Sunday, September 06, 2009

A bathtub and a fireplace

A bathtub and a fireplace are the holy grails of New York apartment living. Ironically, my apartment used to have both, which I found out when I went to the Tenement Museum, since it gives tours of an old, derelict tenement on the Lower East Side, which happens to be identical in blueprint to mine. The apartments used to be railroad style (one room is reached through the other, without a hallway), with a fireplace in the front bedroom, a bathtub and a fireplace in the kitchen, followed by a back bedroom with no window. There were two shared toilets per floor. That my apartment used to be set up in this way was confirmed for me by a neighbour on the first floor who has lived here for ages; she knew the "nice old Polish lady" who used to live in my place when it was rent-controlled at $95.86 a month, and still had the bathtub in the kitchen. "I remember when your apartment was being renovated," she says. I can still see the remnants for myself - the two drywalled outcroppings on my wall hiding fireplaces, the window onto nothing where the hall toilet used to be.

No comments: