Tonight as I walked home from work, I noticed how much the midtown neighborhoods have changed since I first moved to New York 15 years ago.

The rundown and decrepit Coliseum in Columbus Circle is now gone.  The empty courtyard in front of the building was home to a flea market where I bought my very first cashmere scarf for $20.  About a week later I realized it only cost $20 because it was “cashmere”.  The space is now home to the Time Warner Center, where many people buy real cashmere for much more money.

The Coliseum Bookstore on Broadway is no longer there.  I would spend hours in its aisles, entering new and different worlds every time I thumbed through another book.  My very first purchase from the store was Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  I still have it on my bookshelf.

The building that housed the D’Agostino supermarket on 57th Street where my mother and I walked to on September 11 now has another store’s name hanging above the entrance.  I remember walking through crowded yet eerily quiet streets on our way to the store, only to find that the grocery chain’s shelves were strangely empty.  The end of the world made people hungry, I suppose.

Walking through Rockefeller Center, where I worked my first big-city job, I remembered the diner just off the Plaza where I ate lunch by myself before I’d made any friends at work.  It is now a J. Crew and infinitely more palatable than the food that was served up.

The nostalgia of what was conjures pieces of you, bits of memories from a different time.  Those places that are no more helped shape us, certainly me, into the people we are today.  The stories always remain, and they add to the layers of who you are.  Wherever you go, there you are.

What was leads to what is, and there is grace in the transformation.