Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer


And the noise! I can still hear the sidewalk flower salesman outside Sam Goody (also gone) trying to entice people racing for their trains: “Bee-yooo-ti-ful flowers! Bee-yooo-ti-ful flowers!” At 1:30 in the morning, from a loading dock across the street, garbage trucks would begin removing the trash from all 77 floors of the Chrysler Building.

The apartment bore signs of its past and wasn’t perfect. The dumbwaiter had been turned into a pantry. The kitchen cabinets didn’t close all the way, and the wooden floors were hidden by beige industrial tiles. Then there were the plumbing ghosts. My toilet flushed randomly, all by itself, and the sink in the kitchen filled up with bubbles when the lady upstairs did her wash.

Like many houses in the neighborhood, it used to be a boardinghouse. At one time it was two separate apartments, so it had two bathrooms. There was a small, dark one in the back, facing east, and a big, bright one in the front right off our bedroom, facing west. This one had a large frosted window right above the tub.

My room was a windowless 8-foot-by-10-foot drywall cubicle with a sleeping loft that I rationalized made the room bigger by half. My head avoided impact with the ceiling as long as I remembered to crawl to and from bed. I relied on the glowing numbers of my digital clock to determine whether it was morning or I was insomniac.

the whole building is oozing with personality and it’s probably my favorite apartment in all of manhattan. since she got such a great deal on the place, she’s never giving it up so it’s a real home, you know? i went to bed with a clear view of the empire state building (i need to buy curtains) and because we’re on a quiet little side street, i slept very well. today, when i woke up, i looked out every window in the apt onto other apartments and fire escapes and pigeons and it's totally urban -- perfect. of course, in my dreams, there’s more counter space in the bathroom.

the apartment is just has dirty cement floors and is just another sloppily constructed loft. the walls are super thin and we can hear stoned idiots playing play station loudly like they’re in our apartment with us. there's no fan or light in the bathroom, and the shower head is so low it comes up to my nipples.


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