Places Like Tiffany's


July 15, 2011: Washington, DC: My generation missed the drive-in movie era, but I still have memories of outdoor films. Watching a movie under the stars reminds me of swim team sleepovers, of watching Jaws floating on a raft in the deep end at a surprisingly young age. Even though I’ve never been to a drive-in, outdoor films evoke a sense of nostalgia, and I’m starting to think nostalgia is a factor worth considering when thinking about what makes a place feel like home. How fitting, then, to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s last night on the big screen outside at the Capitol Riverfront. The movie bleeds nostalgia (cue "Moon River") and its subject, Holly Golightly, is the ultimate nomad yearning for a place she belongs. I'd never before realized it's a story packed with fitting quotes about the importance of place.

I loved watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s through the lens of this project -- seeing relationships develop between quirky characters brought together only by their proximity in a shared New York brownstone... hearing Holly Golightly’s explanation of her search for a place like Tiffany’s, emphatically delivered from the confines of her near empty apartment.

"What I found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!" -Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

"I don't want to own anything until I know I've found the place where me and things belong together.  I'm not quite sure where that is just yet.  But I know what it's like.... It's like Tiffany's.... Not that I give a hoot about jewelry." -Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

"And I always heard people in New York never get to know their neighbors." -Paul Varjak, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

To top off my excitement, I also came across this nugget from the book itself by Truman Capote. It reminds me again how much I’m enjoying this project.

"I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs upholstered in that itchy, particular red velvet that one associates with hot days on a tram. The walls were stucco, and a color rather like tobacco-spit. Everywhere, in the bathroom too, there were prints of Roman ruins freckled brown with age. The single window looked out on a fire escape. Even so, my spirits heightened whenever I felt in my pocket the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it still was a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of pencils to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be." -Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s