Sunday, August 31, 2014

Moving out

I moved apartments this summer. This is now my fourth address in New York City, and by far the best one.

To review: my first address was 187 Franklin Avenue in Bedstuy. I only lived there for a hot minute, but it was my landing pad in the city and holds a special place in my heart because it was so very New York: my roommate, the opera composer; my upstairs neighbors, the collective known as Lesbeyond, and their three-legged cat; the hiphop artist on the top floor who hooked me up with my room; and the couple across the hall from her with a bar and beer on tap in their kitchen. They threw some raging parties in that place (but everyone moved out and the building has since been converted to all-Hassidic condos, as I predicted it would be).

My second address was a Craigslist hook-up on Madison Street, also in Bedstuy. I lasted one year and a month there, and it was pretty fucking awful. I lost my job and was working two part-time gigs to make rent; I got in fights with the super all the time about how my keys didn't work; mice always came running out of the stove burners despite two cats working overtime to kill them and stash their little corpses under the bathroom rug; I didn't get along with my roommates. My first winter in New York, it was hard to look around at the gray walls of my cold, shared apartment and not compare it to my perfectly Rachel-sized studio in Waikiki, wondering what the hell I was doing in this dreadful place when I'd had work, my own place, and a beach RIGHT THERE back in Hawaii.

Fortunately, I'm kind of lazy and it was less work for me to move to another apartment than it was for me to move to another state. So I took my dowry and went to Columbia Street, where I lived for five years.

Except for the house in Ocean View and the house on Walua Road, Columbia Street was my longest continuous address. I lived there for five years, long enough to see the city put in bike lanes, build a park, and start summer ferry service to Governor's Island. I lived through a tornado, lightning strikes, and two hurricanes. I got a job and my sister got married. I wrote a little, read a lot more, save a little money, spent a lot more, walked a few hundred times to the subway and back, and sat for many hours on my couch looking at pictures of cats on the Internet.

I loved that place. But they raised my rent and I had to move. It's a classic New York story.

A week after I moved to the new apartment, I went back to Columbia Street with a little cart full of cleaning supplies. I wanted to give the old place a once-over and take away the bags I'd set aside for recycling (clothes I didn't want, broken printer, etc). Unlocking the door and stepping into the dusty, leaf-strewn vestibule, I was overcome with a wave of warmth and safety. It was the same feeling I'd had every time I stepped over that threshold, but now it was particularly strong because I knew it was the last time I'd feel it in that vestibule. Half a decade worth of gratitude and exasperation for that precious old building that had sheltered me and my stuff in its crumbling bricks and sagging floors.

It was a bit of a wasted trip, because they'd already changed the locks in my unit and I couldn't get in to clean. I hope my old stuff made it to the recycling plant and didn't just end up in a landfill in Jersey.

So now I'm in Park Slope. It's not because I'm pregnant, though I gather that's the main reason that people my age move to Park Slope. It's actually all backwards--I got priced out of Columbia Street and was eyeing a move back to Bedstuy. Park Slope has been pricing out people way classier than myself for decades and shouldn't have been an option for me. The owner of the building is either super-nice or super-unconcerned about trends in the rental market in this area, so I get a floor-through apartment with a new dishwasher.

I've heard tell of this type of deal, but I always assumed it was a New York myth, like CHUDs or  Ninja Turtles. I feel like I should write to the real estate section of Penthouse. "I never believed it could happen to me!"

But I shouldn't be too happy about it yet. Wait until I've spent a winter here, and then ask me again how I like it.

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