Thursday, January 09, 2014

Closed: Escape to Skunk Mountain

Je n'ai pas souvent Blogge sur ce sujet, mais:  We have closed on our apartment up on the Hudson near the woods. You get superstitious going too public until it closes. Today was the day.

Last year, we almost bought a beast on Riverside at 107th. The banks were, well, a problem.
(Or they thought we were a problem? Either way--)

So in October of 2013 we went into contract on a sweet 1930s trapezoidal art deco romantic thing up near Fort Tryon Park in Hudson Heights, which is really just Washington Heights above the bridge but the realtors got now we are living there. In two weeks we shove off.

You get into real estate transactions and you sort of want to kill or die. When we bought our house in Los Angeles in 1998, I remember sitting in our apartment in Santa Monica, as the seller taunted us with a walk-away-fuck-you-I'm-gonna-foreclose attitude, and I got like an armadillo, curling up on the couch waiting for failure to pass. But it did not. It happened. Nice surpise. Then, after all the wanting-to-kill-the-guy, it turned out so sweetly. Best thing we ever did.

This time, it sort of dragged on because we bought from an older woman, M.W., who wanted to get through the holidays without disturbance. But we were impatient. And banks are still scary. But it worked out. Frustration at times, yes. But it was worth the wait.

The apartment entrance is right on the river but high on a bluff. So you get to have a Hudson experience whenever you go in or out. Which is romantic. And makes you wish the Dutch would trade in beaver right in front of  you.

But this is the fun thing we learned at closing today. M.W. is a widow of the man who invented the magic peep hole. You see them all over the place. Why, there's even one of his magic peep holes in our apartment. He also had the patent for the lock down bar for apartment doors that used to be so prevalent in the 70's and 80's. But they illegalized them because people were burning in fires behind them, they were so good, and firemen couldn't break the doors down.

So let's hear it for the peephole.

Now, every time I go near that door, I will look at that magic peep hole and think of Mr. W., who is currently dead. We saw his urn. A plasticy/ceramic filigree thing that sat on shelves in the hallway with his name in calligraphy.

Hudson Heights is known for wildlife. There are hawks. There are skunks. There are humans. There is a flyway of birds from the edge of the river, across the top of Manhattan, to eastern trees. This is right outside our windows. But mostly: it is quiet. And right now, we need it to be quiet.

We'll be checking our magic peephole for disturbances.  Do come visit.

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