Saturday, March 31, 2012

New York Minute

It’s a funny thing living in an apartment in the city. The buildings are compact, the walls are thin, and there is always a crazy neighbor. My current building is a six story pre-war with 66 units between two wings. It’s a far cry from my previous high rise but I find it just as modern and spacious.

One of the first things I look at when moving into a place is the view. Whether it is a view of the river, the park, a brick wall or a garage, I think it is all part of the charm. I remember the day I was viewed my apartment. I looked out of the living room window and saw the Empire State Building. There was a fabulous view of Midtown and I felt like I had just found the diamond in the rough. I moved in two weeks later and quickly settled. I had a galley kitchen with a little window. Sometimes the pigeons stood on the sill. Sometimes the rain would leak through. Sometimes I’d leave the window open while I cooked for ventilation but most of the time I’d just be staring out onto an ugly brick wall and a bunch of windows with shades and curtains.

Privacy is something worth guarding in New York City. We are constantly surrounded by noise and people that your personal space becomes something so luxurious. For the first time in two years, I had a place that I could call my own. I loved not having roommates and I loved cooking for myself in my little kitchen. There was something so much more satisfying about it than just picking up the phone and dialing for delivery.

Occasionally, I’d look out my kitchen window and peep at my neighbors curious how their city dwellings were and how they spent their time. I noticed they had the same layout and kitchen appliances as I did. Their homes weren’t anything to be envious or intrigued about. They were one and the same made differently by the owner’s personal taste. As far as anything racy went, the most action I came across was the couple one floor down. They’d kiss and cuddle in the kitchen but nothing more than that. They quickly lost my interest and blended in as part of the backdrop.

The other night as I was washing dishes I glanced over and caught a glimpse of my neighbor as she stood over the stove tending to a frying pan. I did a double take and saw that she clearly had a bun in the oven. Her stomach protruded and it looked like she could be six months pregnant. I finished washing my dishes but the image of my neighbor stayed with me. Clearly the harmless canoodling had evolved into something else!

I could not help but think that in a few months I may look over into their window and see them balancing a baby in their arms with a burping towel on their shoulder all while cooking something on the stove. I could look over and it might be entirely new neighbors or a new color scheme with different furniture. I had been in my apartment for two years and it took the changes in my neighbor for me to realize how quickly time passes by in the city. Come Fall, I’ll be moving to a new place ready for new experiences, new adventures, and new neighbors. I’ve tackled a rodent problem, dealt with an eccentric neighbor, threw my very first hurricane party, survived a hurricane, installed a portable air conditioning unit, and encountered so many issues I would not have normally come across in the suburbs.

I’m centering in on my five year anniversary of moving to the East Coast. When I first moved here, I said I’d be good for just five years and then ready to move back to suburban life. Now that that five is coming about, I could not picture my life any other way. I don’t think I’ll be running back to the suburbs any time soon. The traffic, the noise, the variety of daily life, and constant motion has become a part of my life. I’ve adapted and I’ve adapted willingly.

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