How the 'same half' live in NYC

The view over the Hudson from the 26th floor of a Trump tower, where I'm not presently staying. Here's another ...

SO HERE I am in NYC, holed up for a few fleeting days in a most privileged fashion: I have the complete run of a 489 sq. foot studio apartment in gayboy central Chelsea, courtesy of my NY host, a walking Wikipedia of the built environment, who I shall codename David, to protect the real David ....

To my right is a book shelf groaning with every tree ever pulped in the name of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, among other stylemasters of shelter.

To my left is wall of superbly framed portraits of these men who've elevated the 3x2 to to the sublime, which quietly state 'you are in the temple of an architectural nut - and those cushions don't go with those pants.'

To my rear is a kitchen, which has never seen so much as a cup of Top Ramen in a rested state. When I casually mentioned I was going to cook a meal, my host looked up from his Isamu Noguchi clothbound volume and gave me a look I won't bear to describe much less photograph.

As you would expect of a minimalist modernist architect, this pad is immaculate. My long black Asian hair, which threatens to carpet most places I have stayed, is meticulously swept away by unseen hands with only a polite muttering of 'it's a wonder you're not bald'.

There is barely enough room to swing a roach by the short and curlies, but a roach would never make it past the threshold without being stylishly dispatched with a Philippe Starck fly swatter ...

Oh, to be the houseguest of an architect ...

Speaking of 'cooler than thou', I laughed out loud when I read this review of the Balenciaga store in NYC.

The people you run into near soft tofu restaurants!

'Those places resemble a Soviet-era bakery,' said Bike Friday customer, Jeff, who I ran into on the other side of the George Washington Bridge trying to chase down the 5 Boro Bike Club. I actually wrote about this icier-than-thou store last year.

"They don't need to sell anything," says local artist Rodney Durso. "It's there as a marketing presence." Now there's a job that's a notch above being a night watchman for a breakfast burrito joint - you get to stand watch over a single $250 glove wearing $5000 threads and ignore anyone scuffling in wearing Tevas and a nylon bomber jacket. Where do I apply?

We ate at a Soft Tofu Korean restaurant near the George Washington Bridge that dumped you smack in the middle of Asia the moment you walked in the door, complete with surly non-English speaking proprietor and chili over everything. It was a welcome antidote to my introduction and probably swansong at steak Shangri-La Peter Luger's courtesy of BF Club of Central Jersey leader Ben Blum.

Jeff lives in one of the three banal (well, compared to this) but imposing Trump towers lording over the Hudson. To my nosey delight, he invited me to take a look inside. We were bailed up at the door by an immaculately attired doorman - we're talking coat tails and peaked cap here - he wanted to check out our 'cool' Bike Fridays. We found out he was a biker, a carbon fiber dude, which goes to show it never hurts to get friendly with your local stranger. Jeff might now have a buddy to ride with.

"New York is full of vertical neighborhoods," said Jeff. "People get to know each other crossing the corridor above and below, rather than crossing the street."

Hello? Sounds ideal, but that's not been my experience of apartment living, which I always thought might be like Melrose Place or Friends ...

"Well, we have a pool and a gym, and get togethers, people tend to see each other more."

We need things to force us together, we humans. To simply go up and introduce yourself is unthinkable.

In Chicago, my friend Sandra showed me the sofa in the giant goods lift at the old Dr Scholl's factory, now an apartment block. Imagine book club meetings in the elevator, with people popping in and out to contribute for the duration of their trip ...

Jeff's no glitz-guy. He and his wife live 'how the same half live' in NYC - in a cosy 1-bedroom, albeit crammed with bicycles. He chose it because he says, the place simply functions. "No matter what you think of Trump and the kind of people who buy into his image, the place is spotless, the services work, the doorman are polite, they bring up your stuff, there's a bike room downstairs."

Goes to show that you can be as cool or uncool or as icy as you want, as long as you mind the details ...

Below: Even boring buildings seem dramatic in NY, 'the center of the universe' as certain rabid locals call it. Pictures of office blocks taken near, but not exactly of, the Trump towers ...


Valerie said…
LOVE your photographs!!! Also glad to have an update to read! Hope you're well!

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