OK, we got the call. It looks like we’ll be moving to Woodside. Before I go into the particulars of the place, which I’ve written in painful (and hopefully amusing) detail below, let me say that I think we’re all in shock and a bit out of sorts. Lots of big fights over little stuff, which leads me to believe that we’re coming to grips with the fact that change is coming.
We went to see the first apartment offered us at Big Six, the Mitchell-Lama Coop on Queens Boulevard in Woodside. WOW. It was huge, and, according to big Gene, in the best building (furthest from the BLVD.). Of course that puts it closest to the L.I.E., but that’s a different story. Which is worse, air pollution or noise pollution? And if noise pollution is better, what about the fact that some days (like yesterday) it is under the flight path to LaGuardia? Every two minutes another silver bird came grinding over us. The wheels are down by the time they come over, so you know that they are pretty low.
Hurm. I loved the apartment, why am I leading off with this? I guess that there is some thinly veiled ambivalence in my initial response.
The apartment is huge. The basic dimensions are 50’ by 20’, though there are some oddities that make it actually larger. When we first moved to University Village our apartment was a 600’ two bedroom, this is very close to twice the size of the place we were all happiest together, so if size matters, we should do well here. Of course, there is more to life than square-footage (or even acreage), so the jury is out on this one. My little piece of bottom land is on the 6th floor.
It faces East North: that is the balcony faces North East, while there are two bedroom windows facing East and two (1 smaller) facing North. With the Balcony’s Eastward sweep, however, the overall feeling is East. The dining room and living room total almost 400 square feet, not including the screened in balcony. It is huge. If it were on the roof I’d open a farm. Of course the thresher will be powerful hard to get on the roof.
Each of the bedrooms is over 140 square feet (140, 142, and 159). OK, now the bedroom, the master bedroom we’re in now is barely 140 square feet, and some of it in hard to use nooks and crannies. There is a lot of jockeying for position vis-à-vis room selection, and I’ll leave the choice to the calmer and cooler heads who actually think logically and strategically. The master bedroom has two windows one small one facing north and one larger one facing East. It is large, and we’re thinking of splitting that room for two of the kids to share (there are battles over this division, but I’m not a snitch). The closets are huge, no joke. There is enough room for two Senators and an evangelical minister (who is health conscious: Falwell wouldn’t fit). I think that any of them would be large enough for Linda and I to fit all of our (hanging) clothes in together, though maybe I embellish here.
The kitchen is big, with so much cupboard space I feel like we could actually safely shop at Costco (when we lived in the village we would split bulk items like diapers and paper towels between families so that we wouldn’t overload our precarious little arcs). SO now I feel fully empowered to overshop in the American fashion. This is the New York version of getting a SUV. I’m fighting the desire to squelch my recycling impulse as I key this in.
We are so used to one person kitchens that I’m going to have to learn how to share the kitchen again (no more crabby “I’ll finish when you’re done and I’m alone in here…” statements). There is so much room in the kitchen that we’ll be able to pass each other carrying pizzas, while I foam cappuccino, as Linda practices her Kung Fu katas (her sticky hands technique is feared on both coasts of North America). Indeed, we will have room for all of the gizmos that I keep in the attic like the Cuisinart and slow cooker that I bring down for particular recipes.
And speaking of conflicts in rooms with plumbing: we will now have two bathrooms, though only 1 has a shower. No more worries about an ill-timed bowel movement when people are trying to brush teeth during the morning rush, we can have the offending element take “potty-B” and work it out as we file through and do our dental ablutions in a neat and orderly file in the master bathroom. The plumbing and construction look like that good early 60s vintage, though the water-saver showerhead is not long for my apartment. The tiles are all good, there is no decay or mold or cockamamie cosmetic paint (read camouflage), it is all so well maintained that I am ashamed of all of the messed-up places I’ve tolerated in my adult apartment-dwelling-life.
(Below and above the flags and next to the morning glory is our balcony)
Hard upon the two bathrooms is a closet that is so large that I immediately thought of putting a washer and dryer in there, though on sober reflection I think an office or computer nook might be better. Linda, however, smartly points out that we want the computer with internet access in a public space for reasons I don’t want to think about. The closet is about 4×3, which is much larger than the closet under the stairs where we had an office when I finished my dissertation.
Running around the flat on first
There is only one real drawback (besides moving during the semester) and that is storage space. We have a lot of (hard to access) storage space here in the attic, but maybe we’ll have to rent a storage space someplace for a couple of years until we get through the waiting list for a place here. There are multiple waiting-lists we’ll qualify for now: there is a whole magical world of wait-lists in the Big Six: there’s the storage room list, the parking lot list (and these are just the ones they let we new initiates know about). It will be a good use of the hundreds of dollars we’ll be saving in rent every month. I mean really, who wants to winter in the DR, or visit Javier, Julia and Lulu in Australia, or buy a minivan that we don’t fill so we can bring friends places out of the city?
There is a bike room, so I can take my bike off the street, and move the kids’ bike inside too. In fact, maybe I’ll buy them better bikes, since they don’t have to live on Skillman Ave anymore.
As I got up early this morning and worked on my lessons and grading, in our cramped cute apartment on a tree-lined block I have to say that I am sad about having to move. Yesterday one of Mason’s friends came to the door and invited him out to play soccer at the park, and he could just go. Tomorrow, around the corner and across the street there will be a farmers’ market where we’ll pay too much for fresh local produce. I love this safe, cute, quaint, human-scale neighborhood. But the size of the apartment and the savings and the security, and the professionalism, and the maintenance of the Big Six are making us an offer we cannot refuse. (I look forward to an apartment that won’t need me to manually unclog the toilet regularly-yuck!)
So though we’ve been feuding like a sack full of wet Democrats all day long, we are still a family. Chandler Mason Lennox, Linda and Stafford are all grateful for the huge new apartment we might live in. If I can find the right photo you’ll see our happy faces looking around the apartment in awe. I mean they all look big without furniture, but do they all have echoes? This change, though painful and terrifying, will be for the best, إن شاء الله.