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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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

Four Arrested After Knifing Attack in East Broadway Station

Four men were arrested Wednesday in connection with a stabbing inside the East Broadway F subway station, police said. The alleged attack transpired shortly before 8:30am when the suspects approached the 20-year-old victim and demanded money. When he refused, the perps stabbed him in the forearm. The foursome scattered, but police caught and arrested them […]

Another Petition to Fix the Traffic Bottleneck at the Williamsburg Bridge Approach

Any sort of long-term fix for the bottleneck at the Williamsburg Bridge approach remains elusive. In an effort to keep the issue from languishing as another political football, District Leader Daisy Paez drafted, and is circulating another petition. (Not online just yet.) The goal is to enact real change instead of “false promises and indifference” […]

Clayton’s Corner: One More for the Door [PHOTOS]

Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson returns with his eponymous photo essay series, Clayton’s Corner. Patterson has documented thousands of locals posing at his front door on Essex Street over the last three decades. This unassuming neighborhood portal is legendary amongst locals, even though you probably haven’t heard of it. Hakki Akdeniz. Known professionally as Famous […]

Lower East Side Partnership is Leaving Orchard Street for Essex Crossing

The Lower East Side Partnership is packing up and on the move. Headed toward the greener pastures of Essex Crossing. And now, the space it called home for the last decade-plus is again available. A leasing sign is currently pasted in the window of 54 Orchard Street. The local business improvement district signed a ten-year […]

Bowery Building Razed for New Office Development

The old Bowery tenement that previously housed a restaurant supply company is coming down. In its place, a new five-story office building. Passing by 216 Bowery this week, we spotted half the structure eliminated behind a Black death shroud. Approved permits on file with Department of Buildings indicate that the stout brick tenement at 216 […]