I slayed it. It devoured me. We’re even.
I arrived in New York on the afternoon of April 30th, spat out into the subway among a throbbing vengeance of a trillion footsteps, smirking New Yorkers trampling me as I lugged 70 lbs of lingerie to the L line.
In a residential Brooklyn neighborhood, I found my spacious 2nd floor, 1 bedroom airbnb apartment and rolled in, exceedingly pleased. Airbnb photos never do a space justice, and in the case of hit or miss, this was a hit! Among three rooms, every wall, window, and door was shoot-worthy. So perfect (on the surface).
Despite the massive space, there were few surface areas to get organized, unlike my perfect room in Chicago, but I got to work hanging and folding clothes in the living room closet. I don’t remember why I didn’t hang them in the bedroom, but when you read NYC part 3, you will understand why I’m glad I didn’t.
After grocery shopping and settling in, I began to notice every word of a conversation in the hallway. To my dismay, the walls were so thin that every burp and beep from the stoner millennial milieu echoed into my space from the stairwell. The stench of cigarettes and weed filled my first 2 rooms, which had the smoke detectors covered. As the week passed, I came to recognize my building from 2 blocks away by the crowd cavorting around the stoop.
At first forlorn, I quickly came to the conclusion that I either had to accept this or be angry about it all the time. So I accepted it. Luckily, I couldn’t hear them from my bedroom, although the busy family above me prevented me from sleeping well. Welcome to New York!
At some points, there were so many people on the stoop, spilling onto the sidewalk and blocking the front door, that I literally had to squeeze past them. Most were courteous and one guy even held the door open for me once. The girls were less impressed and several times I had to climb over their lazy bodies and urban picnics all sprawling up the stairwell, while I carried armfuls of laundry bags or groceries over their menial menaces. On the first day, one of them cattily remarked, “If she doesn’t like it… she should have read the reviews!” But, there was only one (the last time I’ll ever make the mistake of renting a place with only one review). My neighbor mentioned the many travelers (though never from LA) who had stayed here before… where were all the other reviews? It suddenly occurred to me that the host must have deleted and re-listed the place. It was a big red-flag, but the listing had mentioned the potential for noise. I let it go and it gradually grew normal, even endearing.
Stay tuned for NYC Part 2 on: the sensuality and intimacy of my art and craft with strangers, how I learned to rock a 2:30am wakeup for a 7 hour shoot day while not wavering once, being naked at dawn on the Manhattan Bridge, and suffering from with slow-growing headaches that threatened to break my brain.