January 16-25, 2010: I enjoyed dormitory-living when I was in college, but I've never lived in an apartment. However, I could get use to living in an apartment like the one in which Steven and Sara live in Greenwich Village. I am impressed with the convenience of location and the many services available.
When it comes to garbage disposal, I just have to walk down the hallway to the exit sign, open the door to the stairwell landing, and then dump the garbage bag into the chute provided for this chore. There is a container for recyclables nearby.
Laundry chores are conveniently dispatched with a quick trip down the elevator to the 2 large laundry rooms in the basement. I use Steven and Sara's large, mesh collapsible bag for transporting about all the dirty clothes I can handle in one trip, at least 2 washer-loads worth. I don't even need jangling change to wash or dry the clothes. All that is required is a swipe of a plastic card good for a pre-paid amount. After checking how many minutes are needed to complete the wash (usually 58 minutes), I return to their 6th floor apartment to help with the babies or other things, or even take a walk down the block to the Citarella Gourmet Market to buy groceries for dinner. After an hour, Sara or I return to the laundry room to cart the newly washed clothes to the dryers, swipe the handy card, then head back up to the apartment to return later when the clothes are dry. The laundry rooms do have a long table for folding the clothes. I take care of that chore on the final trip while the clothes are still warm from the dryer instead of lugging scrunched, wrinkled, bagged clothes onto the elevator. I am even praised on how well I layer 2 clothes-dryers worth of assorted sized clothing into the tall mesh bag by 2 other apartment dwellers. These New Yorkers are certainly friendly.
Grocery shopping is easy in New York City, even if one doesn't own a car, which Sara and Steven don't. Sara lets me know that If the purchased groceries are more than I can carry home, then the store will deliver. Likewise, we can order in a meal from the many restaurants in the area (which Steven did on the first day I arrived). They have found that Alice.com is a great boon to grocery shopping. This service has been a life-saver as they can deliver (free-delivery) paper goods (like diapers, toilet paper, towel paper, etc.), canned and packaged goods, even milk and juices - nearly everything except for meats, fresh fruits and veggies.
I am enjoying the short walks to either Citarella Gourmet Market or Food Emporium to buy our food. I think the fresh air must increase my appetite! Such wonderful produce and such good looking meats I find in these stores! On different trips, I add mangos, blueberries, bananas, grapes, strawberries, Jonagold apples, limes along with salad greens and other veggies to my grocery cart, along with ingredients for fixing fish tacos, spaghetti dinner, ham steak dinner, ham fried rice, roast chicken dinner, chicken noodle soup, pork chop dinner - and not forgetting the desserts - vanilla gelato and ingredients for making homemade oatmeal cookies and fudge brownies. On several visits I also add paper-sacked French bread and cinnamon-scented sweet rolls from the bakery section to the cart. I only buy what I can carry home, even though it's nice knowing they can deliver. I am impressed with how friendly the cashiers in these markets are to the customers.
The first Sunday morning of my visit, I am up early before the others are stirring. I shower, bundle up well in my winter clothes and head out the door, waving to the friendly man on the first floor behind the lobby desk after departing the elevator (He already knows I am the grandmother of the twins on the 6th floor.), and then stepping out the front door of what use to be the Fifth Avenue Hotel before it became an apartment building. I walk a block down 5th Avenue to Le Pain Quotidien. Steven had taken Raleigh and me to brunch at this place on our first visit to see him and Sara 2 summers ago. Googling this restaurant's name on-line, one can find the name translates to "daily bread", or pertains to the "French philosophy that embraces the sustenance of the spirit as well as the body". It is listed on-line as an organic bakery/ coffee (tea & hot chocolate) shop/patisserie/and restaurant. Sort of like Chuck's Deli and Coffee House in Manchaca, TX - without the fancy French words. It's actually one of an international chain of Belgian restaurants. I order 2 coffees and a hot chocolate (the latter for Sara), and eyeing the beautiful, buttery sweet rolls in the patisserie's glassed cabinet, I order up a few of those to add to our breakfast treats. After returning to the apartment, I find that my purchases are very much welcomed. I make oatmeal with blueberries to add some balance to the sweets. Considering that Sara is a nursing mother, the twins probably appreciate the breakfast too.
The second Sunday morning, I am out early again for a run to Citarella for some breakfast goodies (again). The sky is overcast, but it feels good to be outside. Walking up 9th Street on my return to the apartment, a light drizzle starts to fall. I notice the townhouse apartment on the opposite side of the street where Steven has told me the actress Uma Thurman lives. He and Sara have both seen her in the neighborhood. One day when Sara, obviously pregnant, was walking down the sidewalk, she saw Uma walking her way. Before passing, the actress noticed Sara's sizable tummy and gave her a big thumbs-up. Friendly! Now this morning, as I am nearing the side door entrance to the apartment building, I look up and catch the eye of an approaching man who I'm quite certain is the actor F. Murray Abraham. You may know him for his Oscar-winning performance as Salieri in Milos Forman's acclaimed film "Amadeus" (1984), or perhaps as the talking leaf from the Fruit of the Loom TV commercial. He speaks - and to me! "Where did the sun go?"
Oh my goodness! I quickly answer - "Yes!"
I can't believe I said that! What kind of answer is that? I must be prepared to meet anyone on the streets of New York!
Yes, this apartment living in a city like New York, and especially in Greenwich Village, isn't bad at all. I can dig it. I would probably even have some bright red geraniums in a couple pots over by the windows. I wouldn't recommend that for Steven and Sara though. I can imagine what 2 up-and-coming toddlers could do with those!