When your body starts to change, life has a tendency to start revolving around it: finding ways to make it more attractive, to discover what your likes and dislikes are, and discovering places and people with whom to explore your senses. New York is a playground during these years: from the beaches of Coney Island and Long Island to paries in Manhattan, there are a multitude of opportunities to find bodily experiences.
Nowhere can a young person transform their body more freely than around the blocks of the East Village or Williamsburg. Tattoos act as icons of strong memories, as the young man with the heart tattoo and broken heart explained to me.
With gay marriage legalised in 2012, and with an LGBT movement dating back to the sixties, the Big Apple is also a place where you can explore your gender and sexual preferences freely, without the judgement of peers or strict societal expectations. Photographing the gay pride festival the year the law passed was a special experience of documenting the uniquely free expression of all kinds of bodies.
On the beaches of New York, teenagers are exposed to other's bodies on a regular basis as the summer heats up, often a personal challenge when you are busy trying to get comfortable in your own skin.
Living in New York in my early twenties offered both me and my body a set of experiences that will stay engraved in my memory for a long time.
Alexandra Breznaÿ is a French documentary photographer who graduated from the International Center of Photography in 2010. After having lived three years in New York, she is currently based in Paris. Find her at www.alexandrabreznay.com