16. After living in Arkansas for my entire conscious life, I sent the matching bedroom suite back to El Dorado, sold everything that wouldn't fit in my Corolla and moved to the New Orleans. Grandmother helped me find a dreamy carriage-house apartment in the Garden District. It was beautiful with lots of natural light, a skinny gallery kitchen and an orange tree in the back yard. I paid $500 a month and lived across the street from Commander's Palace. Big groups of tourists would come by the house and take pictures on their walking tours because my place was part of the Five Sisters. I'm sure lots of those tourists got home with pictures of me sitting on my front stoop, reading a good book and ashing cigarettes into a flower pot behind my gardenias.
17. I moved across town to Mid-City after I discovered an open apartment on Grand Route St. John, between the bayou and the Jazz Fest horse track. It was the ultimate neighborhood with built-in friends next door, a tiny Whole Foods store down the street, and the city's best paella on the next block. For $300 a month, I lived in a two-room apartment on the second floor of a mansion. Mary painted the bathroom to look like a springtime sky, and she lived there with me for one glorious summer. And my cat, Poydras, loved the place, too. His most favorite trick was to run downstairs and set off the ear-splitting burglar alarm. Good times...
18. When I decided to leave New Orleans, I sold everything that couldn't be crammed back into the Corolla. Thanks to NewyorkCraigslist.org, I had already set up a place to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with some roommates. But that deal didn't work out because the roommate who I was supposed to replace suddenly died there at the apartment building. He fell from the roof in the early morning and shocked his two best friends who had been living there with him. It was startling to me because he was the one to sell me on the place, and I had gotten along so well with him on the phone. The two remaining roommates didn't want to live there after that tragedy, so we all went our separate ways.
So I arrived in New York City with no plans about where to live. But thanks again to Craigslist, within about four hours I had found a tiny bedroom to rent in a three-bedroom apartment in Bed-Sty. It was a good place to get started on the scene, since any subway line I line I'll ever use will be better than the one I used there. The G Train just sucks. But for $645 a month, I got a living room big enough to serve as a dance floor and a Kosher kitchen that had two sinks and plenty of room to store all the kitchen goodies I so love.
19. My current apartment is a tiny gem. It's the location, mostly. It sits half a block away from the Promende's freakishly beautiful view of Lower Manhattan, and the subway that stops two blocks over puts me in Midtown in about 20 minutes. For $1,300 a month, I got a one-room studio, painted sort of buttercream yellow, with the kitchen along one side and ceilings that are at least 15 feet high. It's only 1/5 the size of my other Brooklyn apartment, but in the week that I've been there, I've already had more visitors than I ever had in my other place. The two big windows face East, and I start smiling as soon as I wake up with the sun shining through the curtains. I'm digging it.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Houses and homes, pt. 2
Following a weekend of butchering my diet with Grimaldi's pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge... the history of my dwellings continues: