ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO a Columbia University student, Jenny Lam, created an intimate portrait of New York dreams and aspirations by allowing hundreds of city residents to anonymously write down one thing they want to do before they leave this Earth.
Ms. Lam placed pre-stamped postcards all over Manhattan. Each bore a return address to a Columbia residence hall and carried a simple handwritten challenge at the top:
“Tell me one thing you dream of doing before you die. Use this card as your canvas. When finished, mail back the card.”
A few days ago, Ms. Lam posted all 129 cards that were filled out and mailed back to her by a legion of New Yorkers who saw and appreciated the sincerity of her curiosity and the anachronistic brilliance of her medium: hand-written postcards.
The collection, posted on Flickr, is called “Postcard Project // Manhattan Map.” Take a few minutes on your coffee break to visit Jenny Lam’s collection, and read the postcards. What you’ll find is a deep dive into the heads and hearts of New Yorkers and the visions they have of and for themselves.
We can relate to their ambitions, frustrations, determination, grandiosities, brilliance, fatigue, creativity and, yes, neuroses.
How about you?