What’s that you say? You want to see what my flat looks like? Oh go on then.
Well for starters, here’s the building it’s in – my apartment is about halfway up.
It’s HUGE particularly considering the block is as central as it could be without being the Times Square tkts booth.
I’ve never used the sitting room. It’s too big for me and I can’t cosy up on leather. But the sitting room has floor to ceiling windows leading out to a balcony and every night when I turn my key, before I turn on the light, I always catch my breath when I check the view of the city. It’s New York straight from Central Casting – all water towers, fire escapes, brown brick and metal and glass structures that reach right up to the clouds.
I was Sleepless in New York at first. I had been warned that it’d be loud in the flat but I didn’t believe it. People live in these blocks full-time, there must be triple glazing? But there isn’t. It’s so loud you can’t believe it it at first. The night I arrived, I was horrified to hear what I thought was the sound of someone committing suicide by jumping off a building, a human wail that pitched, as, I thought, the person fell. I sat in bed with my unpacked suitcase beside me, eyes goggling, as the sound repeated every hour or so. Truly it was a couple of days before I realised that the eerily human sound was a police car siren.
I’ve since bulk-bought ear plugs – joy! – and a sleep mask – double joy, those city bright lights are nothing if not bright – and I’ve found sweet sweet sleep again.
I’ve discovered, too, that I have no motivation for keeping fit. I have a glorious gym in my basement, complete with a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and more machines than I would know how to use. Yet in 3 weeks I’ve been twice. TWICE. For 15 minutes each time. I only have to take a lift down a few floors, they provide clean towels, water with fruit in it (you don’t get water with fruit in it at Fitness First) and I still can’t bring myself to go. My poor 72-year-old marathon running father. I am a disappointment.
My neighbour is The Walter Kerr theatre, which is home to The Heiress and a mad, long line of Jessica Chastain/Dan Stevens autograph hunters at the stage door every night. All around me are theatres and musicals – it took me five minutes to walk to Avenue Q last week.
The pay-off for all this is that my nearest shops are M&Ms World and Hershey World. Which I think must be the American equivalent of the Aberdeen Angus Steak House. WHO GOES IN? Someone needs to carry out an investigation.
But that’s a small fry trade-off. It may not be the West Village but it’s New York right to the very heart of it, with all its noise and lights and theatre. And for now, it’s home.