a party. I'm really shy so we didn't speak much. The second time I saw him was when I first felt a connection to him and then we kissed a lot. What's the best thing about being with him? The best thing is being free with someone. It is nice to have a partner who is so supportive of everything I do. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. I honestly just love going to the movies and virtually escaping the city. It's so nice to kiss in the dark and eat salty popcorn. And the worst? The worst date is watching someone stare at their phone the whole time. Do you think the way people date in New York has changed since you've lived here? If so, how? I'm dating my first serious boyfriend right now, so I honestly have no idea. What's your definition of real love? Real love is looking into someone's eyes and feeling your heart drop a bit and thinking, "How did I get so lucky?"

Name: Maya Laner. Age: 22. Neighborhood: East Williamsburg. What do you do? I play bass in the band Porches, have my own band True Blue, and prop style as a side hustle. Relationship status? In a relationship with Corey! When and how did you meet? Two summers ago I joined Tinder on a whim because I was interested in meeting people and going on some cute dates. I matched with Corey and immediately sent him a message because he was a gemini — the sign of all my best friends and ex-lovers. I also knew his work from seeing it in The Editorial Magazine, where I used to intern. We met up for a date one night and the rest is history!!! We just had our two year anniversary. What's the best thing about being with him? Hard to choose one but something I appreciate is feeling like my truest, most comfortable self when I'm with him. If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? Ozzy and Sharon. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. I don't know about best but my favorite date is going to our fave restaurant, Momo Sushi Shack. It's the best sushi I've ever had! Our friend Judy works there too and she always helps makes it extra special :-) What's your definition of real love? Respect, honesty, support, and autonomy.

Name: Corey Olsen. Age: 26. Neighborhood: East Williamsburg. What do you do? I'm a freelance photographer/artist. Relationship status? In a relationship with Maya. What's the best thing about being with her? Loving and getting to spend time with my best friend. If you could double date with any couple ever, who would it be? I think the most fun couple to go on a double date with would be Kim and Kanye. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. I like day dates. One of my favorites is when Maya and I went to Half Moon Bay and some other spots along the coast of the Bay Area. What's your definition of real love? Loving someone's honest self.

Name: Tawan Kareim. Age: 23. Neighborhood: The worst one. What do you do? Whatever pays the most.. Relationship status? Engaged but on a break because I have to grow up. When and how did you meet your partner? We met at a gelato shop three years ago. Describe the best New York date you've ever been on. Breakfast at The Standard hotel during the blizzard of 2013 with my fiance. I wore Tabis and fell over three times on the ice. And the worst? I pretty much love everyone until after the date ends. What's your definition of real love? The fact that he's waiting for me.

Name: Apple Elizabeth Drysdale. Age: 22. Neighborhood: Brooklyn. What do you do? I'm an instinct. Relationship status? In a relationship with myself. Are you looking for anything in particular?. Someone who loves me as much as I love myself. How do you feel about dating apps? Do you use them? I use them to troll because I'm only interested in meeting myself. What's your definition of real love? "It is no longer an illness or a passing fit: it is I."

Name: Tyler James. Age: 27. Neighborhood: Bed-­Stuy. What do you do? As little as possible. Relationship status? Single. Are you looking for anything in particular? I'm looking to be happy. How do you feel about dating apps? Do you use them? I had a stint in 2014. What makes dating harder or easier in NYC than in other cities? In NYC everyone is about their dreams, and it's kinda harder to connect because you have to spend your time wisely. Other cities I've lived in have been slower paced and a relationship is easier to maintain and wanted to provide stability. What's your definition of real love? It's a feeling so large all other feelings are lost.

Credits


Photography Rebekah Campbell
Text Alice Newell-Hanson