Thursday, January 30, 2014


There was a point after we left New York when the dream of ever returning was as likely as Chris Christy being hired as a toll collector at the George Washington Bridge, but things change.
It's been four years since all three of us piled into a 20' U-Haul with everything we could salvage from our financial district apartment, our Chelsea office, our weekend Catskill home and drove to Madison, Wisconsin. Then we began a one thousand four hundred and sixty day trek connecting what is with what was.
The result - our new home away from home, our pied-a-terre, our Upper Westside digs in the city so filled with possibilities you never want to leave.
It just made sense. At about the one thousandth one hundred and forty-third day it became clear that our constant back and forth between Mad City and the Big Apple and mooching off of friends for a place to stay was becoming a waste of time and a drain on our resources. Without a permanent place to hang our hats we had to rethink our living arrangements. Our conclusion: it was time to fire up the U-Haul for a return trip back to New York City.
We set a monthly limit for rent that we, of course, blew once we started making our rounds and seeing what was available for our original (what we thought) generous budget. Maybe we had been in Madison too long, if we wanted to buy a six-pack of Skinny Cow cookies 'n cream sandwiches at the Fairway on Broadway we were going to have to triple what we had paid for those same Skinny Cows at the local big box grocery store here in Madison, and this translated to the coin it was going to take us to rent an apartment anywhere in Manhattan.
There are a lot of peanut apartments out there and we saw a lot of them, bathtubs in the kitchen, bathrooms so small once you were inside you couldn't close the door, and rooms where you could literally stand in the middle and touch two opposing walls. What we found wasn't much bigger but it does have a separate bedroom with a door that actually works and some pretty nice amenities.
We've spruced the place up with a lot of IKEA and the benefits of having a slue of one-offs from our furniture line to fill out the space. We're eclectic and so is the apartment.
The inspiration of layering Victorian charm with contemporary sleekness was already in the bones of the apartment. They kept the fireplace (even though it doesn't work) that anchors the room and butted up a contemporary kitchen with a tile backsplash that compliments the tile on the fireplace providing a yin to the fireplace's yang.
And then there's the color: white with a hint of seafoam and aqua. The ceramic tiles on the fireplace and the glass tiles in the kitchen lead the way. We added the pottery and pillows.
The bedroom barely beat the stretch test but at just over six feet wide I can't quite win the touch-both-walls test.
We've figured a way with a pullout trundle bed and a queen size sofa sleeper how to sleep up to four comfortably. It's just that when you pull the trundle out you can't get to the closet so you need to choose your sleepwear carefully before you pull the trundle out.
The point is the space is no more or no less than what we need. It's comfortable, it's perfectly located, and in the spring you can hear the park.

West 122nd Street, 1979
Philip Trager, photographer
Represented by Julie Saul Gallery, NYC

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