Lame Adventure 471: New Beginnings

Six years ago I started writing Lame Adventures because I was down on my luck. The country was deep in recession and I needed something free to fill my time following a twenty percent pay cut in 2009. Writing a blog was the perfect solution. I had to take photographs, concoct a story, make it somewhat coherent, and field comments from my trickle of followers. That was a great time sponge.

Over the years, as my following increased, The Grind every so often stuck a crow bar in the company safe and returned some of my cut pay. After my father shed his mortal coil in summer 2014, my siblings and I sold our family home in San Francisco, and split the proceeds three ways. Suddenly I was up on my luck. My brother, Axel, suggested the unfathomable:

Axel: Why don’t you look into buying a piece of New York real estate?

Give up the rent stabilized apartment in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side that I had called my sanctum sanctorum for over thirty years? So it was in a walk-up building with thin walls, worn floors, torn window screens, it had one closet, the refrigerator light was busted and a replacement bulb could not be found, the bathroom sink leaked, and the ancient stove, originally intended for a motor home, had to be lit with a match. It wasn’t wired for air conditioning, it only had three outlets with five working plugs, I had to walk three blocks to the laundromat in the blistering heat and freezing cold, my letter carrier was the poster child for anger management, the tenant below me lay dead on the floor for several days in 2014, and last summer, I temporarily had a room mate, a pigeon that flew in through the chimney. Was my closest living male relative smoking crack when he suggested that I give up that slice of paradise?

Is that spit in my mailbox or just pure venom?

Is that spit in my mailbox or pure venom?

The time had come to do what had initially seemed unthinkable: stop being a renter and start being an owner. It took all of 2015 through January of 2016 for me to complete this process. After searching for eight months, bidding half a dozen times on apartments as far north as 103rd Street and south as 57th Street, getting rejected five times in the ferocious blood sport that is Manhattan real estate shopping, I finally had my offer accepted. Then, I entered a new hell: the complicated buying process for this sliver of Big Apple in a landmark Emery Roth co-op building a short walk from my former sanctum sanctorum.

Before I started looking into purchasing a place, I would not have known Emery Roth from an emery board. He’s the architect who designed the iconic San Remo, the building with the two towers that I’m flying past in my banner. To afford to live in the San Remo, you need the assets of a sultan. Considering that I remain in the neighborhood that I’ve called home for over thirty years, I feel like I’ve won Powerball gaining admittance into discount Emery Roth. Residents that live on the side of the San Remo facing east get a view of Central Park. In my building, my apartment faces north, so my view is a dentist’s terrace.

As long as he doesn't play the tuba naked at midnight, I'm fine with this view.

As long as he doesn’t play the tuba naked at midnight, this equals Central Park to me.

My new building has an opulent lobby, two elevators, an immaculate laundry room (open twenty hours a day, seven days a week), 24 hour doormen who greet me warmly and accept my deliveries, a live-in super and friendly handyman. My apartment has air conditioning, two closets, a real stove, a refrigerator with a light, and unlike my old sanctum sanctorum, room for a couch and space for a desk. Electricity is included in the maintenance.

Yes, the shadow box coffee table is full of tiles.

Yes, the shadow box coffee table is full of tiles.

Where I was sitting as I wrote this post.

Where I was sitting as I wrote this post under a TV with devil horns.

Because my new place is near my old one, I didn’t hire movers. Aside from my spin bike, pictures, a file box and magazine rack, I ditched my old furniture and decided to start over fresh. What I did keep, about a third of what I had, required approximately 347 pack mule schleps with a duffel bag. I parted with many things I didn’t even know I had from my first phone to a specimen cup.

Specimen cup: at least it was empty.

Specimen cup: at least it was empty … or evaporated.

Despite its many quirks, I bid my rental apartment of 32 years and four months a fond adieu.

A final locking of the old door.

A final locking of the old door.

When I returned the keys, I suspect that my now elderly Irish landlady tossed aside her cane and did a little Riverdance, shouting at the top of her lungs:

Irish Landlady: Hallelujah, she’s gone! We can double the rent!

I am adapting to the good life in my new sanctum sanctorum at warp speed, but I am confident that wherever I go, more Lame Adventures will follow.

These guys were parked on my block as I was schlepping: maybe next time I'll hire them.

These guys were parked on my block as I was schlepping: maybe next time I’ll hire them.

Advertisements

95 responses to “Lame Adventure 471: New Beginnings

  1. Hooray for the successful move and the new beginning. Moving is never easy, and let’s face it – 32 years of a wide range of memories some to the forefront -especially especially in the sorting/packing process. Nonetheless, you made it … done good … and cheers to Axel for suggesting the unthinkable. … Now I presume the new digs is MSA recognized … the Milton Seal of Approval. Thanks for the update! … and cheers to more Lame Adventures in the future!!!! … and yes, I miss your presence. Thanks for providing a good start to my week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww, that’s great, Frank! Yes, Milton is over the moon over the new digs. He’s been very generous with the decorating input. As a man of taste, he had some GREAT ideas that I used. When I was hunting he was dragged to many open houses. On probably the hottest day in July, I dragged him to three; two that I bid on and both I didn’t get. He predicted who would outbid me on one and I’m pretty sure he was right: Joe Speculator i.e., a guy who paid all cash. It’s impossible to compete with those swells. Milton was sure that he was buying it to flip it. There’s a lot of that going on in NYC. Brooklyn might be the “col” borough, but Manhattan real estate is sizzling hot, demand is high and supply is low. This adventure shaved time off Milton’s life as well as both my siblings and The Boss. It even haunted Elspeth’s dreams. Everyone suffered. But now I have a fantastic little place in my favorite Manhattan neighborhood. I’m still a bit in shock about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! I’m glad to see you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so happy for you!! Keep up the great writing in your new sanctuary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Huge congrats !!!

    Love it!!!

    R.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am happy to see your return. Congrats on the new digs. I look forward to your analysis of the various odds and ends of the apt and the neighborhood. You are able to personalize NYC like no other person I know. (fyi…you are the only person I know in NYC)

    Welcome back 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jim. There were so many LA’s in the hunt, the buying and the approval process, but I couldn’t focus on that then. But when I was schlepping my stuff past the Junkluggers truck (please note: parked in front of a fire hydrant) I had to stop and photograph it. That was just too LA to resist!

      Like

  6. So good to see your post today, V. Congratulations on your new digs! From your descriptions of your old apartment I’m just curious as to how that specimen cup managed to hide for so long. It sounds to me like the apartment was microscopic!

    The shots you’ve included here of your new space look wonderful. Looks like you have some nice light in your living room along with hardwood floors. Nice!

    I’m glad to see you’ve resurfaced on the blogosphere and I look forward to future posts.

    Cathy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cathy! I think that specimen cup might make it into a sequel. Let’s just say if a specimen cup could flip me the bird, this one did. My old space was not much smaller than this one and it had fantastic eleven foot ceilings, but there was little storage space, an alcove kitchen that was barely 3′ x 6′ (it blew Milton’s mind how much I was able to cook in there) with no counterspace and little cabinetry. Shortly before I moved I whacked my head hard on the ancient, cast iron kitchen sink and nearly knocked myself out. I was walking down Queer Street that day. Looking back, I loved the location so much, the rent was low and building management so pleasant, I overlooked how tough it was to live there. But Milton has summed up the new space succinctly: “Ritzy!” It is in very good shape and the walls are thick plaster. They don’t make walls like that in new buildings. I love Emery Roth!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Having moved myself two years ago, I know just how difficult that can be. It is hard to get reorganized in a new place, and every place has its advantages and its disadvantages. The advantages we take for granted (almost); but the difficulties have to be resolved…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Where I am now, Shimon, is all advantage. I suppose the benefit of moving things piecemeal via countless schleps is that I really do know where everything is. What was difficult was the sorting, dumping and endless schlepping.

      Like

  8. Congrats! It’s been a long road, but Reggie and I are glad to hear that you’ve settled into your new place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations, V.! I am so very happy for you! A miracle. I look forward to reading many happy adventures written from your new desk in your new digs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Carol! I love this desk and I assembled it myself. Yet another Lame Adventure I didn’t have the time to write, but compared to the day-long torture that was assembling the coffee table, piecing the desk together was like being on vacation.

      Like

      • Then there’s the story of my daughter’s and my attempt to assemble a simple Wal-Mart bookcase — sitting there staring at little piles of screws and brackets and boards all around us on the floor, when just then a friend phoned. She had just restored her historic building almost singlehandedly. She came right over and directed our production. So, I can relate. I’d much rather assemble words.

        Like

  10. Congratulations! This is great news.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just..wow! Words can’t express how thrilled I am for you. I’m sure your dear father, God rest his soul, would be very pleased that you finally have the nice abode you deserve in the city you love so much. What great news!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no way I’d have this pad without my dad, Melissa. My only regret is that I can’t pick up the phone and tell him about it. My siblings, Axel and Dovima, are thrilled about it. They’ve lived the play by play about this venture from start to finish. They’re as relieved as me that I’m settled.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I was just talking about you with Danny yesterday. I thought I’d never see another Lame Adventure and here you are!
    Congrats on your new digs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well done!! Besos and see you tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nice to see you back. Why, in Bog’s name, would you keep a specimen cup? WHY? Did you have a little moment when you left your place? Despite how awful it was, it’s home. I don’t know how you couldn’t feel anything.

    Fun fact: The penthouse in one of those San Remo towers is owned by Bono. The other is owned by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. The Willis’ put it on the market last year and there were pics of the interior posted on the listing. Mama mia. It’s how I aspire to live but never will.

    Will you be commenting on the Supreme Court follies? I hope so.

    ‘Smokefall’ tomorrow at the Lucy Lortel, my least-favorite theater on the planet. I just got a $25 ‘obstructed view’ seat to ‘Buried Child.’ My friend saw it over the weekend and said the view shouldn’t be too terrible. He liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt a lot of emotion. As much as I loathed my landlady (and the loathing was mutual), I had genuine affection for Building Management and a cluster of neighbors. I will miss them. But the place was in dire need of a total makeover and as a rental, I just didn’t want to sink any money into it or request renovations that would increase the rent. But I like to think I left it with a lot of good vibes, if not plenty of snark.

      Yes, I’m very aware of the celebrities who’ve resided/reside in the San Remo and I saw the pictures of Demi’s place. Talk about a mansion in the sky! One of the most talent-free actresses sure made a brilliant investment when she a) bought that place and b) got to keep it after her marriage tanked. It’s so spacious, I think my entire apartment would fit in one of her kitchen cabinets.

      I had an opportunity to usher ‘Smokefall’, but I was so wrapped up in moving, I failed to respond to the email. Milton and I are also seeing ‘Buried
      Child’ in obstructed view seats, but we’re going next month. This week we’re seeing ‘Noises Off’. Milton’s heard mixed reviews about it, so we’re bracing ourselves.

      Like

  15. Welcome back! And congrats on the new apartment! How fabulous for you, and what perseverance to go through the process of finding a place in NYC. Here’s hoping the pigeons don’t get your new address!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Congratulations on the move, LA! Happy New Home and all that!
    I take it you have space for the odd passing pigeon or two? I always wondered what the San Remo building was whenever I saw pictures of it, but your blog and book have brought it more to the front… at least I know more now! Also, I hope it’s a tad warmer where you are now – things have chilled considerably over this side of the water – I was hoping for an early Spring…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tom! This place is pigeon-free. I saw a few sparrows on the dentist’s terrace in fall, so maybe they’ll come around again in spring. The weather out here has been wildly wacky. Over the weekend it was as cold as zero, today it snowed and tomorrow, it’s going to rain and the temperature could hit a high of 55. At this rate, maybe by the weekend, it will really rain cats and dogs.

      Like

  17. Congrats! Your a big kid now!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pretty awesome !! Congratulations
    Did the mailman really spit in your boxes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That angry carrier was a woman. I don’t know what that black stain was but one day I opened my mailbox and it just appeared. Maybe it was her way of saying goodbye when the change of address form came to her attention.

      Like

  19. V,
    Good to see you back and congrats on the new digs! That goat pillow is uber cool and I want it. Believe it or not I have heard of Roth. When I wrote condo descriptions I had to research the builders and developers of some of the most iconic Manhattan cribs. So glad you are settled in yours and let’s hope they’ll be no neighbors lying for days on the floor below you. I know it’s been a rough year for you and I’m very glad some glorious good is in your life. Cheers my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You summed it up perfectly, Brig, some “glorious good” is in my life. The longer I looked for a place, the more impossible it seemed, but I had a very dedicated broker who stuck with me and was determined I’d find that elusive crib in Manhattan. The goat pillow was a b-day gift from a friend a few years back. Yeah, I like it, too. It adds nice punctuation to the sofa.

      Like

    • Wait a minute, I missed the goat pillow. I see it now. That is way cool and I want it too. Looks great on the sofa… Good eyes, Brigitte!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Congratulations. I have been wondering what you were up to … you’re moving on up! I wish you many lame adventures in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So great to hear from you V! Congrats! Congrats! Congrats on getting a new place…with AC, a laundry room, doorman, lobby and the awesome tuba-less view. Love it! I can’t wait to hear about all the Lame Adventures you had packed away and the ones yet to come. New building … new stories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So glad to have you back. We missed you a lot. I’m impressed with your location. It must really feel great! Do you sense a change in your grandeur? I would, walking up CPW and entering the San Remo at the end of the day from the grind.
    Looking forward to some LA from a totally different environment. Do you still use the same Fairway Supermarket? I am so happy for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Tom, I still shop at Fairway. No, I don’t trespass at the San Remo. Thanks for checking in!

      Like

      • I only met a new sumptuous environment, not about LA from where you eat. How apropos your habitat would catch up to your book cover picture. It must of been a subconscious goal you were thinking years ago.

        Like

        • Hm, “a subconscious goal” that I was thinking years ago. I don’t think so. The idea of me living in a building like this never crossed my mind. At first, I wanted to continue living in a brownstone or townhouse, but it was my broker who knocked sense into my head about that. She was my brain throughout this process.

          Like

  23. And you lived to tell about it! Happy nesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! More than a few times I told my bud, Milton, that I anticipated dropping dead of a heart attack by the time I finally moved in, but I think I was saved by the field of organic kale that I eat annually.

      Like

  24. SOOO glad to know you’re doing well, in fact, Super Well! I was worried about the Lame Adventures Void. Your rent stabilised spot makes mine look like a palace. CONGRATULATIONS on Home Ownership! Electricity included???? Honey, you struck the Con Edison Lottery Goldmine – ConEd has the highest electrical rates in the country. Live well & prosper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks for visiting and commenting Pentacles Queen! My old digs had character, but it was in dire need of a total makeover. Like the new place, it was also electrical inclusion, but unlike the new place, my old place prohibited a/c. That was torture in summer. I’m elated that those days are over.

      Like

  25. Congrats, Virginia! While I’m envious of your real estate ownership, I am surprisingly envious of your specimen cup ownership. While I can easily get one at the nearest drug store, I cannot get one with your name on it. Oh, sure, I can write it on there myself, but that somehow feels false, akin to sending myself a birthday card and signing your name to it.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Naturally, there is a Lame Adventure behind that specimen cup, Mike. I suppose that’s better than a Lame Adventure being in it.

      I would have sooner expected to own one of the pyramids in Egypt than a speck of the Big Apple and there were times when this hunt was so discouraging I thought pursuing home ownership was insane. The competition out there is fierce and the inventory is low. I attended the open house for my place on the first day along with a stampede of other real estate shoppers. The vast majority entered the place and made a quick about face out the door. Right then and there, I had an inkling that it was going to be mine.

      Like

  26. Here’s to hoping that the majority (at least 51%) of your guests don’t also react with a quick about face out the door. If so, you may want to consider no longer serving olive loaf.

    Pride of ownership must be a thrill. I’m sure it will come with its own set of headaches, but exiting the renter role must be exciting.

    Like

    • My longtime bud, Lola, was over here for dinner tonight and we did snack on olives minus the loaf. That seemed to be a hit, possibly helped by the fair amount of robust Spanish red we quaffed, too.

      It is very true that I have pride of ownership, but with a co-op, I own shares. It’s different than owning a house. It’s basically owning an apartment. I pay maintenance that covers all the things I don’t have to deal with from building upkeep to trash collection. Lola thinks this building rocks. Living here is quite an upgrade from where I came from, but I had a good run living in that brownstone. I was very happy there, too. Despite its shortcomings and quirks, I had a genuine affection for that place.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Bettielou Wagner

    So happy for you!! I have missed you!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. HUZZAH! you’re back AND in new digs! I’ve been away from my blog and all y’all, so it was a great pleasure to see you over at Brother Exile’s place. Congratulations, Mazel tov, Mabruk, and all kinds of good wishes, sweetpea! xoxox

    (I’ve moved 17 times over the course of my marriage and this last one, eight years ago, is, god willing and the creek (really, there is one) don’t rise, my last! It’s never fun. (OK, my last packing boxes because the next one will probably be ME in a box! LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, 17 moves and you’re still alive to talk about it! You are Wonder Woman (minus the skimpy attire), Savannah! Excluding moving into my dorm room at NYUseless in 1982, and that entailed three suitcases and a bag of bedding I purchased at Macy’s, until this most recent move into my new digs, moving into my old sanctum santorum was until last month, my only major move in NYC and in my life. I did that in about an hour with a friend. We fit all my worldly goods in a Dodge Dart. Moving out took me a month and half and I did most of it solo. I owned, donated and junked significantly more worldly goods accumulated over the last 32 years. I needed two weeks to recover. I would not be surprised if I move out of my new digs in a pine box, too, possibly one made in Savannah!

      Great to hear from you. Thanks for checking in! Yes, sometimes how Real Life gets in the way of blogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I’m so glad you’re back–and with a new domicile. That was an epic Lame Adventure for sure. Can’t wait to see what you get up to at the new place. Congrats and welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Wonderful storytelling. The pics are priceless. I found you by way of http://susielindau.com! Wishing you a smooth recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. good for you! I’m excited and happy that you have your own place now. Congrats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Russell. I thought that I might have separation anxiety from the shabby (un)chic rental I called home for over 32 years. I can say with authority that I thought wrong. This place is, to quote an American icon, Tony the Tiger, “Grrreat!”

      Like

  32. Good to see you back on the blog – and moving up in the world!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. The Oracle Jasmine Kyle

    I think it was straight up venom in your mail box!

    Like

  34. Happy Saint Patty’s Day, V!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Hey Virginia, this is Mia Spiri, niece of Beverly Spiri! We met a couple years ago. I just wanted you to know that I love your blog and I still follow it. Super congratulations on getting an apartment in NY, that is amazing news. It sounds like you are doing well, and I will keep followin ya! Next time I am in NY with my Aunt maybe you can give us another good play recommendation and we can meet up. All the best!

    Like

    • What a delight hearing from you Mia! I had fun hanging out with you and your Aunt Beverly that lovely day two years ago. As you know, your infinitely cool aunt and I go back. Her Jezzie was probably the smartest Yorkie ever. (I loved that dog.) Thanks for the congrats. I thought I might undergo a period of adjustment transitioning from being a long-time New York City renter to a first-time New York City home owner. I can say with authority that I thought wrong about that. This Talking Heads song from my youth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bM9LOtjmdHM could be my theme song now in (late) middle age or early decrepitude. Absolutely whenever you’re in Manhattan again, visit me! And bring Aunt Bev! I hope that you’re doing well.

      Like

  36. pentaclesqueen

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (a day late I think) from a fellow Taurus. Hope it was great!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s