word on the street

What Did the Last Four Years Actually Feel Like?

Published October 28, 2020

Art by Jack Vhay.

When Donald Trump was elected president in the fall of 2016, nobody knew what to expect. What would his first term look like? Would his presidency even last that long? Would we? Now that those questions have been answered, we have just one more: “What did it actually feel like?” A bunch of New Yorkers tried to explain. 

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Jamie, 52

Business Owner

“Scary.”

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Briana, 13

Photographer

“Fun, exhilarating, and then hectic and anxiety-ridden, and then stressful and then fun again and then, like, free.”

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Zahin, 25

Engineer

“Personally sad but exhilarating, awful on a world scale.”

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Anne, 57

Social Worker

“The last four years have been excruciatingly enlightening in regards to life being a gift to treasure while it lasts.”

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LAURE, 52

Bar Owner

“A daily and vicious assault on so many of us. I felt like
I was losing my balance. Too many punches.”

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Samira, 48

Baker

“I will tell you, not bad. Donald Trump is a Gemini, just like me, so I like him.”

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Karen, No Age

Filmmaker

“Exhilarating.”

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Mary, 48

Artist

“What is time?”

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Paola, 34

Senior Marketing Manager

“I think I have changed more in the last four years than in all my life.”

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Kate, 24

Model

“The last four years have been filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows.”

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Ruthie, 27

Painter

“The last four years have been a question mark and then an exclamation point and then three dots.”

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Laura, 32

Professor

“Unpredictably eye-opening and hauntingly transformational on a personal, national, and global scale.”

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Ama, 20

Model

“Damn.”

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Janet, 40-ish

Photographer’s Agent


“I would describe the last four years as an awakening from
a naive state to a place of appreciation for my own vulnerability and everyone else’s.”

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Michel, 26

Filmmaker

“A rollercoaster with technical difficulties.”

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Maya, 23

Hairdresser

“I guess I’ve just dissociated.”

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Ramzi, 31

Filmmaker

“My vocabulary is very limited. I want to articulate that it went by faster than I would have thought.”

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Louie, 29

Gallerist

“Dazed and confused.”

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Bobby, 35

Bartender

“They were pretty terrible. Pretty fucking bad. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, and I also learned that no matter how hard you try, things can still suck, but they can also be good at the same time.”

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Miwa, N/A

Book Publisher

“For the last four years, my life has been most exciting and creative as well as tough and challenging since I made photo books by Hirohiko Araki, Mao Ishikawa, and Jōji Hashiguchi.”

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Lauren, 29

Comedian

“Making up for the previous four.”

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Ruby Actress, 45

Actress

“The past four years was all about contracts, contracts, contracts. Never trust a writer. Also, everything is about contracts.”

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Sara, 26

Illustrator

“Let the bridges  I burn light the way.”

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Ellen, 32

Psychotherapist

“Disillusioned, empowered, thrilled, vulnerable, enlightened, human.”

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Toniann, 28

Writer

“Fewer and fewer shoes and clothes.”

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Sergio 29

Advertising Associate

“Obsessively self-reflective.”

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Nadine, 43

Journalist

“My heart was touched and enraged more often and deeper than ever before, the whole possible range of emotions from the darkest fears to the most exhilarating euphoria and everything in between!”

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Paulette, 57

NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Worker

“Wonderful.”

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Mathilde, 28

Producer

“The last four years have been the most intense but the best to me.”

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Patrick, 42

Artist

“Both horrible and alright things happened to me, but I’m not dead, which is cool.”

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Torey, 30

Artist

“I have warped, evolved, we have warped, evolved, and hopefully for the better, but often for the worse. As we grow older each day, so do our surroundings, and eventually, age is no more.”

———

Liam, 25

Mariner

“Woooooow.”

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Jake, 29

Shopgirl

“I was on Lexapro doing a lot of gender-bending, and then I went off Lexapro and it turns out it was conversion therapy.”

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Matt, 43

Musician

“The last four years have been exactly like the previous four million.

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Charlotte, 25

Social Worker

“Oh, I hate this question.

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Rowan, 18

Actress

“Fucked up.”

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Joanna, 37

USPS Carrier

“What the fuck kind of question is that? Like in regards to the Trump Administration?
I don’t really have an answer.”

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Rebekka, 56

Therapist

“I stand with eyes wide open, watching the raging wounded dragon wagging its gigantic tail, incrementally destroying, year by year, all man-made worlds, value systems, and gods until, like a black hole, it swallows up itself in one gulp to leave behind … timeless silence (and, a bit later, one burp).”

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Tommy, 22

Actor

“While disheartening, they may provide the bedrock for the upcoming revolution. We just have to be sure to focus on punching up as opposed to punching sideways, or, god forbid, punching down.”

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Jesse, 33

Skater

“A beautiful yet scary platform that can become anything and everything, but all you’re really trying to do is figure out the best way to dance on top of it.”

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Ivan, 40

Bartender

“What would you like to drink?

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Dese, 27

Artis

“Up and down the pole, up and down she goes.”

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Zsela, 25

Sleep Enthusiast

“Ready for new prez.”

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Delanee, 61

Vintage Shop Owner

“Do we have to do this now?”

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Anna, 35

Podcaster

“From darkness into light.”

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