Back to the Big Apple

September 14, 2009 | By | COMMENTS

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Big changes are afoot, loyal followers of my blog. For three years now I’ve lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn–steps away from Franny’s (one of my top three favorite restaurants in New York)–and pretty content with my BK lifestyle: brooding with the other writers at Gorilla Coffee, skirting over to Key Foods for catchy 60s ditties as I buy vegetables wrapped in plastic, and traipsing over to Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays for the weekly farmer’s market. Content, that is, except for one major factor: our heat. It went out repeatedly. Last year, it went out so many times our landlord bought us two space heaters–one of which almost set our couch on fire. So, suffice it to say, when our lease came up again I put my foot down and decided not to renew. This started an epic quest on Craigslist to find a new apartment, but little did we know that this bold decision–a decision that gave us only four weeks to find a new place to live–would lead us to the apartment of our dreams.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, there were the inevitable Craigslist shenanigans. Meeting a loopy broker in Chelsea who was two parts Ruth Gordon in “Rosemary’s Baby” and one part just a plain old hot box of crazy. She shoved her teeth in my face and asked if they were all the same color. The apartment she showed me was musky and dusty and the kitchen was smaller than a broom closet. I was beginning to get discouraged.

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And, for the next week, the more apartments I went to see, the more discouraged I got. Some had nice living spaces with big bright windows, others were grungier but in amazing locations. But they all had one thing in common: crummy kitchens. Teeny, tiny L-shaped afterthoughts, one thing was clear–most New Yorkers (based on my apartment hunt) don’t care about kitchens because most New Yorkers don’t cook. (That’s not really a new revelation). What would I do in an apartment with a teeny, tiny kitchen? Or, as in the case of a kitchen we saw on the 5th day of looking, a weird mop-like fungus growing out from between the cracks? Was I giving up decent counter space and bountiful cabinets just for better heat in winter? Was that a good trade?

And then something happened. I remembered our friends–four separate friends–who all live in the same apartment complex in the West Village. It’s a dream location–the dreamiest of dream locations. My favorite place in all of New York is, without question, the West Village. My favorite restaurants–Pearl Oyster Bar, The Spotted Pig, Lupa, August, John’s Pizza, Market Table, The Little Owl, ‘ino, Cafe Henri–are all in the West Village, not to mention Murray’s Cheese, Joe The Art of Coffee, Ottomanelli Butchers, and the greatest showtune piano bar of all time: Marie’s Crisis.

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This apartment complex was right in the middle of all that. And, more importantly, the apartments–cute one-bedrooms–had kitchens that’d be a definite upgrade from my current kitchen. For starters, they’re in a separate space: my Park Slope kitchen is part of the living room; here, in the West Village, the kitchen is an actual, separate kitchen. And all the appliances in the West Village kitchen are top-of-the-line: a nice quality oven with a nice quality stove, a black granite counter top, and–get this–I can barely type the word, it’s so exciting: a dish.wash.er. Did you hear that? A dishwasher.

Oh, people, if you only knew how I long for a dishwasher. We wash everything by hand, here in Park Slope. It can be relaxing, but most often it’s frustrating. It takes a long time. And our water glasses never get that clean.

Would it be possible to move to a dream location with a dream kitchen in an apartment building filled with friends? What were the odds?

The odds, it turned out, were against us. There was a waiting list. Nothing was opening up in our price range. We’d have to keep looking.

That message came via an e-mail from the broker in charge of the building. So I did give up, I did continue looking, and didn’t find anything. I was up late at night, filled with anxiety. Where would we move when our lease was up? Would we have to put our stuff in storage and move in with our parents? What would happen to Lolita the cat? Whose parents would we move in with? Where could I watch Lydia Bastianich on Tivo?

And then I did something bold. I called that same broker, the one who wrote the discouraging e-mail. I told her how much I liked that building and asked if there was any chance anything might open up in our price range. And, like a miracle on 34th street, she informed me that an apartment–a bright, sunny, soon-to-be-refurbished one-bedroom right in our price range–was opening up for October 15th. Would that work for us?

“Yes!” I screeched. And faster than Lydia Bastiniach cracking an egg, we were there in the newly opened apartment, inspecting the scene (it’s all torn apart right now, they’re putting in all new stuff) and ready to sign on the dotted line.

And sign we did. Which means, folks, in just a few more weeks, Craig and I will no longer be residents of Park Slope, Brooklyn (which I will, indeed, greatly miss), but instead residents of the West Village. I’m moving back to the Big Apple (I used to live in Chelsea), into a dream apartment in a dream location–a place we hope to live for a long, long time.

So please forgive me if my posting pace slows or if I seem a bit distracted here and there: I’ve got a lot to do! But I thought I’d fill you in on what’s going on, so you didn’t feel left out. And before you know it, you’ll be there with me in my new kitchen, washing dishes in the sparkling new dishwasher (I still can’t believe it) and rolling out pie dough on the black granite countertop.

Things are about to get really, really good.

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