When my partner and I began looking for a home in New York we had many expectations that we believed, at the time, to be reasonable for our price range. First, must allow dogs. Second, must have a washer and dryer in the unit. Third, hard wood floors. Finally, it would have to be in Cobble Hill, Park Slope, or Brooklyn Heights.
With hopes set far too high, we flew from New Orleans to the city for a long weekend of house hunting. Our first viewing was a place in Bushwick. It did not tick the boxes. Pets were permitted and there were hard woods, but there was no washer and dryer, and it was not in one of our three chosen locations. On top of all that, it was a four-hundred square foot studio.
But the photographs were beautiful. After much persuasion, I convinced by partner that we would just take a quick look. What harm could it do? The first thing we saw when we walked up the trash strewn sidewalk was a heavily graffitied garage door with a spiked gate to the left. ‘Just give it a chance’.
We were escorted down a long alley that ran along the side of the garage. On the left were woven and reaching metal sculptures dashed with string lights. A swath of bamboo shot up then hung down like a beaded curtain. We pushed past it. To the right was a raised bed with three vividly green saplings, below them, a plaster skunk as yard art. In front, a wooden cottage, stone steps, iron railings, this beautiful thing hidden in the middle of a Bushwick block.
Inside we found high ceilings, exposed beams, marble counters, brick walls, and custom carved cabinets. We couldn’t hear the sounds of the streets, no honking traffic, no children hollering. It was entirely peaceful.
Right away I knew it was the home for us, but I told them, ‘we need to look a few places, but we’ll let you know as soon as we can’. Seven apartments later and by lunch the next day, we had decided. A day later we signed the lease.
Every Saturday morning I sit by our tall windows and look out at the trees in our courtyard. The sun grows brighter, the birds and squirrels start to patter through the small garden, my dog comes and warms herself against my legs and I forget, almost entirely, that I live in this chaotic and kinetic city.