03 May 2013

Reading on the Road: The Great Unhousening of 2013

As I write this I am perched on a bed in Greenpoint, north Brooklyn, New York, the U.S., the world, the universe. Back in 2011 when I was looking for apartments in Brooklyn I loved this neighborhood but I didn't end up living here. Most of the apartments here are railroads ("shotguns" in Baltimore and New Orleans), with no hallways, where each room feeds into the next, so with a roommate, either one of you is always walking through the other's bedroom, or (more commonly) the door between your rooms is always bolted. The person on the end only has a door out into the common hallway, which they then use to get to their kitchen and bathroom. 
At the time I was living in an apartment with no living room and no closet, which wasn't that bad (the key phrase of New York apartment searching) until it became unbearable, and I decided I didn't want to settle like that again. I saw one place in Greenpoint that was not set up in this way, but it was above a funeral home and I decided that wasn't going to work either. (I told this to a guy whose sublet I was looking at a few weeks ago, and he said "I think I know that funeral home!") Instead I moved in with a nice engaged couple in Park Slope who defied some predictions that had been made and indeed got married, who are now moving to Boston because they don't want to be those Park Slope parents, although some of the benefits of same are very nice. (They have a paid listserve where you can get designer children's clothing for free! Don't tell anyone I told you.)

The rest of the country laughs at such Brooklyn myopia and why shouldn't they? But the beauty of it is that everywhere you go there are stupid nuances like this that you can spend your whole life studying. Before I lived in New York I interviewed for a job in the small town where I was living and I still think about how I would have turned out if I had gotten it. And I still picture the Greenpoint version of myself as just a little different -- maybe more winsome, with my hair half down, walking a little slower. (Not cool, Robert Frost.)

Now that I have lost all the readers who were hoping there was going to be a book recommendation buried in here somewhere, let's talk about travel! I am jawboning across the country to Washington State and then stopping in Chicago for a week on the way back. My stuff (thus reduced) lives in East Rutherford, NJ, except for the stuff that lives in SoHo (don't ask). My mail lives in the East Village. I live in this Airbnb rental in yes, Greenpoint for today, and I'll be back in Brooklyn soon, but that doesn't really answer the question.


jess said...

whoo hoo washington! i hope you enjoy your stay to our little corner of the world. that is a lot of traveling. i hope you packed plenty of books!

P said...

I'm going to miss stories of baby roommate!
Enjoy your travels!

Ellen said...

Jess - I always do enjoy my stays here! Waving at you from the other side of the state.

P. - thanks! I miss that kid as well, but I hear she is on a nap strike and driving her parents nuts, so maybe it's for the best :)