Young Barack Obama Finds Love on East 13th Street

Posted on: May 4th, 2012 at 6:18 am by

In which the 22-year-old Barack Obama plays the field in the East Village of the early eighties.

Much has been made in recent days about this new book that sheds light on pre-President Obama and his love life while living in New York City (circa 1983). An excerpt from Barack Obama: The Story was published in Vanity Fair this week, and details a youthy Yuletide encounter in the East Village. The then-recent Columbia graduate met an assistant teacher named Genevieve Cook at 240 East 13th Street (2nd Avenue), and the two dated for roughly a year.

Photo: Google Maps

December 1983. A Christmas party down in the East Village, at 240 East 13th Street. It was B.Y.O.B., and Genevieve Cook brought a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream. The host was a young man employed as a typist at Chanticleer Press, a small Manhattan publishing company that specialized in coffee-table books. Genevieve had worked there briefly but had left to attend graduate school at Bank Street College, up near Columbia, and was now an assistant teacher for second and third graders at Brooklyn Friends School. She was living temporarily at her mother and stepfather’s place on the Upper East Side.

At night’s end, as Genevieve recalled that first encounter when I spoke with her decades later, they exchanged phone numbers on scraps of paper. “I’m pretty sure we had dinner maybe the Wednesday after. I think maybe he cooked me dinner. Then we went and talked in his bedroom. And then I spent the night. It all felt very inevitable.”

Read the more extensive excerpt at Vanity Fair.

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