I Heart NY Part 3: Apartment Living

Home Sweet Home.

I lived in a four-room apartment in Hoboken for 14 years, then we tried house-living in Michigan, and now we're back in an apartment. I just seem to be one of those people who is an apartment-dweller at heart. When they start talking about the American dream of 'owning your own home' I cringe and think "O-ho, but no...not me!" -- and perhaps you wonder why.

See, a house has both an inside and an outside. An apartment like ours, on the other hand, has no sidewalks to shovel, no driveway to dig your car out of, no grass to mow or leaves to rake. There's no roof to fix, siding to repair, or outdoors-y stuff to patch or paint or nail up, nothing to sweep or de-ice or plow. You don't even have to go outside the building to check the mail, and if anything breaks or leaks or cracks or seeps, you can call the landlord, who also takes out the trash and cleans the hallways and the stoop and the sidewalk.

Yeah, go ahead and call me lazy. I just know my limitations.

But apartments can have other advantages, Sometimes, they're just cool. Our building dates from 1916, and it has high ceilings and enormous (1 x 2 meter) windows. Not to mention that its five rooms are just the right amount of space for us. I'll give you a little tour.

This is the view from the kitchen, which we painted a retro minty-green color.
The funny-shaped archway leads into the living room.

I love the ceramic tile in the kitchen.

The previous tenant, who had lived here for over forty years, left behind some furniture (like this kitchen table) that the landlord allowed us to keep.

The kitchen has roomy old metal cabinets.
Two big windows look out into the back yard.

I do most of my knitting here in front of the TV. Embiggen to see some of Mr. O'Kitten's black-and-white photography on the wall.

This started out as the "craft room," but I want to put comfy chairs in it and make it more of a reading room since I never really use the table in there anyway. And look--there's finally a place for the OED.

The table really just collects junk.

I sit here. A lot.
We've carpeted the study and the bedroom since these pics were taken.

Morgan's favorite room.

We have a big ol' tub. With actual claw feet.
Yes, that's the subway on the shower curtain.

Home Sweet Home.

Our Uncle Pindy, who is 87 and has lived in this area his entire life, refers to our building as Mathews Flats. (Most people around here call them 'Six-Families,' since they're three-story buildings with six apartments.)

Research revealed that our building was indeed constructed by G.X. Mathews, who built over 800 apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, according to a June 1, 1919, New York Times article. The Mathews Flats followed the principles of the 1901 Tenement House Act, which insisted that "every room must be light, airy, and sanitary." And our rooms still are--93 years later.


Mouse said...

I love NY apartments - especially the old ones. One of my favorite places we've ever lived was a 3 bedroom apartment in New Mexico.. it would STILL be the perfect space for us, even with Munchkin.

TorAa said...

I agree 100% when talking about a house or an appartment.
It has nothing to do with lazyness, but how you will spend your speartime.

Wonderful appartment.
We'll pop in one of thise days;))

Chris said...

I love my little condo and not having to do outside maintenance/shoveling.

thursday said...

I live in a 2-flat (with a basement apartment, too) - the owners live upstairs. It's ok, but I'd really like it better if we had more windows for the cats. We *do* have a lot of windows (for here), but there isn't much to look at. Our place was built in 1927, but I suspect it was built as a single-family rather than flats. We have original wood floors, and crazy closets that are seriously non-functional. It *has* been heavily remodeled, though. My last place was a 1917 craftsman bungalow which I LOVED. And here, I have to park on the street which means, yep - I have to dig my car outta the snow (the owners use the garage).

We would have really been charmed by that place you guys have. It's all about character! And light. Love light.

Puss-in-Boots said...

I love those old apartments with the large windows and high ceilings. They have so much character that newer houses and apartments will never have. Yours is fabulous and thank you for the tour.

Gattina said...

Your home looks really nice and cosy ! I would love it too ! I think it was a very good idea to give up your farm, although I still think about little Pepper ! It must have been a rough life compared to the life you have now. Not all people are made to live in the country side. I wouldn't like it. I love the combination of both. I live only a few miles away from Brussels but outside where it is green ! Interesting story about these appartment houses.

KJ said...

I like it, when can I come visit?



Severina said...

I grew up in the country and I've mowed lawns and raked leaves so I'd rather let my landlord do that for a while longer. As much as I'd like to have an old Victorian house I still enjoy old-style apartment buildings. There's one turn of the century building not far from where I'm living now that I'd really like to move into next--it has stained-glass transoms.

I looove old architecture--my apartment building was built in the 1940s so it has a massive old tub (alas no claw feet), a microscopic kitchen, hardwood floors, and really thick concrete walls so I won't have to listen to my neighbors.

I wonder if your kitchen cabinets were part of a 1940s remodel, they look almost exactly like mine! But why aren't they covered in magnets, hmmmm?

All this and Houdini too?

Anonymous said...

Peace to All,

I'm a New Yorker myself. I know what you mean. Truly, your apartment is AWESOME!!! Love the Retro.

Retro is beautiful if you feel it and are on that vibe, when you're decorating. GO WITH YOUR FLOW!!!! Absolutely Gorgeous!!!