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.

Recent Stories

eye-for-art-division
‘Eye for Art’ Gallery Opens Where Cafe de Nora Failed on Canal Street

You might say Canal Street now has an eye for art. Most literally. Where the half-baked Cafe de Nora failed, a new art gallery is already up and running. There was a moment where it seemed as though the dining spot would stay, but the writing was on the wall (i.e. extended hiatus without explanation). So, […]

hell-building-complete-1
Hotel Indigo Delays Hell Square Hotel to November 1; Scaffolding Completely Removed

Milestones galore for the Orchard Hell Building, a development ten years in the making. A public parking garage debuted last week on its backside; and this week, all scaffolding and plywood removed from the project site for the first time since at least 2006. However, Hotel Indigo delayed its grand opening yet again. This time, […]

50bowery-rising-1
Ugly Joie de Vivre Hotel at 50 Bowery Ascends to 20 Stories

The Grand Old Bank on the Bowery (i.e. the HSBC) is less so, trumped by Peter Poon’s ego. That new Joie de Vivre hotel rising at 50 Bowery is growing like a weed, having already ascended to a level of twenty stories (basically doubled its height in a month). The concrete superstructure is now visible […]

essex-market
Essex Market ‘Street Seat’ is Months Delayed, but Expected Soon

The Essex Street Market is still banking on city-implemented infrastructure, albeit temporary, to help solve its foot traffic woes. As previously reported, the Lower East Side BID is working with the Department of Transportation to implement a seasonal Street Seat outside the brick warehouse on Essex and Delancey. And, of course, it’s delayed. Its debut […]

booker-dax-rent
The ‘Booker and Dax’ Workspace on Eldridge Street is Kaput

Time to put away the beakers and bunsen burners. The Booker and Dax Lower East Side workshop is no more. Three years after its inception, tombstone leasing signage above the entrance confirms the closure. Booker and Dax proprietor Dave Arnold opened the 700 square-foot lab space at 54 Eldridge Street in the summer of 2012. […]