- Posted July 27, 2012 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Living in small spaces
It's Up To You, When Living In New York, New York
- Anika3, CNN iReport producer
The preoccupation with size has always been one for the guys, so I'll let them continue to have that. In the meantime, I'll go on living large in a couple hundred square feet of down and dirty, downtown New York City brownstone life. I just signed another one year lease, making this my thirteenth year in the space. I'd say it's getting tricky, but I've become a minimalist *mastress*.
I arrived in New York City in 1997 wanting nothing more than to live in New York City--meaning Manhattan proper, 212, glorious Frank Sinatra serenaded New York, New York!--alas, being a 23 year old waitress with a dance degree didn't leave heavy ink on the lease application, especially during an economy so flipped upside-down from our current situation. Proper renters, a.k.a. those kids with proper "business" creds, arrived check-ready with pockets full of *gwap* and the rest of us were artistically screwed. So I "suffered" in the boroughs for two years, until I had a breakthrough and partied like it was, indeed, 1999.
At age 25 I managed to secure rent stabilized GOLD! A place to live in the East Village--my number one choice of neighborhoods in Manhattan. I was finally O-U-T *out* of the 718...my arrival had been made official, especially with the Verizon installation. I had a place in New York City to call my own. A year later, I made it a true home by adding the most special kind of love that greets you at the door everytime you enter it: a puppy! A little Shih Tzu I named Wookie arrived at 4lbs, 1 ounce and she was the Best. Adornment. Ever.
For many years my work was done right from this little home and I was just fine by that, *Jack*. This little studio had legs; the place was ALIVE, man! The computer was the lifeblood for my work as a marketing consultant and writer. When the internet was out, it felt like the central nervous system of my apartment had been shutdown; when Wookie was gone, it felt like the heart had been ripped out. Since the year of the highly overplayed Prince anthem, it has been me and The Woo and a rotating cast of friends dropping by for a few laughs, some spirits, and a spell on the couch, all of us just...*living the dream.* Seriously.
For these last 13 years, I have referred to this space as 300 square feet; however, upon taking actual measurements for this article, the accurate data--complete with a crude hand drawn floor plan--is 214.2 square feet: a sadness realized.
For years I partied my *arse arf* in this space without a care. Didn't care about the smallness, didn't care about the neighbors (rude), and didn't care about the decor one bit at all. Interior design was for those uptown housewives with an endless credit line and zero ambition. The walls were a dirty white, the floor was dirty and hard, but the atmosphere always whispered a soft "Welcome!" And didn't none of my friends nor fellas mind about the spacial matter, for it was a place to crash in The Greatest City In The World...but only after the Devil done had his way with us.
Small spaces force you to become a product of your environment. The best by-product by far is a resulting lack of materialism: when there is simply nowhere to put anything, there's no reason to buy anything. I still like to keep those photos and momentos and gifts that matter, but the clothes hoarding has gone bye-bye. Yet even with this newfound selectiveness, and a torrid liaison with The Container Store, I basically have now, what would be best described as a very large walk-in closet that I sleep and eat in.
Truth: Can one call live in these small spaces? Obviously. Truthfully: I'm over it. I'm too old for this. It's time to improve and move forward and get into a space with a floor that's level, for once (yes, this unsinkable Molly Brownstone is a-sinking!). It's time to have a place to sleep where I don't have to stare and obsess and compulse over the crease lines of my folded clothes while I watch the tee vee. I want more. I want a proper kitchen. I want actual closets. And mostly, I want my own luxurious bathroom because oh, how I have missed that singular cure, that lone indulgence which can take all a girl's troubles away: The bubble bath! And I have missed this gift every single night of the week for the past 624 weeks.
Time to check-in to The Plaza.