Wandering City Streets with Nicole Gonzalez
Our community drives us, opening us up to new people, new experiences and new friendships. When our dear friend and frequent collaborator photographer Nicki Sebastian was in New York over the summer on family vacation she photographed the radiant Nicole Gonzalez on a golden hour night. Warmth filled the streets of Spanish Harlem, with Nicole and her children full of joy that permeates every photo. We were so thrilled when our friend (and fellow Women's March demonstrator!) Latonya reached out and wanted to write the journal - Nicole being one of her best friends, sisters, and part of her chosen family in New York City. The culmination of this piece - brought together by different people we have met since starting DÔEN - is truly what drives us to continue to create content. See below for Latonya's beautiful words and to see Nicki's images from the magic hour in one of our favorite cities.
"At the end of a long stretch of a day, it is 11:53 PM and my phone pings, it's Nicole. "How are you feeling now?" This is normal. Soon, there will be another text, telling me to take medicine or sleep if necessary. And tomorrow, around 11 AM, our words will thread from borough to borough as if we hadn't been up the night before, talking, exchanging affirmations or complaints or planning some wild and elaborate vacation. This has been a set of normal friend standards N has kept up over the last six years that I've known her.
It started the day she met River and her dad. He arrived with River's curls wild and coiled from the summer, and Nicole and I had never met. She never met him or River either, and it was a photo shoot, work, but it didn't matter. Instinctively knowing an unspoken set of mother-code, she found a pin and pinned River's curls for me. The first night my son was in the hospital, Nicole took the bus on a hellish rainy night and fed me dinner and sat with me. She pieced together my delusional half sentences. To know Nicole, to truly describe Nicole, not only as a mother, but as a New Yorker, wife, and woman is to simply say she is straight stunningly beautiful and ridiculously loyal. Her care is innate, and is threaded throughout her entire family and friend structure.
Nicole, in the many years I've known her, has never asked for anything in return. It is hard to explain her. Her freckles, smile, hair, incredible eye for all things beautiful, unparalleled love for Lucas, Lillie, and Ivan, and of course, her candid laugh. She is so dear, but truly, she just is. Through and through, and to witness that, if you even get to feel a bit of that magic in this feature and photos, then you've gotten something good."