If these walls could talk…

It was an interesting weekend of apartment hunting. It was a hot one, made worse by the high degree of humidity. Not the kind of weather that welcomes shlepping all over town, but there was a task at hand. We started Saturday morning on the Upper East Side, with a plan to make our way down to this intriguing apartment community on it’s own triangle-shaped plot of land just east of the FDR. The uptown portion of our day was a see-saw, as we basically found our dream apartment, which we kept doing to math to try and convince ourselves we could afford. What is the price of happiness, after all? Ultimately, our decision was made for us, as it was rented out from under us by a more decisive couple. I, in particular, was disappointed because having found this apartment on my own last week, I’d already started decorating it in my head, and envisioning French Toast Sunday Brunches on our balcony 25 stories over Manhattan. But alas, t’was meant to remain a dream.

The day got kind of strange after that. Using my map of the triangle island, which had no cross streets listed, I’d estimated that we’d run right into it if we walked east on 30th Street. So, we did. And quickly learned that wasn’t the way to go. Unless one wanted to end up at the morgue or a psychiatric hospital, that is. As a result of my mis-estimation, we found ourselves meandering around the Chief Medical Examiner’s building and the grounds of Bellevue Hospital for the greater part of an hour. As a result, we ever made it to the triangle apartments, and I am now fascinated with the history of Bellevue. And also, I’ve definitively decided I could never comfortably live around so much unsettled life, and death.

Which is an interesting transition into the evening. We’d saved the last apartment of the day for the night time, when we’d be over on the Upper West Side at my boyfriend’s apartment. The Super had left keys for us to see an apartment on the 11th floor, which we were told was undergoing a gut renovation. At around 9pm, with keys in hand, we headed up to 11. We tried the keys in the front door. They didn’t work. We tried the keys in the back door. No luck there either. We tried the front one more time, with the across-the-hall neighbor’s dog barking at us in a talkative manner all the while. We went back downstairs and reported our non-entry to the doorman. He found us a second set of keys, and we went back up to try again. The dog was “talking” up a storm (it really was more like a talk than a bark), and we managed to get the bottom lock to turn, but the door wouldn’t open. We tried both doors, and repeatedly, it stuck shut. The top lock, which the key fit into, turned but didn’t unlock for some reason. So back down we went, and this time the doorman invited us into the package room to see if we could see set of keys that he didn’t (he’s a pretty old guy). While in there, I saw him pull out a letter from the mail slot of our apartment of interest. Looking over his shoulder, I spied the name on the envelope, which I took mental note of. It’s always kind of good to have a sense of who lived in a place before you.

Later on that night while recalling our day to a friend, we decided just out of curiosity, to try looking up the name of that last tenant. What we found out shocked and saddened us. It turns out that a month before, she had killed herself in that apartment. We were grateful to not have gotten inside.

The rest of the night was spent doing obsessive research to find out who and what else had happened in that building. And thinking about all the apartments everywhere with their own tales to tell.


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