when i first moved to new york eight years ago, i lived in a teeny tiny shoebox of an apartment that i paid way too much for, along with two friends. we found our humble abode in a single day of apartment hunting, squeezing the search into our last week of senior year at skidmore. we’d heard the east village was cool, so when our broker found us a “pre-war 3BR with exposed brick” we jumped at the chance to take it.
nevermind that the brick was a dingy, disgusting, not-at-all-cute dark brown, as were the wood cabinets in our “kitchen” (more like a single wall with some cabinets on it). nevermind that the bathrooms were tiny, and that only one person could fit down the hallway at once. nevermind that we barely had room for a futon couch, let alone anywhere to eat.
my bedroom had a single window, but the fact that it faced a neighboring building’s exterior pretty much negated its purpose. guessing at the weather each morning was futile; my view looked the same on sunny days and rainy ones. the best thing i got outside the window was the constant cooing of pigeons singing me to sleep while they shit on their side of the pane.
for this palace, i paid $1333 a month. god bless new york, right?
what’s funny is that during this, our first year in the city, we didn’t care that we lived in a shoebox. it mattered not that we could barely open the futon all the way – friends slept on it anyway. we were young and free and living in the greatest city in the world. what did i care if the only walking space i had in my bedroom was a one foot radius that circled my bed?
fast forward to now. i just turned 30, and somehow, i still haven’t left new york. after that first year, during which i couldn’t find a single person to hire me to write and during which i was pretty sure i’d have to move home and tell everyone i’d failed, that i couldn’t hack it, i told myself, just one more year. give it another year.
so i did. and then i gave it another, and another, and soon, i’d been here 5 years. five whole years. longer than i’d lived anywhere besides my childhood home. somewhere along the way, i had a staggering realization: the shy small town girl who could barely order chinese food, let alone talk to strangers–she’d become a new yorker. a fast-talking, fast-walking, subway-navigating new yorker.
i ordered mexican food to my door at 2am just because i could. i stayed out too late and walked home alone along avenue c too many times to count. i had one night stands and no night stands and way too many cranberry vodkas. i cried on the subway. i cried on the bus. i cried in the middle of the sidewalk outside the CVS on 23rd street when a homeless man called me fat.
i got a job. i lost that job. i got another, and left it. i got another after that.
i lost friends. i made new ones. i tried new things and failed miserably at them. i tried new things, and succeeded.
one day, i woke up, and just like that, i didn’t just live here, i had made a life for myself here. and it occurred to me that i wasn’t going anywhere.
what’s a girl who isn’t leaving new york to do?
buy herself a teeny tiny little piece of the apple, that’s what.
so that’s just what i did. i bought myself a little apartment on the lower east side, a place where my people, the jews, have lived since they came to this country. and now, i have to renovate it.
i intend to document every step of this process, and in doing so, get back to my one true love: writing just for the sake of putting words on paper (well, internet paper, but you get the gist).
i hope you’ll follow along. welcome to the grand apartment.