Part Four: The Oblivious Manhattanite Romances A Self-Imposed Exile in The Other Borough
It was 11am on a following Sunday when I was standing outside of my historic Manhattan building – which cradles the southern end of City Hall Park – waiting for my alternate Other Borough sherpa, Kitty Jihad, to pick me up in her crossover vehicle. She was running a tad late, likely because she was coming from a far away place called Shrublick.
Once the tallest building in the world, my building is a odd structure. A 29-story landmark built in 1899, at a time when building construction – like many other things – was not being policed.
In the building's two rooftop cupolas sit dual triplexes, which I had always hoped to purchase after miraculously hitting the Mega Millions jackpot. Of course I'd immediately hand them over to Julian Schnabel so that he might trick them out for me Palazzo Chupi-style.
This fantasy meshed well with the building’s story; erected by a syndicate headed by August Belmont – the financier – who in 1900 headed a group that built New York's first subway and later established the Belmont Race Track on Long Island. It seemed like the coincidence might surmount fate, but alas I never gambled and won, because you can never win enough.
After a few fun years there I decided it was time to take a different sort of gamble, and before I knew it I was off and running on a sudden lark to look at lofts in the Other Borough. That's apparently what they call apartments there.
I did have my boundaries and whatever space I saw had to fit within my groovy share- style budget. My strong aversion to young revelers prone to vomiting a combination of tasteless pizza and copious amounts of stale PBR made Willieville and its environs out of the question.
I focused on a few areas closest to the Beast River – St. Gumbo, The Other Borough Heights, or Cider Hill. It would be comforting to see the familiar skyscrapers reaching heavenly heights any time I glanced out my window. I'll always know Manhattan is close, I thought to myself, just a short walk across the Other Borough Bridge.
Besides, there's really no need to go above Canal Street, and luckily my place of employment made this possible. According to Google Maps, a ride on the A train delivered me there quite promptly, and with St. Gumbo being slightly below Canal Street it seemed to be a perfect fit.
Soon, I told various friends in the Other Borough that I was flirting with the idea and immediately each one became an ambassador for their neighborhood.
“But, in Willieville, there is the convenience of the City,” said one friend. I reminded her of my issues with PBR, and revealed my strategy. My friends immediately agreed that they could collectively 'see me' in St. Gumbo. Besides, I already knew two dearly unique and eccentric copines residing there and I'm guaranteed to run into them at the local boites.
They will regale me with tales of St. Gumbo, I imagined, while all around us the old brick walls of industry remind me of a mill town in my native Connecticut, but here in the Other Borough the gods of urbanity dropped two massive bridges above it.
It’s a trau-magical place, I thought. I had fallen in love with its oddities and two fairly large grocery stores on the same block. I became immediately enamored with the story, told to me by one of the neighborhood eccentrics, of the cat lady of St. Gumbo.
She was none other than the first supermodel; Veruschka, the fashion legend whom Vogue once billed as "one of the wonders of the world." The sex goddess – who appeared as herself in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 movie Blow Up, in what has been voted the sexiest scene in cinematic history – had at some point taken up feeding four hundred feral cats along the banks of the Beast River up until three years ago, before jetting back to Berlin. I'm told that these days, Berlin is New York's honorary sixth borough.
I was falling in love with the Other Borough, though I never thought it possible. A week before my loft hunting adventure with Kitty Jihad, I had been invited to attend a rally near the Other Borough Bridge by my much loved Sherpa F. The gathering was a protest against a new development on Clock Street – it would be a tragically unattractive structure, ruining St. Gumbo’s pristine views of both bridges.
Now I had a cause. I loved St. Gumbo and all it had to offer, and now I was on a mission to sign the dissenting petition. Soon, I thought, they will try to ruin my views too, and I knew I had to find a way to stop them.