Four more days before we say goodbye to Williamsburg. This was the fourth place I lived at in Williamsburg, and the longest. Eight and a half years, according to Mark, our landlord.
The building in the picture above is our building, 724 Broadway. It is the tallest building on the block and was built in the 1860’s. It was used as light manufacturing and storage, a commercial space until Mark bought the building and converted it into residential lofts. Not a big loft, but a loft nevertheless.
When we first moved in, it had a big PEZ in 6-foot high white letters painted on the side you can see from the Flushing Ave. Station. I’m not a big fan of graffiti, most of it is too sloppy and haphazard to be attractive, but there was something about the neatness of the big block letters that appealed to me.
As you can see the less appealing SMEWS CASH and other assorted haphazard junk has covered up the PEZ. You can still see the top edge of PEZ that wasn’t quite covered.
The front door gets special attention from the graffiti fucks as well. The only interesting graffiti I ever saw on the door was this summer when someone was doing the Alien little green man thing all over the neighborhood. This was on the window of our front door one morning:
They also managed to do it on the big plate glass window of the Tattoo parlor-slash-Chinese Bodywork parlor on the corner of Flushing and Broadway. I wondered how they got up there.
But mostly the door was covered in a jumble of incomprehensible junk, which the landlord and the Doe Foundation guys would periodically paint over. I liked the alien, but one day I came down and it was gone. It’s still on the window of the bodywork place.
I love this apartment, the space, the floors, the 8eight and a half-year-old appliances.
The new apartment is smaller; we’re losing 500 square feet of space, and are in the process of getting rid of the stuff that fits into 500 square feet of space. My friend Lisa bought the elliptical machine, I’m gonna miss that. Someone took the beautiful antique armoire and a couple of our friends have taken chairs, mirrors and other knick-knacks.
We’ve thrown away a ton of stuff, donated a bunch of stuff to Housing Works, and have more to go. It’s mind-boggling.
One time I moved, it seems I’m always moving; I hired a guy from the methadone program I was on at the time to move me, he and his friend Mikey that he’d been in Vietnam with. They rented a 16-foot truck and we moved from another loft in Williamsburg, (that was when I was with my first wife) and the guy, his name was Joe, marveled that I had everything packed in boxes and labeled.
“How would you do it?” I asked.
“I just put everything in plastic garbage bags,” he said. I’m glad I’m not on methadone anymore.
Joe stole my bike during the move, it was during a snowstorm in February in 2000, and he asked if he could borrow my bike in the middle of the move, he had to give money to his wife or something.
He came back two hours later without the bike; he said someone had stolen it when he went up to talk to the wife.
Me and my wife and the other guy, a guy named Mikey had done all the loading, and all Joe had to do was drive.
That move was to Spanish Harlem, East 121st street. Now we are going to the west side, on 152nd Street. Also from a Williamsburg loft.
We’ve hired some Russian movers this time. Danusia and I used Russian movers when we moved in together in 2006, and they were fast, so fast it took them only three and a half hours to move two separate apartments into one.
Then again, both of those apartments were tiny and we didn’t have a lot of stuff.
It’s the stuff that will get you every time. But I’m used to abandoning stuff, I don’t know how many things I’ve left at women’s homes after a breakup, or at a job after quitting or getting fired.
I’m more responsible now, that’s why I have a good credit rating and get steady work. Part of that responsibility is leaving this apartment as empty and as clean as possible.
When I worked in the building I got fired from a cleaned out a lot of apartments, and you get to know a little about people by how they leave an apartment. You see how clean or dirty they were, and how much they care about ‘stuff.” Some people even take the toilet paper and all the light bulbs. I know I’m not taking the bulbs, but the toilet paper, that’s another story.